Don Lemon: Trump Rallying His Base on Immigrant Caravan Using His Bully Pulpit, And It's Working


CNN's Don Lemon takes aim at what he says is President Donald Trump's false claims about the migrant caravan traveling to the US-Mexico border.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: The president is -- he attended a campaign rally tonight in Texas for Senator Ted Cruz, his old nemesis who is now his BFF.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know we had our little difficulties and then it ended, and I'll tell you what. Nobody has helped me more with your tax cuts, with your regulations, with all of the things that we're doing including military and our vets, than Senator Ted Cruz. Nobody.


[22:05:01] LEMON: So it's pretty obvious. You don't need me to tell this but I will. The president is firing up his base with the issue that helped propel him into the White House in 2016, which is slamming undocumented immigrants crossing the southern border with Mexico.

Specifically going after this caravan of migrants from Central America, who are currently in southern Mexico. More than 1,000 miles, more than 1,000 miles from the U.S. They are marching northward.

Many are expected to seek asylum from the violence plaguing their native countries, but Trump's having none of it. He's seizing on unsubstantiated, right-wing media reports that the caravans been infiltrated by criminals and unknown Middle Easterners, a claim he made again tonight without offering a shred of evidence.


TRUMP: As the caravan -- and, look, that is an assault on our country. That's an assault. And in that caravan, you have some very bad people. You have some very bad people. And we can't let that happen to our country.


LEMON: So, I said it when this all started, and I've been saying it, and I'll say it again. It's a message that is tailor-made for his base. Time for maximum impact and amplified by Fox News. Fox Business host Lou Dobbs, he's calling the migrant care vein a full-blown national security crisis. And on Fox & Friends this morning, the show the president regularly watches, one host saying this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've got the president of Guatemala saying to a local newspaper down there just last week, they caught over 100 ISIS fighters in Guatemala, trying to--


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could we use this caravan?


LEMON: But luckily, not everyone at Fox News is having it. Anchor Shep Smith getting back to the facts.


SHEPARD SMITH, FOX NEWS HOST: President Trump is calling the caravan a national emergency, and he's claiming criminals and unknown Middle Easterners are mixed in with the crowd. An important note. Fox News knows of no evidence to suggest the president is accurate on that matter, and the president has offered no evidence to support what he has said.


LEMON: The White House Press Secretary, Sarah Sanders, you know her. She was asked by reporters if the president has credible evidence that there are Middle Easterners in the caravan. You know what that means when they say Middle Easterners, they're trying to make people believe, my gosh, terrorists, they're coming into the country, ISIS. That's just happening.

But here's her reply. Quote, "Absolutely we have." We're still waiting to hear what that evidence is, though. Might be waiting for quite a while. And while President Trump claims that Middle Easterners are part of the caravan, racing the specter of terrorism without offering even a shred of truth, he continues coddling the Saudi government after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

It appears that Khashoggi's life is not as important to him as an arms deal with the Saudis. Here's what the president said just today.


TRUMP: I don't want to lose all of that investment that's being made in our country. I don't want to lose a million jobs. I don't want to lose $110 billion in terms of investment. But it's really $450 billion if you include other than military. So that's very important.


LEMON: OK. Over a million jobs. Take note of that number. Then $450 billion. So, watch those numbers. OK. First, one million jobs. It wasn't always so. That's according to the president himself.


TRUMP: We're talking about over 40,000 jobs in the United States. It's $110 billion. I believe it's the largest order ever made. It's 450,000 jobs.

It's 500,000 jobs, American jobs. I would prefer that we don't use as retribution canceling $110 billion worth of work, which means 600,000 jobs.

I think it's over a million jobs. That's not helpful for us to cancel an order like that.


LEMON: We're like, what was it again? Like, 40,000 jobs to over a million. Over a million jobs. That's hard to believe. And there's a reason for that.

At the time the deal was signed last year, the State Department estimated it would potentially support tens of thousands of new jobs in the U.S., potentially. By the way, to date, Saudi Arabia has only completed $14.5 billion in purchases. So, with $14.5 billion 450 billion as he said.

With two weeks to go until the midterm elections, President Trump and his aides will not be bothered by the truth.


[22:10:00] TRUMP: Remember it's going to be an election of the caravan. You know what I'm talking about. As you know, I'm willing to send the military to defend our southern border if necessary.


TRUMP: All caused because of the illegal immigration onslaught brought by the Democrats because they refuse to acknowledge or to change the laws.


LEMON: So, facts again. That's just false. Here's the truth. Democrats are onboard to make serious changes in the nation's immigration laws. But the issue has reached a stalemate in Congress. That's the truth.

And he's wrong about spending the -- sending -- excuse me -- the military to the border. The Posse Comitatus Act forbids using the military for civil law enforcement duties outside of military bases.

So the president is also up to his old tricks again, scaring his base into believing there is massive voter fraud in the country. He tweeted just this weekend, "all levels of government and law enforcement are watching carefully for voter fraud, including during early voting."

I said that loud because that's the way he did it in all caps. Again, the president is wrong. Study after study after study after study concludes that there is virtually no voter fraud in the U.S. no matter what you hear.

The Washington Post reports that in 2016 -- in the 2016 election, more than 135 million votes were cast, and there were -- guess how much documented cases of voter fraud? Four. You heard that right. Four.

President Trump claimed that millions of people voted illegally in that election, offering zero proof. Millions of people. The margin by which he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton. Three million, in fact.

Remember this, right? He dissolved the commission that he created to investigate voter fraud because there was no evidence although the president falsely blamed Democrats for failing to cooperate.

The Democrats have been counting on a wave election this fall to give them some power in Washington, but there are signs tonight of a tightening race. And pollsters and analysts say, well, a wave could still happen. It could. It is really far from certain.

The president is rallying his base. And between his bully pulpit, the aftermath of the Kavanaugh fight, it's actually working. The president has never had a hard time getting his message out.

So, the former president, Barack Obama, is trying again to get out the vote, speaking at a rally today in Las Vegas, calling out Republicans for what he says are their tactics of exploiting racial, ethnic, and religious divisions in this country.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There was all this money being pumped into campaigns by these big billionaire PACs, who are trying to say, you know what? The Democrats, they don't really think like you or look like you or believe the same things you do. And we've seen that playbook before, and so people got cynical. And Republicans in power want you to feel cynical. They want you not to vote.


LEMON: Two weeks until the midterms. Early voting has started in many states. Check it. A lot to talk about tonight with Chris Cillizza, Ana Navarro, and Bill Burton.

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