'It's racist': Gov. Steve Bullock on Trump's attacks on progressives

The governor of Montana discusses President Trump, his 2020 presidential campaign and the Democratic debates on "This Week."
8:30 | 07/21/19

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Transcript for 'It's racist': Gov. Steve Bullock on Trump's attacks on progressives
As a democratic governor in a state that trump won by 20 points, I go all across our state, look for common ground to get things done. That's how I was able to bring Democrats and Republicans together, to fight dark money and pass one of the strongest campaign finance laws in the country. I'm Steve bullock and I'm running for president. That's the pitch from Montana governor Steve bullock. Late entry into the presidential race. Didn't make the first democratic debate but will be on stage later this month. He joins us this morning from Helena, Montana. Governor bullock, thank you for joining us this morning. I want to begin by getting your response, we just heard Mercedes schlapp from the trump campaign saying that this squad of congresswomen is now defining the democratic party. Un-american and even communist. First, George, thanks for having me on. Look, I don't agree with everything that these members say, but any parent, any preacher knows that telling four duly elected congresswomen to go back home, it is racist. Those 13 seconds where trump just basically soaked in those sounds of those chants, that's going to be stain on this presidency. It's definitely wrong. But I also fear that at some point we're falling into the same traps of 2016, that we should also be talking about the fact this last week and half he tried to rip health care away. From 13 million people, he's trying to undo the affordable care act. That Devos is trying to funnel money to private schools. He's not doing anything for farmers. How do you do that? You know the president is clearly thinking he's trying to rile up his base, eke out enough votes in the electoral college even if Democrats win the popular vote. Well, I think, using race and immigration to distract and divide us, that's what this president is doing, it's a pretty cynical approach to politics. At the same time, 44% of Americans won't have 400 bucks in their pocket in case of an emergency. He wants to divide us. We're better than that as a country. And I think we have to make sure we're having conversations that seniors can better afford prescription drugs now because of the affordable care act. He's trying to turn that over, or Devos is trying to get rid of the public service payments for student loan repayments for people to go into public service. Our farmers right now, a farmer in soybean loses money for every bushel of soybeans in Iowa they plant. So he'll try to distract and he'll try to divide. We have to be focused on issues that impact people's everyday lives. Your fellow democratic governors had a meeting this week. This headline in "The New York Times". "Anxious democratic governors urge 2020 field not to veer too I think what happens often in Washington, D.C., a place is talking a substitute for talking. A plan is about a press release. As a governor, when we talk about health care, I hear about health care directly from constituents. When I take my son to the target. We're a lot closer to the ground and I do think that a lot of discussion that's happening, is a bit disconnected from people's everyday lives. We need to make sure that we're focusing on the fact that everyone has a fair shot in this economy. This political system can work. They have the belief that government can work for them. Would you raised your hand at that debate when they said that undocumented immigrants should get health care? I would not have. Decriminalize them crossing the border -- Even Obama's homeland security secretary said, you have 100,000 people coming to the border you've had multiples of that if that was the case. I certainly believe in border security, don't believe we have to build a wall. I don't believe in open borders. We do need comprehensive immigration reform. But so much of it -- we need to get rid of Donald Trump, he's not only ripping families apart he's ripping our country apart by using immigration as a tool. You're going to be on the stage at next debate with Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, both called for this medicare for all. Doing away with private health insurance. I know you criticized that idea. Here's what Bernie Sanders had to say about that this week. My Republican friends and some others seem to think that the American people hate paying taxes but they just love paying insurance premiums. Oh, my god. The insurance premium is here. What a wonderful day. Oh, wow. So when you're on the stage, how are you going to take that on? Well, I look forward to taking it on. From. From the perspective, we can get access and affordability to people and get them decent health care without disrupting 180 million people or completely getting rid of private insurance. That's another area where I think that a lot of the discussions in D.C. Are disconnected from people's lives. And so you would not do away with private health insurance, could you guarantee, though, then everyone has a chance for medicare? Look, I think a public option, being able to buy in, you know with all the money in our elections we pay more for prescription drugs than any other country in the world and we have nothing to show for it, allow the federal government to negotiate for prescription drugs. Take on out of network billing and surprise charges. When I'm talking to folks, many think that their insurance premiums are too high, or they wished these out-of-network charges didn't happen. They're not saying let's disrupt the entire system. You also say you want to take on dark money in campaigns. But your critics have pointed out that you're taking money from lobbyist in this campaign and the fossil fuel industry. Yeah, George, nobody in this race has done more to try to get rid of corrupt influence of dark money in our elections than me. That started when I was attorney general and that citizens united decision first came down. Yeah, and the dollars that I take will be disclosed. So anybody can judge. But here's an example, my brother does safety and environmental-related work for a contractor that deals th fossil fuel industry. Should I not take money from my brother? Ultimately what we should be doing is, disclosing the contributions and we have seen about a billion dollars of money spent in our elections since citizens united. Where none of us know who's making those contributions or spending. Right now, you don't meet the thresholds for that third debate in September the ABC debate, you need to get 2% in two polls, need 130,000 donors it's an uphill fight, are you going the to make it? I sure hope so. I mean, it's one of these things, you know, I been in about seven weeks and made six trips to Iowa and I think for all these debate rules that it's still going to be the early states that take a large field and make it smaller. And hearing folks on the ground and what their concerns are is also my best debate prep. I had a woman for example on Friday say, the one thing I didn't hear, and I'm missing from that debate stage was my voice, and our voice, we got to make sure that voice is heard. Governor bullock, thank you for your time this morning. Thank you, George.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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