Mehdi Hasan: Why is it, Stephen, that you think that US President Donald Trump, of all people, deserves to win the Nobel Prize for Economics?

Stephen Moore: Well, we've got a very strong economy in the United States right now. You know, it's weakened a little bit from last year when I said that, I think, on CNN that he should win the Nobel Prize for Economics. But it's, it's the strongest economy in the world today. For reviving the economy, I think Trump deserves a lot of credit and maybe a Nobel Prize.

Hasan: You say reviving the economy.

Moore: Mm-hmm.

Hasan: Let's just be clear about what Trump promised. He promised four percent, even five percent growth.

Moore: Right.

Hasan: He hasn't even managed three percent.

Moore: Mm-hmm. Yup.

Hasan: He promised to eliminate the national debt in eight years.

Moore: Right. Right.

Hasan: Instead, he's increasing it by $4 trillion.

Moore: Right.

Hasan: He said he would save coal. Coal hasn't been saved.

Moore: Right.

Hasan: He said he would restore manufacturing; it's in recession. It's just one failed economic pledge after another.

Moore: I see things real differently. I mean…

Hasan: But those are facts.

Moore: First of all …

Hasan: You can't see them differently. Those are facts.

Moore: No. Right. Look. I mean …

Hasan: It's a $4 trillion increase in the debt.

Moore: Sure. I mean, Trump makes grandiose promises, he exaggerates, and sometimes I wish he wouldn't do that. But, you know, if you compare where the economy is today versus where it was when he entered office, it's substantially stronger. If you're an American worker and you're looking for a job, this is the best labour market for workers, probably in 50 years.

Hasan: So …  and the labour market's great.

Moore: It is. Yeah.

Hasan: There have been 107… just for our audience here and audience watching at home.

Moore: Yeah.

Hasan: There have been 107 consecutive months of job growth.

Moore: Mm-hmm.

Hasan: Seventy-six under Obama.

Moore: Mm-hmm.

Hasan: Thirty-one under Trump. Shouldn't you say, thank you, Barack Obama?

Moore: Look, Obama certainly deserves some credit for getting that unemployment rate down, but it continues to slide lower than anybody thought was possible. I think that, you know, if you look at what …

Hasan: But job growth is growing slower under Trump than it did under Barack Obama.

Moore: Well, you … look. The problem here …

Hasan: You know that.

Moore: Let me say this. The problem we have in the American economy today is not a shortage of jobs. Even if we put every unemployed person into a job, we'd still have a million-and-a-half jobs left over. That's a … that's a pretty strong economy. 

Hasan: It is. And I'm saying that he inherited a pretty strong economy.

Moore: Yeah.

Hasan: You say Trump should be given …

Moore: Wait. Wait. Yeah. 

Hasan: You say Trump should be given a Nobel Prize for Economics.

Moore: Yeah.

Hasan: When Barack Obama was president, you said, Americans shouldn't re-elect incumbents who "run up the deficit by a trillion dollars".

Moore: Right. Right.

Hasan: Your words.

Moore: Right.

Hasan: This year, the Trump deficit crossed a trillion dollars.

Moore: It's going to be a trillion.

Hasan: It will cross a trillion next year as well.

Moore: Yeah.

Hasan: So, Stephen, surely for the sake of consistency, you will be urging everyone not to re-elect Donald Trump next year.

Moore: Well, no, I'm not!

Hasan: But you're a consistent guy! 

Moore: I'm not.

Hasan: You're a consistent guy! 

Moore: I've been … I've been very critical of the overspending that's going on in Washington, and I think both parties are responsible for that. The good news is, that the economy is growing faster than the debt. That's the most important thing - make sure of our ability to repay the debt …

Hasan: You say that's the most important thing …

Moore: But it is.

Hasan: But under Obama, you didn't say that was the most important thing. You said …

Moore: Well, but … because … because the …

Hasan: These are your words. You cannot run up the deficit by $1 trillion. 

Moore: But let me be …

Hasan: You said … you said, let me quote you.

Moore: Yeah.

Hasan: "I'm angry because we're borrowing $19 trillion."

Moore: Yeah. Yeah.

Hasan: Trump is now borrowing $22 trillion. Are you angry now or only angry when Obama's president?

Moore: So the … the debt, as a share of GDP (gross domestic product) in the last two years under Bush and the eight years under Obama, doubled. We borrowed more money in Bush's last two years and Obama's eight years than all … all other presidents combined.

Hasan: And the … and the debt, as a share of GDP, according to the Congressional Budget Office …

Moore: And the debt … the debt went up and up and up.

Hasan: … is going to hit World War II levels under Trump. Do you recognise this book?

Moore: Yup. I do!

Hasan: You wrote this book called, in 2009 …

Moore: Mm-hmm.

Hasan: How Barack Obama is bankrupting the US economy.

Moore: Yeah.

Hasan: Tonight, do you want to change the name, write over and put Donald Trump?

Moore: No. 

Hasan: I can give you a black Sharpie. I can get you a Sharpie!

Moore: No! No! 

Hasan: And you can put Trump!

Moore: No! Because there's a big … 

Hasan: Why? Why? $22 trillion in debt, $1 trillion deficit.

Moore: Because … because there's a big difference. There's a big difference.

Hasan: Yeah, there's a big difference! He's run up debts in a booming economy.

Moore: We got the economy … No. The economy …

Hasan: That's even worse!

Moore: No. The last year that Barack Obama was president, the economy grew by 1.5 percent. Last year, Barack … under Donald Trump, we got …

Hasan: You know very well that fiscal year 2009, as measured by economists, was George Bush's budget. You know that!

Moore: No. No, it wasn't!

Hasan: OK. People can Google the numbers.

Moore: I mean, come on, that's pretty rich!

Hasan: Let me ask you about the Chinese trade war. Donald Trump said last year that trade wars are good and easy to win.

Moore: Yup.

Hasan: He now says he didn't say it, but he did say it.

Moore: Right.

Hasan: It clearly hasn't been easy to win.

Moore: Right.

Hasan: And in terms of being good, don't these Trump tariffs on China represent the biggest tax increase on US consumers in modern times?

Moore: Look, I am a free-trade guy. And one of the things I first told Donald Trump when I met him, when he asked me to, to work for him as a senior economist, I said, you know, Donald, I'm a free-trade guy. He said, look, I believe in free trade. He just, he said, I want a level playing field. We are in an epic battle with the Chinese that's going to last decades.

Hasan: Don't the Trump tariffs on China - we can talk about decades-long battle - right now …

Moore: Mm-hmm.

Hasan: … don't they represent the biggest tax increase on US consumers in modern times?

Moore: Well, no, because …

Hasan: You say no, but those are your words.

Moore: Well, hold on. No, wait a minute!

Hasan: You said that! Trump's idea of the 35 percent tariff on imported goods would represent the biggest tax increase on US consumers in modern times.

Moore: Right.

Hasan: Suddenly you start working for Trump and that's not true anymore?

Moore: No. The average American family has seen about a $1,500 reduction in their taxes thanks to the … to the Trump tax …

Hasan: And most economists say that's wiped out by these tariff costs.

Moore: No, they haven't been.

Hasan: They have. The New York Federal Reserve says $800 per household.

Moore: It's wrong. Well, they're wrong about that. You know who's burying the cost of the China …

Hasan: Everyone's wrong. OK. OK.

Moore: Who … you know …

Hasan: The New York Federal Reserve's wrong? 

Moore: Well, wait a minute!

Hasan: The Tax Policy Center's wrong? The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget is wrong?

Moore: Do you think that the entire … Do you think the entire burden of those tariffs are borne by American consumers?

Hasan: Not the entire, but a lot of them!

Moore: If that's the case, then why would China care? The fact is, the people who are burying the cost of the tariffs are the Chinese!

Hasan: What's really weird is … what's so interesting is … I'm so enjoying this conversation because Moore, you're arguing with yourself!

Moore: No, I'm not!

Hasan: I'm not the one who said … I'm not the one who said … 

Moore: No, I'm not!

Hasan: … every quote … or tariff imposed on the US hurts residents in the United States. 

Moore: It … yeah.

Hasan: Because all restrictions hurt the United States.

Moore: Right.

Hasan: Tariffs have never worked, always end in an unhappy ending.

Moore: Right. Right.

Hasan: Those are your words!

Moore: So let me explain this.

Hasan: So, do you want to argue with yourself?

Moore: Because it's an important point. Do I think that these … these tariffs on, on China are hurting American consumers? Absolutely they are. Are they …

Hasan: So why does Donald Trump not accept that? He says the Chinese, and not any Americans, are paying the tariffs. That's a lie. You know that's a lie. You’ve spent your entire life studying this stuff.

Moore: What I'm saying is the bulk of the cost of the tariffs is being borne by the Chinese through depreciating their currency. They're providing increasing subsidies to their companies, and when they do that, the cost is borne by the Chinese, not the United States.

Hasan: OK. Well, the … the people who've done the studies on this - Stephen Redding at Princeton and the London School of Economics.

Moore: Well, I've done a study on it too and I found that …

Hasan: Well, with respect, Stephen Redding is one of the country's top experts on international trade. He's a professor of economics at Princeton.

Moore: Yeah. And he also was some …

Hasan: He’s saying, no, all of the US tariffs are being passed to importers, retailers, consumers.

Moore: That's completely false.

Hasan: So what do you think? It's a bit of both. A bit of both?

Moore: Would you have supported having free trade with Nazi Germany or, you know, or the Japanese?

Hasan: So, China is Nazi Germany?

Moore: We are in a …

Hasan: Is China Nazi Germany?

Moore: I do … I do think we are in a new Cold War with China …

Hasan: Was China Nazi Germany ...

Moore: If we do not get smart about this.

Hasan: Was China Nazi Germany in 2015 when you said, why are we picking an economic war with China?

Moore: Wait. You don't care about the human rights violations in China? 

Hasan: I care about them. I'm wondering when you cared about them …

Moore: You don’t care about them building up their military? You don't care about the …

Hasan: Because in 2015, you didn't care about them. You said, do we really want to pick and economic war with China?

Moore: Yeah.

Hasan: Were … were they not bad in 2015? They only became bad in 20- …

Moore: I don't recall saying that. I think this is the right time …

Hasan: You said it in a National Review article, China is our number one import market.

Moore: Right.

Hasan: Do we really want to pick an economic war with them?

Moore: I think we should, right now.

Hasan: So you're telling off Moore of 2015. He was wrong. He was wrong.

Moore: I think we … I think we have to. I mean, we have to, and Donald Trump will not back down.

Hasan: Moore of 2019 tells off Moore of 2015. Let's go to our panel, who are waiting patiently to come in here and join the discussion. Rick Wilson is a longtime Republican political strategist who has worked for George H W Bush, Rudy Giuliani, among others. Since 2015, he's been a leading, I think it's fair to say, conservative critic of President Trump. Author of the book, Everything Trump Touches Dies. Now there's a title! Rick, you and Stephen have moved in similar right-wing circles. You've both worked on Republican presidential campaigns.

Rick Wilson: Sure.

Hasan: Who better represents conservative economic principles right now, you or him?

Wilson: Well, look, I am not an economist by trade or training, Stephen is. But I will say this. I still believe the things that I think Stephen believed before, which is the primacy of free markets, and now we have a president who wants to tell companies what to make, where they can make it, who engages in state capitalism, sort of crony capitalist things. And I think Stephen, you know, prior-Stephen and now-Stephen, there's a big dichotomy there. And it's … I don't think it's Stephen alone, I think there are a lot of Republicans who've just made that compromise. You know … So, I'm curious. Like, how does it feel, like, to, like, flip so fast and so hard?

Hasan: Briefly, Stephen.

Moore: So, look, I, I've, I've always said, Rick …

Hasan: Briefly respond and then we'll get to …

Moore: I've always said the single most important thing to reduce the national debt and the deficit, and I think it's an important priority for the United States, is to grow the economy. To put more people to work, to make more American companies, you know, richer or more profitable. Rick, we have done that in spades. 

Hasan: Stephen, you mentioned the economy is greater than ever before. I just want to bring in Jenna Ellis Rives, who's a constitutional lawyer, member of the Trump 2020 Advisory Board, author of the book, The Legal Basis for a Moral Constitution. Jenna, Stephen says … talks about this great economy. Anyone paying attention to the news recently and looking at some of the numbers coming out, there's a fear of a recession, or at least a downturn coming, maybe even ahead of, of the next election. How does a self-inflicted recession, some might argue, given the trade war, how does that fit with the whole Make America Great Again message going into 2020? That's going to be a problem for him, is it not?

Jenna Ellis Rives: If we want to talk about the constitution here, not 100 percent of economic factors can be directly attributable to a single president. And so, if you look at the leadership style of Barack Obama and you look at the consumer confidence of the …

Hasan: That's a great point. I wish you … Republicans had made that during the Obama presidency.

Ellis Rives: No, but I think that that's … But, but we did! And I certainly have!

Hasan: I'm not sure you did. 

Ellis Rives: And so, Congress is also very much responsible. And, and both sides and both parties...

Hasan: And how worried are you about recession?

Jenna Ellis Rives: Well, but I think that your point about self-infliction is, is also very, very consistent with what we're seeing with the mainstream media, who are so antagonistic against this particular president that they are the ones that are creating a false narrative. So, I'd like to know what Stephen wants to say, and I'd like to give him an opportunity …

Hasan: OK. Is, is, is the … I will give him an opportunity …

Jenna Ellis Rives: … to actually … to actually respond to these things.

Hasan: It's okay. I'll, I'll give the opportunity to speak. It's fine. I just want to ask you a question …

Jenna Ellis Rives: … rather than trying to put his position so much into this inconsistent dichotomy.

Hasan: When you say the mainstream media's to blame for the possible … talking about a recession, do you include the White House chief of staff in that? Mick Mulvaney said there might be a short, moderate recession next year. Is he part of the mainstream media?

Ellis Rives: There, there might be. But I think that, you're trying to proof text and isolate these comments and try to spin them into your narrative, rather than looking at the entire scope of the question.

Hasan: I literally spun nothing. I just quoted the White House chief of staff. Tiffany …

Ellis Rives: No, but you're … but you're taking it out of context, and that is the problem.

Hasan: I will bring you back in a second. I'll just take the last panellist, then you come back and respond. Tiffany Cross is the co-founder and managing editor of the national news outlet, The Beat DC, a liberal commentator. You're shaking your head there. Do you want to come in and respond?

Tiffany Cross: Sure. It's really clear that the Trump campaign is in full-blown panic mode because he's fallen short on some of the promises that he made in 2016 to help perpetuate this false idea that people voted for him because of economic anxiety. And, you know, given that this administration's kind of faulty relationship with the truth, why should anybody believe what you, or any representative of this administration says, when most of your economic solutions seem more based on messaging and attacking what Jenna calls the mainstream media and calling facts truth, or, untruth.

Ellis Rives: Math doesn't lie.

Moore: So …

Cross: Yeah, but the Trump administration does, frequently.

Hasan: Stephen.

Moore: I have not … I have not reversed course on the debt and deficit. I think the debt and deficit is a, is a huge problem.

Hasan: So you … so Trump shouldn't be re-elected then?

Moore: And I think, I think that we're spending …

Hasan: So Trump shouldn't be re-elected then?

Moore: No, I'm saying …

Hasan: Well, you said in 2013, people who run up trillion-dollar deficits should not be re-elected.

Moore: But, I'm not, I'm not saying it's the only thing. I think you have to look at the whole pic … Look, I think you have to look at the whole range of issues and what Trump has done on the economy, and I think it's been spectacular. 

Hasan: Let's talk about immigration. Time's running out.

Moore: Yeah.

Hasan: People have called Trump's immigration policy dangerous, crazy, extreme, nativist. What do you say to them?

Moore: Right. I say that we have to build a wall, we have to secure our border. I'm totally in favour … and by the way, I'm the more … I may even be the most pro-immigration person in this room. I've written books and books. 

Hasan: You, you were! You were!

Moore: I've written … I've … I've written.

Hasan: Are you still?

Moore: No, I'm totally pro-immigration.

Hasan: So do you think Trump's policy is dangerous, crazy, extreme?

Moore: No, let me explain myself.

Hasan: I'm just asking a question. Do you think it's dangerous, crazy, and extreme?

Moore: No. I think …

Hasan: Those are your words! 

Moore: … the American …

Hasan: You said, I think Trump's policy is a crazy policy, with a very extreme, nativist position.

Moore: No, hold on.

Hasan: It's a very dangerous thing. You said that in 2015 before you went to work for him.

Moore: No, here's what I believe. I don't always agree with his positions on immigration, but I do believe that until we get the border secure and we get that wall built, once we do that, we can increase our legal immigration. And I am for immigrants coming into this country that want to contribute to our country.

Hasan: But he's not. He's not in favour of legal immigration.

Moore: Yes, he is! 

Hasan: This is an administration that has backed legislation to halve legal immigration … that wants to accept zero refugees next year.

Moore: How so?

Hasan: They supported the Cotton Bill in 2017.

Moore: Right.

Hasan: Wants to end the visa lottery programme, end family migration, crack down on spouses of legal immigrants.

Moore: No, no, no, that's just not true.

Hasan: What do you mean it hasn't …

Moore: Look, I helped write …

Hasan: It's just not true? What do you mean it's just not true?

Moore: Because I helped write the bill! I know more about the bill than you do! I, I helped write the bill.

Hasan: It hasn't ended family migration? Trump doesn't go on about chain migration?

Moore: The bill does not end family immigration. What that bill does, it allows …

Hasan: Wow.

Moore: … spouses and children to come into this country, it preserves the sanctity of our family system. But it says you can't …

Hasan: The president … everyone here has seen the president go off on chain migration, visa lotteries.

Moore: That's the whole point!

Hasan: Those are all legal immigration paths.

Moore: No, but hold on! Here's what we're doing. We're basically saying, yes, an immediate family member, you can bring in - a spouse or a child. We want … you know, you can bring in, but not your second cousin, not your uncle. And by the way, what you’re doing …

Hasan: How about your in-laws? 

Moore: Yeah.

Hasan: Are you allowed to bring in your in-laws?

Moore: If they're, you mean they're elderly?

Hasan: I mean, the first lady brought her… the first lady brought her parents in …

Moore: I mean, we want … yeah, we want. Hold on. Here is what we …

Hasan: under chain migration.

Moore: Just so everyone knows what the policy is. 'Cause you can decide whether you like the policy or not. We want to have more high-skilled, talented young workers come into this country who will benefit the United States. Now, some people say, oh, that's a racist policy. A racist policy? That's the policy of Germany, that's the policy of Australia, that's the policy of Canada. Why shouldn't we take in …

Hasan: I'm pretty sure the Canadians don't think you have their immigration policy. 

Moore: We have such an awesome opportunity in the United States. Let's take the immigrants who are going to make the biggest contributions!

Hasan: You said … you said, Trump and his policies on immigration …

Moore: Right.

Hasan: … can be "compassionate while preserving our sovereignty".

Moore: I think that's true.

Hasan: If you look at the camps at the border, is it compassionate to detain 90 people in a room designed for 40 people? Where women say they've been instructed to drink from toilets? 

Moore: I can't … I can't comment on that 'cause that ... I can't …

Hasan: Where teenage girls are visibly bleeding through their clothes because of lack of sanitary products?

Moore: I don't know what's going on in those things …

Hasan: Children are left in soiled diapers.

Moore: I was at the border and, and …

Hasan: That's what the Office of Inspector General has said.

Moore: Look, I've been in the border in Texas and I can't speak for all the camps and so on, but the ones that I've seen are humane. The people who are working at the border, they are … they are doing everything they can to help those people. And the idea that somehow our border patrol people are sinister is ridiculous.

Hasan: This is the Office of Inspector General … says 88 adult males held in a cell with a maximum capacity of 41.

Moore: Well, I don't support that.

Hasan: That's what's happening. Is that compassionate?

Moore: No. We should stop doing that.

Hasan: OK. Isn't the real reason that Donald Trump … Good! We can agree! Good to get some agreement!

Moore: But also, I mean … but also …

Hasan: Isn't the real reason …

Moore: … we have to change our asylum policy because what's going on now is …

Hasan: ... to accept zero refugees is what Stephen Miller wants. Zero.

Moore: Well, I don't agree with Stephen Miller on that.

Hasan: OK.

Moore: And by the way, that's not the Trump position.

Hasan: OK.

Moore: Anyone who has a well-founded fear of persecution should be able to come in as a refugee.

Hasan: Unless they're from Syria.

Moore: The … Look, here is the policy.

Hasan: Well, he's closed the door to Syrian refugees. Is that compassionate? 

Moore: Well, I'm not a foreign policy expert on Syria.

Hasan: OK. Well, let's talk about something … Isn't the real reason Donald Trump is fighting this war on immigration is that he's a racist? If, when the presidents tells four women of colour, members of Congress …

Moore: Right.

Hasan: … to "go back to where they came from", even though four of them, all of them are US citizens and three of them are born in the US, is that not racist?

Moore: I know Donald Trump. I've spent a lot of time with that man.

Hasan: No, that's not what I asked, Stephen.

Moore: He is not a racist!

Hasan: OK! He's not a racist! Is that comment racist?

Moore: People can interpret that as racist.

Hasan: No, I'm asking you, Stephen! We invited you to answer questions.

Moore: I don't know! I don't know! I don't know! I'm not going to answer that.

Hasan: Is it racist? Why won't you answer it?

Moore: Because I … look, let's move onto something else.

Hasan: What's the problem? You have such strong views.

Moore: I don't think Donald Trump is racist. I disagree with some of the things he says …

Hasan: I didn't ask that question. Telling people to go back to where they came from, is it racist? It's a yes or no question.

Moore: I don't know! I'm not going to … answer it. So  …

Hasan: Well, at one of the rallies this summer in North Carolina …

Moore: Right. Right.

Hasan: … when he mentioned Representative Ilhan Omar, the crowd chanted, "send her back, send her back!" Trump seemed to be ok with it.

Moore: Right. I don't like that stuff. I don't like it!

Hasan: If you were … You said you love the people at Trump rallies.

Moore: Yeah, I do.

Hasan: Would you have stood with them and chanted, send her back?

Moore: No, I wouldn't. And sometimes people get carried away.

Hasan: So, why? I'm wondering why.

Moore: 'Cause I think it's not … we …

Hasan: It's not what? That's what I'm trying to get to the bottom of. It's not what?

Moore: I think … it's not bringing us together.

Hasan: Why not? Why is it not bringing us together? 

Moore: And I think … one of the … look …

Hasan: Because it's racist.

Moore: Here's one of the things about Donald Trump that … and look, I'm a big fan of Donald Trump's …

Hasan: And you've made that clear! 

Moore: … I … and, but I will say this. That what I wish he would do, I wish he would bring us together more and be less divisive. And I've told him that. I think his performance has been spectacular with respect to getting jobs back and so on, but he's got to be the president of all of us and that's ...

Hasan: So you use the word divisive and not racist. That's your preferred word.

Moore: Pardon me?

Hasan: Divisive and not racist is your preferred word.

Moore: He … yeah, he's divis- … he has been too …

Hasan: What is your definition …

Moore: He should be the president of all the people. He's got to work on that.

Hasan: Isn't the problem, Stephen, that you're sitting here defending the president’s - what many would argue are blatantly racist - comments, when you yourself had to withdraw your nomination for a seat on the Federal Reserve earlier this year, partly because of misogynistic remarks you made, you say you made 10-20 years ago …

Moore: Come on. Really? 

Hasan: … And … but partly because of a racist comment you made that caused a lot of problems for you about the Obamas, just three years ago.

Moore: Right.

Hasan: That caused a lot of problems for you. The comments you made about the Obamas.

Moore: Right. I mean, I had six full-time investigative reporters looking into things I wrote 25 years ago.

Hasan: This was three years ago.

Moore: I'm talking about, you know, letters that I wrote 25 years ago that were …

Hasan: No, I'm not talking about those.

Moore: Yeah.

Hasan: I'm saying that was in the past. This was three years ago.

Moore: Yeah and I'm saying that what is so … I think anyone who looks at the evidence of what happened believes that I was completely unfairly treated. I mean, they unsealed my divorce.

Hasan: So you don't regret saying that the first thing Donald Trump does as president is kick a black family out of public housing.

Moore: It was a joke. It was a joke based …

Hasan: What was funny about that?

Moore: It was a cartoon that was in the, in the …

Hasan: But you found it funny?

Moore: It was basically … it was a joke. It was saying …

Hasan: So you don't … you haven't apologised or regretted it?

Moore: OK. I shouldn't have said that, but it was a joke.

Hasan: OK.

Moore: Yeah.

Hasan: Let's go to our panel. Tiffany, the US has always had problems with racism. 

Cross: Yeah.

Hasan: I don't think we can say it started with Donald Trump. How much worse, in your view, do you think it's become under Donald Trump? Or is it just a continuation? Where you do stand on the racism debate?

Cross: Yeah, it's just a continuation. I mean, people like to say that it happened under Donald Trump. I saw a resurgence of this kind of rhetoric under Barack Obama as evidence as Moore's comments. And I think, instead of spitting in my face and trying to tell me it's raining, you and you need to acknowledge that you ride with a racist president. When you talk about immigration and you talk about, you know, that his policies are not racist, I think perhaps the only immigrant that Donald Trump may like is a former model, birther, who, you know, has a fake college degree. And given that, she came in this country because she had the quote-unquote Einstein visa. I'm curious if you or Jenna can answer, what was her special talent, that she got this special treatment, that she got the Einstein visa to come into this country?

Hasan: Jenna. You're a lawyer.

Ellis Rives: Yes.

Hasan: And you talked about asylum policy, immigration policy. When you see Donald Trump's justice department go to court to prevent migrant kids in detention centres from getting soap and toothbrushes, is that something you would have defended in court on behalf of the DOJ? 

Ellis Rives: That wasn't the substance of that particular lawsuit.

Hasan: I didn't ask that question. I said, would you have done that?

Ellis Rives: The substance … Yes, no, but … see, no, you asked a different question which is trying to isolate that particular fact that's in your favour rather than looking at the …

Hasan: I can assure you, getting kids toothbrushes is not in my favour. It's basic human rights, I must say. 

Ellis Rives: That's … no. Basic human rights … basic human rights are making sure that children are not raped and are not taken across the border by human trafficking. That is what the Donald Trump administration is making sure to advance and support.

Hasan: OK. Rick … Rick's been waiting very patiently. Rick?

Wilson: This accusation of like, cherry-picking and fact selection... my grandmother had a phrase: When you have a turd in the punchbowl, you don't have punch anymore. You've got water with a turd in it. So you can't say that if something heinous is a part of the overall lawsuit, we just, we just ignore that - that's part of the … that's part of the systemic cruelty of the … of the Stephen Miller, the president/Stephen Miller immigration policy. They are designing this programme in order to cause pain and suffering to children and families at the border.

Hasan: OK. Let Jenna … let Jenna … let Jenna respond.

Ellis Rives: You have to look at the entire scope of the lawsuit and to make sure that you understand … and that particular point. Now, of course, ICE has shown …

Wilson: You know, this is … this …

Hasan: Hold on! Let her finish! Rick, Rick! Let her finish, then you come back.

Ellis Rives: … they are making sure that they are trying … they are doing everything that they can for the children at the border. But what President Trump is trying to do is to make sure that they don't incentivise those people.

Hasan: Rick, I want to ask you one quick question. Isn't a problem for you and for Never Trump Republicans like yourself, is that racism and bigotry long preceded Donald Trump, including on the right?

Wilson: Look, I wrote a lot…I wrote a lot about this in my book. And I took a hard…

Hasan: You worked for George HW … Just for the record, you worked for George HW Bush…

Wilson: Yeah.

Hasan: …who in 1988 ran a pretty racist ad about Willie Horton. It didn't start with Donald Trump.

Wilson: Actually, the Bush campaign didn't run that. 

Hasan: The allies, the allies ran the ad.

Wilson: They were…not allied with them. But, the long story short, I wrote about this in a lot of my book. And I've realised something over time. You know, not every Trump supporter is a…is a nativist racist, but all the nativist racists right now are Trump supporters. Every one of them.

Hasan: Let me. OK. Let's close this area. We're going to take a break there. It's a very lively show, as you can see! We're going to come back in part two and talk about Donald Trump the man, Donald Trump the leader. We're going to hear more from our panel and from our very patient audience here at the George Washington University in Washington, DC. Stay tuned. Join us after the break.


Hasan: Welcome back to Head to Head on Al Jazeera English here in Washington, DC, in front of an audience at the George Washington University for the first time. My guest tonight is the senior economic adviser to President Donald Trump. He's an author, he's a well-known conservative commentator, and he's an adviser to the Trump 2020 re-election campaign, Moore, thanks for being here.

Moore: Thank you so much. Great to be here.

Hasan: Stephen, a lot of people watching around the world…

Moore: Yup.

Hasan: …are fascinated by Donald Trump. Wherever you go, fascinated by this guy on a level I've never seen in any world leader in modern times.

Moore: Mm-hmm.

Hasan: You know the man personally. You've met with him, you've advised him.

Moore: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Hasan: I'm sure a lot of people in this hall and at home must be wondering, what is it like to advise someone, a world leader, who knows so little about anything?

Moore: Well, look, I mean, first of all, one of the things that really struck me about Donald Trump when I first met him four years ago is, you know, that … look, I always say, 95 percent of politicians are, you know, wonderful people in public and jerks in private. Sometimes Trump can be a jerk in public but he's … he's actually a really nice guy in private. I mean, I like Donald Trump a lot. I've come to admire him. I think people underestimate his intelligence. I bet his IQ … you know, some are going to laugh at this. I think he's probably got about a 180 IQ. The guy is amazing, his breadth of knowledge about, about, you know, the world affairs. I want a guy who says it like it is. And sometimes, does he stick his foot in his mouth? Yeah. But people kind of like his authenticity.

Hasan: Yeah. I think we can agree … I think we can agree that people definitely voted him because they didn't see him as a conventional politician.

Moore: Right.

Hasan: But when you say breadth of knowledge and high IQ, this is a man who thinks wind turbines cause cancer, thinks you can stop a hurricane with a nuclear weapon …

Moore: Yeah. Hold on.

Hasan: … thinks you need ID to buy a box of cereal, thinks England and Great Britain are the same thing. Thinks Soviet Union just rebranded as Russia. These are things he says, every day.

Moore: I don't know! I … I'm not here to defend everything Donald Trump says! You know … and by the way … 

Hasan: You just … you just told us he's got a high IQ and breadth of knowledge. I ask about it, you say I'm not here to defend him.

Moore: Because I think one of the flaws of Donald Trump is that he … he talks too much.

Hasan: He thinks raking forests will stop forest fires.

Moore: I mean, I think actually, Donald Trump would be better off to stop talking so much and let his record speak for itself.

Hasan: Why would you want him to stop talking if he's got such a high IQ and such a breadth of knowledge?

Moore: Be … because he … you know, I, I do … I do worry that … there's a little bit of Trump fatigue, that people are tired about … of him. Where he's good is when he focuses on an issue and he comes up with solutions that have worked! You know, I mean, that's …

Hasan: You talk about …

Moore: … that's why people are impressed with his performance.

Hasan: You talk about Trump fatigue.

Moore: Yeah.

Hasan: Isn't the problem that he seems kind of fatigued? People talk about his mental state, his cognitive decline. This is a president … this is a president …

Moore: Oh, I don’t see that at all. No, no, no, no, I got to tell you …

Hasan: This is a president who refers to himself as the chosen one, as a stable genius. He rants and raves on Twitter in the middle of the night. He recently retweeted a supporter who called him the King of Israel and the Second Coming of the Lord. If you were sitting on a plane, Stephen, and the last thing you heard a pilot say was, I'm the Second Coming of God, you would get off the plane, wouldn't you? That's the President of the United States saying that.

Moore: You know what? A lot of times he's saying these things to tweak people like you and get underneath your skin. But, by the way, I think it's rather rich that liberals are now saying, you know, Trump doesn't have the mental acuity to be president, and I'm listening to Joe Biden every day. I mean, come on, ladies and gentlemen, Joe Biden is unbelievably …

Hasan: No, it's … it's funny … it's funny, and I … and I agree with you, somebody should check out Joe Biden, but it's not just liberals. It's not just liberals. You keep saying liberals. Former Trump White House director of communications, Anthony Scaramucci, Republican Senator Susan Collins and Bob Corker, former Trump advisor Omarosa Newman, they've all come out and said this guy quote, is in obvious mental decline. He's unstable. Everyone knows it. The White House continues to deceive this nation, says one former aide, on how mentally declined he is. These are not liberals. These are people who worked with him. These are Republicans.

Moore: There … there are a lot of Republican Never Trumpers out there. I mean …

Hasan: They're not Never Trumpers. They worked for Donald Trump. You can't be a Never Trumper if you worked in the White House with Donald Trump.

Moore: Yeah, well, okay, well, I mean … Right. And I worked with him too and I'm here to tell you, the guy is … I've never seen, by the way, anybody in my whole life. He's a freak of nature, he works 20 hours a day. 

Hasan: I mean, we can agree he's a freak of nature.

Moore: No. He works 20 hours a day.

Hasan: When he's playing golf and watching TV?

Moore: Oh, come on. I mean, this is a guy who …

Hasan: What do you mean, come on? Is that not a fact, that he plays lots of golf.

Moore: You have a problem that he plays golf?

Hasan: I don't have a problem, but you just said he works 20 hours a day. I'm just going on what you're saying!

Moore: What … what I'm saying is this guy, around the clock, is paying attention to what's going on in the United States.

Hasan: While playing golf.

Moore: OK. So he plays some rounds of golf. 

Hasan: Lots of golf. At his own resorts.

Moore: What I'm saying is he has a work ethic like I've never seen before.

Hasan: Well, that's what people are questioning, the work ethic, given he's always playing golf or watching TV. In your book, you write that everyone around him seemed to love Donald Trump. That Trump treats his people well.

Moore: Yeah. Yeah.

Hasan: And yet, he has the highest turnover of staff of any modern president.

Moore: You know why?

Hasan: And in fact … I'll let you answer why. In fact, when they resign or when he fires them, he then attacks them.

Moore: Yeah, I don't like that. I don't like that.

Hasan: He says sloppy Steve Bannon, dumb as a rock Rex Tillerson, wacky Omarosa, he called her a dog. Highly unstable nutjob Scaramucci, ironic. Clueless bonehead Jerome Powell.

Moore: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Hasan: These are the people. These are … Trump treats his people well, you wrote. How does that work?

Moore: Yeah. Yeah. Look, I don't like that he does that, but I do like that the one thing about Donald Trump …

Hasan: But how does that fit with your description. I didn't ask your opinion. I said, how does that fit with your description that Trump treats his people well, he doesn't seem to treat his people well.

Moore: What I'm saying is that the people who are around him, love him. You know, the people …

Hasan: Until he fires them. And then …Steve Bannon loved him, then he's sloppy Steve Bannon.

Moore: Because … you know what Trump does? He's a CEO. If people aren't performing, he fires them.

Hasan: That's not how CEOs behave.

Moore: And that's what a good CEO should do, and that’s what a president should do.

Hasan: Yeah, I'm … I'm … I'm pretty sure when Tim Cook fires people, he doesn't then go on Twitter at 3am and call them a nickname or a dog.

Moore: If somebody isn't performing, he gets rid of them. I don't … look, that's a different issue. What I'm saying is …

Hasan: How is that a different issue? Why? What issue is that?

Moore: It's … I agree with you, he shouldn't call these people names. What I am saying is …

Hasan: Why does he do that? Why does he do that?

Moore: … that if they're not performing, he should get rid of them.

Hasan: But I'm asking why he does that.

Moore: I don't know. I mean … I mean …

Hasan: You keep saying, I don't know. When I say is it to do with his mental decline? No. Is it to do with racism? No. Is it to do with misog- … why does he do this?

Moore: Right.

Hasan: Why does he call a woman a dog? Why does he call his own former advisor dumb as a rock? His former secretary of state who he praised, Rex Tillerson. Why does he do that? I'm asking you 'cause you know him, we don't.

Moore: I wish he wouldn't do it. What I'm saying …

Hasan: That's not what I asked. I'm asking why does he do it?

Moore: I don't know. I don't know why he does it. And I wish he wouldn't do it and I think it gets him into trouble. I think if Donald Trump didn't do those kinds of things you're talking about, he'd not have a 40 percent approval rating, he'd have a 70 percent approval rating.

Hasan: And I'm asking why he does it and you can't tell me, even though you're telling me he's the smartest guy, high IQ …

Moore: I think it's part of his personality. I … I mean, I don't know.

Hasan: Which part of the personality? The unhinged part? The racist part? Which part of the personality?

Moore: I don't know why he does it. But what I'm saying is, what Americans care about is his performance. His results, not what he says and how he acts.

Hasan: Yeah. But … okay. And isn't it the case, Moore, that if you did … if you did have a falling out with Trump, if you did kind of turn on Trump or criticise him publicly in any strong way, he'd come after you too, wouldn't he?

Moore: He might! He might do that.

Hasan: You would be Sloppy Steve on Twitter tomorrow morning. 

Moore: Well, that's why I'm not gonna cross him! No, look, I mean, I think …

Hasan: I mean … I mean, let's … let's bring in our panellists. Rick Wilson is here. Rick Wilson, longtime Republican political strategist, worked for George HW Bush, Rudy Giuliani, Never Trumper, I think it's fair to say. Rick, a lot of people in your camp would say that people don't cross him because they're afraid of Donald Trump.

Wilson: Well, they are. There's no question about this. I've talked to members of Congress, members of the Senate who despise this man, who think he is the worst president they've ever dealt with in terms of being consistent, honest, direct, and having … having any sort of connection with ethical boundaries. These people are terrified of him. This is not how a government would normally be seen to work. But the fact is, Trump has a gigantic threat. It's that hammer of his social media that he is willing to use against his own allies, almost as much as he is against any opponent.

Moore: Rick, you know this, you're a pollster. Donald Trump's approval rating among Republicans is, what, 85 percent or 90 percent. It's Trump's party now. And you know what? If, if Republicans come out against him, they're gonna lose their primaries because he's so popular with Republican voters.

Wilson: But that, that's the … I think that's the big problem, Stephen. It is an … it is now Trump's party.

Moore: Yeah.

Wilson: There is not a party right now dedicated to limited government and, and fiscal responsibility.

Moore: It's just … it's dedicated to economic growth and job and opportunity …

Wilson: There's not a party dedicated to limited government and fiscal responsibility and the, and the old tenets of conservatism. It is now Donald Trump's party. It is a man and his mob. It is not a political party with a consistent ideological point of connection.

Hasan: OK. Let me bring in … let me bring in Jenna Ellis Rives, who's a constitutional lawyer, member of the Trump 2020 advisory board. Rick says your party is now just Trump and a mob. Do you want to respond?

Ellis Rives: Yes, of course. Because, you know, what I think … what I think Stephen is saying, as far as this president, Donald Trump, being the most conservative, we can measure him, not by our own personal opinions, but by faithful articles to accuracy, to the US constitution, and that is really the metric of any president. And if you look at, not only the economy, the low unemployment rate, but also the 150 judicial appointments, including two Supreme Court justices that are faithful originalists, this is the promise that Donald Trump has for America. And so, like him as a person or not, I'm not looking for someone that I want to go have a beer with, I am looking for a leader and someone who will stay faithfully within the margins of the US constitution. The whole idea of Make America Great Again is actually working. 

Hasan: OK. Tiffany Cross is the co-founder and managing editor of The Beat DC national news outlet and liberal commentator. Tiffany, isn't the problem for a lot of liberals and for people who don't like Donald Trump, Never Trumpers, is they … you can pile up all the examples of things he does that seem unhinged, weird, and yet, as Stephen points out, the vast majority of his supporters, millions of your fellow Americans, still love the guy.

Cross: Yeah. It … it beggars belief. I … but you see, because you're trying to have a logical conversation with the illogical. She just said that he's faithful to the constitution! Except for birthright citizenship, except for the emoluments clause. This is ridiculous!

Ellis Rives: That's actually not true. 

Cross: So why are we trying to … let me make my point. So this is … so this is …

Hasan: Let her finish. 

Cross: So this is part of the … the problem. And listen, I … look, it's really not … like, you know, trying to get applause lines. I mean, listen, my … people who look like me built this country, okay. I love this country. And it just says something to me that after all that America has done to my ancestors, I can stand here today and be a bigger patriot than you or you because this president is an existential threat to America. He has lauded praise on foreign adversaries like Vladimir Putin. He waxes poetic about love letters he writes with Kim Jong Un, and he invited the Taliban to Camp David a week before 9/11. In what world do we exist that we don't feel like we're living in a Saturday Night Live sketch 24 hours a day, that reasonable, seemingly reasonable people, become unreasonable?

Hasan: OK. Jenna, briefly.

Ellis Rives: But, you know, unfortunately, you're trying to, to say that we are not patriots simply because we disagree with you.

Wilson: No, she's not. I don't think she said that at all.

Ellis Rives: And that is absolutely not an okay statement to make. We can have logical …

Cross: I didn't say you weren't a patriot because you didn't agree with me. I’m saying because you seem not to agree with the constitution.

Ellis Rives: … we can have a logical agreement and disagree. No. No …

Cross: As a constitutional lawyer, how …

Ellis Rives: As a constitutional law attorney, it cannot … Let me respond, please. 

Hasan: OK. OK. Nobody can hear you now because you're talking over each other. You're gonna have to … OK.

Ellis Rives: … absolutely done everything within the margins of the constitution. And simply because you claim that something is not constitutional, does not mean that it is.

Hasan: And Stephen, I'm just gonna ask you this question. You're listening in to this conversation here. But at what stage do you go, this is just not normal? Saying … tweeting, a very stable genius, thanks!

Moore: Look, if, if Trump's policies were not working, then I'd be with you all. I'd say, you know, get rid of the guy! But guess what? They are working, you know.

Hasan: It's funny because you did say get rid of the guy before you went to work for the guy. Let's go to our audience here who've been waiting very patiently at the GW University here in Washington, DC. If you have a question for Moore, raise your hands. Let's start here. Gentleman in the front row, wait for a microphone to come to you. 

Audience Member 1: My question for you, Stephen is, there are fears of recession that emanate from... whether it's trade wars, whether it's the misspent deficit, which was spent on tax cuts for the wealthy rather than on spreading the wealth as needed to be done. So, how can you tout Donald Trump as a great economic president when what we have actually seen is that he's really pushed the economy into a decline?

Moore: Well, look, I mean, we did not inherit a strong economy. If  Americans had felt good about where the economy was circa 2016, Hillary Clinton would be president today. There's just no question about it.

Hasan: I mean, just to be clear, three million more people did vote for Hillary Clinton than Donald Trump.

Moore: Yeah, but look. That has nothing to do with it. Trump, the reason that Trump won those states like Michigan and Iowa and Wisconsin and Ohio and Pennsylvania and West Virginia, I went to those states. And you know what? When I'd ask people in those states, people in places like Erie, Pennsylvania, and Charleston, West Virginia, and Flint, Michigan, I'd say to them, how's that Obama recovery going for you? Under Donald Trump, since he was elected, we have created 1.4 million mining, construction, and manufacturing jobs. Those jobs were declining under Barack Obama. He's brought back middle-class jobs.

Hasan: Yeah. Gentleman there.

Moore: Hi. Yeah.

Audience Member 2: With the whole trade war going on, obviously there are a lot of objectives President Trump has in mind. If there is one particular objective that he should be striving for, if he could bring one thing home, what should it be in your opinion and why?

Moore: Yeah. You mean, with respect to China?

Audience Member 2: With respect to China, yes, sir.

Moore: Boy, that … I think the biggest problem I have with China, and I think Trump would probably agree … I mean, there's two actually. They're … that they have never opened up their markets to us the way we've opened up our markets to them. They have tariffs that are three times higher than ours are. We can't live with that. All we want is a level playing field. By the way, everything that Donald Trump is asking for from the Chinese is reasonable. There's nothing that Donald Trump is asking the Chinese to do that they shouldn't … that they shouldn't do.

Hasan: OK.

Moore: And the other one, by the way, which may be more important …

Hasan: Briefly.

Moore: … is they are stealing $300bn a year of our intellectual property. If other countries are stealing that, you're not going to have a job.

Hasan: OK. I'm going to go to the gentleman in the front and then the lady behind next.

Audience Member 4: Good evening, everyone. I'm an immigrant from El Salvador. I am also the executive director …

Moore: Where are you from?

Audience Member 4: El Salvador, an immigrant. I'm the executive director…

Moore: Are you a citizen?

Audience Member 4: Huh?

Moore: Are you a citizen?

Audience Member 4: Yes, I am a citizen.

Moore: OK. Great. Great. Fantastic.

Audience Member 4: I am the Executive Director of the Central American Resource Center here in DC.

Moore: Right.

Audience Member 4: President Trump cancelled temporary protective status …

Moore: Right.

Audience Member 4: …  programme which its, its recipients … 

Moore: You're talking about … just to be clear, you're talking about the programme that people came into the country could … or the children could remain here …

Audience Member 4: No ... No this is a programme, a humanitarian programme of protection when there is a …

Moore: Uh-huh.

Audience Member 4: … there's a crisis in the country of origin, either manmade or natural disasters.

Moore: Right. OK. Yes.

Audience Member 4: So most of the recipients from, from that are either from Central America or hyper-concentrated …

Hasan: OK. Do you have a question?

Audience Member 4: Yes, hyper-concentrated in the construction trade. They're 200,000 people who have 200,000 kids.

Moore: Right.

Audience Member 4: Is it a good policy to terminate that programme when it's gonna create a negative impact in local economies?

Moore: You know, it's a good question, sir. I'll confess to you, I don't know enough about that programme, but you make a strong case for it. And if these people in the country, who've come from Central America, if they do have a well-founded case, that's why they shouldn't go back, then absolutely, we should allow them to stay. And … as long as they don't … you know, as long as they're productive citizens of this country, yeah, I'm in favour of that.

Hasan: Why does it matter if he's a citizen or not?

Moore: I just was wondering. The reason … the reason I asked that question is I love America's immigrant heritage. It's what makes us a special place on the globe. I love it when people become naturalised citizens, want to become Americans. They just have to come into the country legally and abide by our laws.

Hasan: OK. The lady there waiting in the black top, right behind, yup.

Audience Member 5: My question is, Donald Trump has been well-documented making thousands of misleading and flat-out false statements throughout the course of his presidency. Does his aversion for truth-telling undermine his ability to lead and unite the country?

Moore: I think when Trump says things that are false, that does undermine his presidential authority and I wish he wouldn't do it. He should stop saying things that are untrue.

Hasan: But he does say things that are untrue, you know that.

Moore: True. He does.

Hasan: So, he's a liar. 

Moore: I'm never going to say that. I think Trump is an exaggerator and I think it gets him in trouble.

Hasan: Exaggerator? You call it exaggerations?

Moore: He does! He exaggerate … Like when you said, oh, he said we were gonna get five percent growth. We knew we weren't gonna get five percent growth.

Hasan: Yeah, that's … no, no, that's an exaggeration.

Moore: Yeah.

Hasan: But when he says, my dad was born in Germany, even though he's born in New York. That's not an exaggeration, is it?

Moore: I don't know about that.

Hasan: When he says Melania got to know Kim Jong Un, she's never met Kim Jong Un. That's not an exaggeration. Those aren't exaggerations, those are lies. OK, let’s go back to the audience, let's go to this lady here in the second row.

Audience Member 8: Hi. I'm a freelance reporter focused on extremism.

Moore: From what?

Hasan: She's a freelance reporter focused on extremism.

Moore: Extremism.

Audience Member 8: Yeah. My question has to do with white nationalism and the Trump administration.

Moore: Uh-huh.

Audience Member 8: Isn't it impossible to deny that the Trump administration has done more to mainstream white supremacists’ hate than any president in recent history?

Moore: No, I don't think so. I think, I think Donald Trump is, is … he is not a … he is not a white supremacist himself. And I think … and I … and I can't speak for him, but I, I think I'm speaking for him 'cause I know how I feel. I hate white supremacy. I … you know, I, I think, you know, every … Martin Luther King said it best, a man should be judged by the content of their character and not the colour of their skin.

Hasan: OK. Gentleman there in the third row. Yes. 

Audience Member 10: Hi. Thank you. I do a lot of work with Tariffs Hurt the Heartland, talking about the impact of the tariffs on US economy from farmers to services to retailers, everybody's being harmed by this. July alone, the US collected $6.8bn from US companies, not from China, but from US companies. We've seen manufacturing continue to take a hit, exports taking a hit, farmers taking a hit. At what point is enough enough? I know, we all agree China has been a bad actor, but we just don't think tariffs are the right approach to get there. I think there are other ways we can put forces on China to make changes, but the tariffs are going to really have an impact on the economy. And going into 2020, we're starting to hear more and more folks that are very concerned about where we're going with the economy.

Moore: It's a great question. And, you know, sir, I'm happy to sit down with you. You can tell … you know, if somebody in this room can tell me a better policy that will change China's behaviour than tariffs, I'm open ears. But don't say go take them to the World Trade Organization or anything like that.

Hasan: But hold on. When you … when you hear someone like Christopher Gibbs, he's an Ohio soybean farmer. He says, I was a Trump voter …

Moore: Yeah.

Hasan: … but he hasn't come through. He's lost on trade. I won't be voting for the president again. Is he a liberal?

Moore: Farmers … Look, you, you can quote some farmers, but I can tell you this.

Hasan: I literally just did.

Moore: I talk to a lot of farmers who fully support what Donald Trump is …

Hasan: But what about … what about these farmers?

Moore: And they said, look, we know we're taking a hit here.

Hasan: OK.

Moore: But we are willing to do this because we think Donald Trump is doing the right thing.

Hasan: OK. Very briefly, Rick.

Wilson: If this is a great policy that China's paying for, why are we subsidising farmers now to the tune of at least $32bn because of the damage they're taking economically?

Moore: Well, look, Rick, I'm not saying that farmers and manufacturers aren't being hurt by the tariffs, they are. But …

Rick Wilson: It doesn't seem like it's very easy to win if…

Moore: What I am saying is that this is, you know, short-term pain for a long-term gain. That China is going to start behaving themselves and they're gonna…we're gonna turn things around.

Hasan: But, but, but $30 billion…$32 billion of subsidies. Go, socialism?!

Moore: Well, wait a minute.

Hasan: Well, you're giving money to farmers.

Moore: That's the money…that's the money that we're getting from the tariffs.

Wilson: That’s the money we’re borrowing from China.

Hasan: OK. I had said this lady here and then I'll go to the gentleman who's been waiting, in the black shirt, for a while. 

Audience Member 12: A recent Time article stated that the trade war with China can now be considered unwinnable. Do you agree with this or see any positive outcomes for either side?

Moore: Who said it's unwinnable?

Audience Member 12: A recent Time article.

Moore: Time Magazine?

Audience Member 12: Yes.

Moore: Oh my God! Time Magazine says you can’t…Look, I mean, yeah, this is winnable. Trump is gonna win this trade war.

Hasan: When?

Moore: I hope before the election. But I don't know how long this is gonna take, but he…Trump is right…is fighting the right fight, the American people are behind him. China is a menace. We are in an incredibly bad situation with China. We can't live with their behaviour, and we better stop it now before, you know, rather than 10 years from now when they're bigger than they are today.

Hasan: Gentleman here.

Moore: And by the way, when that trade deal is, is signed, sealed, delivered, you think the economy is strong right now, you're gonna see the biggest boom you ever saw.

Hasan: No, I don't think it's strong right now. Gentleman, yes.

Audience Member 13: I'm the advocacy director for a youth climate organisation called Zero Hour. So, I just wanted…

Moore: Yeah. Uh-huh. Called what?

Audience Member 13: Zero Hour. There's increasing evidence of climate crisis every day, extreme hurricanes like Hurricane Dorian that just happened. If the administration continues to not only…

Moore: Wait, what did you just say? Hurricane?

Audience Member 13: Hurricane Dorian.

Moore: Yeah. It just…are you saying there's never been…are you saying there's never been hurricanes before?

Audience Member 13: Let me answer…let me ask my question. 

Moore: Are you saying there's never been…I mean, come, really? A hurricane…

Hasan: Let him ask his question. Let him ask his question.

Moore: There have been a lot of hurricanes before, come on…

Hasan: All right, Stephen. Let him ask his question.

Moore: All right.

Audience Member 13: Yet the administration continues not to only deny this urgent threat, but also roll back climate regulations such as the Water of the United States rule. From an economic perspective, how can you argue that transitioning to green energy would throw millions into poverty and destroy the economy, when in reality, there might not even be an economy to talk about in the near future if we don't act now.

Moore: OK. So, let's…we're, gonna have an election in 2020 on this. And if the Democrats want to run on getting rid of fossil fuels in America, and they want to go to Ohio and Pennsylvania and West Virginia and Texas, and energy-producing states and tell those people that they're gonna put them all out…millions of people out of jobs, so be it.

Hasan:  Do you…

Moore: By the way, we have two forms of energy that, that radically reduce greenhouse gasses. You know what those are? Nuclear power and natural gas, and the left is against both of them.

Hasan: Do you still believe that climate change is the greatest scam in the last 100 years?

Moore: I think it's totally overblown and I think that what's really …

Hasan: No. Do you still think it's the greatest scam?

Moore: No. I … think the scam is that somehow people in government are gonna change the global temperature. They can't even balance the budget. They can't … they can't solve any problem with respect to world poverty. And we expect that the United Nations … By the way, every single country … every single country that signed the Paris Climate Accord, which I bet you were in favour of, every single country is cheating on it, especially China.

Hasan: We've got time for one last one. Lady here in the second row. 

Audience Member 14: My name’s Irfana Anwer, I'm an immigration attorney and I am a citizen. Asking the question, you brought up chain immigration. President Trump has talked about the dangers of chain immigration. That is a lie. You could never sponsor your second cousin, twice removed. Family immigration is always based on immediate family. And, and that hasn't changed. And then he talks about s***hole countries. Can you just … can you be … can you speak to that? It's very clear to the American public, especially people who look like me, people of colour, that when you talk about that President Trump is for legal immigration, maybe it's legal immigration for people who are white.

Moore: So we have a … we want to put in place a merit system, a merit-based immigration system. And I guarantee you, one of the criteria of that, of merit has nothing to do with race or gender and it, it's basically based on age, skills, whether you can speak English, whether you're…you know, whether you have the kind of talents that this country needs. And that seems to make sense to me. By the way, there is chain migration. You've had many examples of somebody who comes in and they bring 25 or 30 relatives with them, as you go through the chain. Now, look…

Hasan: You mean like the Trumps and Melania's family?

Moore: Look, so … but I want to make sure everybody understands this. We are not getting rid of a family-based immigration system. You can bring your … you can bring your children, you can bring a spouse. And … but the idea that you can bring an elderly parent in? No, we, we don't want people who are 78 years old coming into this country. We want people who are young. We want …

Hasan: Unless they're the First Lady's parents, just to reiterate this.

Moore: [chuckles]

Hasan: You keep laughing, but it's pure hypocrisy and racism to say that the First Lady's white elderly parents can come in …

Moore: No. What I'm saying is we want … we want people who are gonna work and contribute, not, not people who are going to live on welfare.

Hasan: But Melania's parents are not working or contributing.

Moore: Well, I don't know about that, but …

Hasan: We're out of time. I need to ask this question. This is a crowd, lot of young people, they're students, have been asking questions.

Moore: Yup.

Hasan: You're very keen on the policies. You say President Trump's great for the economy, but obviously, the president is about more than just growth. It's important, but the president is also the leader of the …

Moore: No. That's true. I'm not saying it's only about growth. That's true.

Hasan: … leader of the nation, head of state in this country and head of government.

Moore: That's true.

Hasan: Is Donald Trump, do you think, a role model for the young people in this room? Do you think they should grow up and be like him?

Moore: I think … oh god, my god, his life has been incredible. I mean, this is a guy … this is a guy who's built incredible companies. He's become a billionaire. He's …

Hasan: No, that's … again. I'm talking about as a person. Do you think they should grow up and be like him?

Moore: I, I think he is absolutely a role model. I mean, the guy, his life story is amazing. He built great companies. The first major American businessman or woman to become President of the United States? Yeah, I think most … You know, I always tell people, there are a lot of people that keep talking about social justice and all these issues, you want to change the world. The single most important thing, for the … you … those of you who are kids. The single most important thing if you want to make the world a better place, start a business. Start a business and employ people.

Hasan: OK.

Moore: And that's what Donald Trump had done! And thank you very much. It's been a …

Hasan: And on that … And on that note, Moore, thank you so much for joining me on Head to Head.

Moore: Thank you. It's been an honour to be with you.

Hasan: Thank you to our audience at George Washington. Thank you to our panel of experts for coming along. Thank you all for watching at home. It's a new season of Head to Head. There's going to be shows next week and the week after, do tune in. Stephen, thanks so much for joining me!

Moore: OK. Pleasure.

Hasan: Thank you.

Source: Al Jazeera