Return to Transcripts main page


American Father, Son Killed in Nice; Witness Describes Nice During Attack; Are Terror attacks the New Normal; Presidential Candidates React to Nice Terror Attack as Trump Tweets VP Pick. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired July 15, 2016 - 11:30   ET


[11:30:00] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Kind of sending out a tweet about what happened. I'm sure you feel the same way. So many other people do around us.

Can you put into words, can you tell us a little bit about that little boy you know so well, Brodie Copeland?

JONATHAN PAIZ, BASEBALL COACH OF BRODIE COPELAND (voice-over): Brodie was a bright light to us and he was an amazing kid. He was a promising baseball player and the Copelands were very involved in our program as far as supporting and helping us get the word out and very tight-knit group. The program, we're all just hurting. A lot of overwhelming response and just trying to help them recover. We're going to be there for them.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Have you had a chance to either talk to the family or be in contact with anyone who has any sense of how they're doing today?

PAIZ: So we have family, or we have friends of theirs on the team I'm with now and they've been communicating with tm and they asked me to do this. That's why I'm on the air with you guys. They asked me to share their memory with the word because that's how great a people those two were, Sean and Brodie, definitely one of a kind.

BOLDUAN: Can you share a happy memory that you have of Brodie, Sean, something to share with the world?

PAIZ: The last thing we did together, we were just in Florida, playing a baseball tournament. Sean and Brodie and his wife, Kim, were there. We would just hang out at the beach. Sean was excited about going out on vacation. He was just that kind of guy. Inviting us to go. Unfortunately, we had to work. Just that kind of personality. That whole family itself was definitely -- you hate to see at happen to people like this. They were great. And now we're just going to help them pick up the pieces and be there for them.

BERMAN: Coach, you deal with kids every day and Brodie's teammates every day. Have you put any thought into how you're going to talk to them about this?

PAIZ: That's why I'm trying to get back. I want to be able to be there for these kids when they have questions. I know their family is going to definitely be there. I just want to be that other outlet if they need it and be there for whoever needs me and that's kind of what the program's about. Of those things you can't control and you hate to see it happen, especially to great people. And it's very unfortunate. I'm just trying to do anything to help the family right now. You see we have the go found me for that family. And want to make sure they're taken care of the best they can be.

BOLDUAN: We want to make sure we get the Go Fund Me information out for you. We have the page up on the TV screen right now so people can get that information.

Coach, you said you're going to help them pick up the pieces and do whatever you can and they're going to need you.

We really appreciate you coming on and, please, when you are in communication with them, please send them our love.

PAIZ: Thank you so much for having me on. Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Thank you.

BERMAN: Pictures there of Sean and Brodie, who were there along the promenade on Bastille Day, a vacation they'd been looking forward to for months together.

BOLDUAN: And now their family will come back without them.

BERMAN: Coming up, we'll speak to an American, an eyewitness who was feet away from the rampage. His eyewitness account, that's next.


[11:37:25] BOLDUAN: We continue to follow the breaking news out of France. The French prosecutor at the giving an update on all those injured and killed. Of the 84 people killed, 10 of them are children. More than 200 people were injured in the attack. 52 of them today are still in critical condition. 25 still in a coma. This all after an attack, this terrorist plowed a truck through a crowd at a Bastille Day celebration.

Eric Drattell is an American, who was on vacation in Nice with his wife at the time. He's joining us right now from Nice.

Eric, thank you so much for coming on what is an unbelievable and horrible day for you and so many.

You were having dinner at the time. You were paying your bill. Walk us through what was happening, what you were doing, what you saw before this attack took place.

ERIC DRATTELL, WITNESS: Yes, the fireworks had just ended. Everybody was having a last drink. Applauding the fireworks and the server came over and we were settling our bill and we heard some shouts, some screams, but didn't initially understand what it was because there were bands d music and whatnot o the promenade. And so didn't process that. But then we heard the pop, pop, pop, pop, pop sounds. My wife, though she's deaf, actually heard the sounds and knew immediately it was gunfire. I didn't react nearly as quickly as she did. We started to run. The restaurant we were in was on the beach which is about three to four meters below the promenade. And there was a cooking area and serving area, toilets and whatnot underneath the promenade for this restaurant, and we started to run toward that and people started diving off the promenade. It was completely surreal. Diving off, onto the beach, onto the roof of the restaurant. One person fell and -- actually fell on top of my wife, injuring her arm. She's fine now, just a nasty bruise. And we went with other people in the restaurant, people who had dived down, and we took cover in a toilet stall. About 10 people in one toilet stall we were in. We were there for some time. We kind of all then started coming out. And then maybe an hour, hour and a half in, we got word to go back in, retreat back as far as we could, never learned why.

[11:40:00] And then about two hours after we were there, we were told to evacuate. We went to hotel about 150 meters down the east to the east called the Negresco where the injured were being treated, police were questioning people. They were giving us water and blankets and whatnot. About three hours after the whole thing started, 1:30 in the morning, we were allowed to go back to our hotel, Westminster, in between -- it was right across from the restaurant we were at. We couldn't walk down the promenade so we had to go by the promenade walk 100 or so meters from the Hyatt to our hotel. You could see bodies everywhere. I thought they were covered in sheets. It turns out we learned later they were covered in tablecloths from the restaurant. And there was blood and destruction everywhere.

BERMAN: There were so many bodies that restaurants along the promenade helped out, they gave their table clothes to cover the bodies there to give them whatever dignity they could at that point.

Eric, it must have just felt like a war zone. It must have felt like you were in a war for those several hours.

DRATTELL: It did feel like it. I've never been in the military, a war zone. But I can only imagine this had to be a lot like what it was. You didn't know what was happening. Frightened, not just because people were separated from friends, family and whatnot but because we didn't know what was going to happen, because we were on the beach. We couldn't see what was happening on the promenade. We didn't know if it was one person, lots of people. We didn't know if it was a coordinated attack. All we know is we were scared.

BOLDUAN: Can you talk to us about what kind of security you had seen? A big celebration, we've been told barricades were up. But what kind of security did you see?

DRATTELL: We started our holiday two weeks ago in Paris and police, armed police everywhere you turned in Paris. We went from there to Provence, and it was a pretty substantial police presence. There wasn't much of a police presence in Nice we could see. I understand earlier in the evening there was a military parade of some sort. We did not come out for that. We came to the promenade about 7:30, 7:45, went for a walk before dinner. Our reservation was at 8:30. I don't recall seeing any police or at least any substantial police presence on the promenade where we went for our walk and then to dinner.

Earlier in the week, on Sunday night, we wanted to go to the fan seen for the Euro football finals and chose not to because there was a very large police presence there, but we chose not to because we were concerned there were two pinch points to get into the fan fest area, the fan zone. And we thought if anything was going to happen, it was going to happen there, and people could really be hurt if there were a stampede. Turns out, we prepared for the worse. Nothing happened there. But last night, we were completely unprepared. We didn't expect anything to happen. It was an incredibly festive evening.

BERMAN: It's a sign of the times, Eric. This had been in your thoughts on your vacation already and then tragedy still fell last night.

We're glad you're OK. We're so sorry you had to go through this. Our best to your wife, who is recovering as well.

Thank you, Eric.

BOLDUAN: Thank you so much.

Let's bring in right now Tom Verni, a law enforcement consultant and former NYPD detective.

Tom, you've been sitting with us here while we heard from the French prosecutor and we've heard these horrible stories o4 what people lived through and those who were lost. When you see what we now know as just the facts that there are, an 18-ton refrigerated truck plowing through a barricade, plowing through people, going four two kilometers, over a mile, before it was stopped. Could that happen here?

TOM VERNI, LAW ENFORCEMENT CONSULTANT & FORMER NYPD DETECTIVE: Very easily could happen here. Terrorism world -- excuse me, you have hard targets and soft targets. Hard target would be a building like the White House, something that's heavily guarded, nearly impossible to get into. Then you have soft targets where you have gatherings of people, movie theaters, schools. This is where terrorists now are looking more and more to commit these acts because they can just easily get into something like a truck. They don't necessarily need a bomb. Look how much damage was done just with that truck. And you can do so much damage not having necessarily any other tools and materials that a terrorist would want sump as weaponry, grenades. Just take a truck and plow through a crowd of people and there's a ton of damage. Almost as many lives here as in the last attack in France not too long ago.

BERMAN: As simplistic as it was, it was almost as deadly as the coordinated attack we saw before in Paris.

At events here in New York, whether it be the fireworks --


BOLDUAN: All the parades we've seen -- (CROSSTALK)

[11:45:11] BERMAN: It doesn't seem like they take precautions. We've seen pictures of big giant trucks with sand that block intersections to make sure vehicles can't get by. This is something I know is in some of the planning here.

VERNI: Well, yes, any parade -- New York City has parades all the time, especially during the summertime. The police can do but only so much though, really, when it comes down to it. When you talk about not only the amount of people who are participating in the parade --

BERMAN: Thousands.

VERNI: -- and then the spectators, tens of thousands. Again, you just take one wayward truck, goes down one street we're not counting on and you run over a couple hundred people. That's a really awful day. So the police try to do everything they can. To my knowledge based on the contacts I have, I don't believe there's any threats that are against New York City at this point. I know the NYPD has stepped up with extra security at critical locations, including some of the embassies, such as the French embassy. So, you know, they immediately go into a heightened state of alert. France was in a heightened state of alert.

BERMAN: State of emergency.

VERNI: A state of emergency. They were supposed to be coming off that --

BOLDUAN: Exactly.

VERNI: -- and it still happened. As much planning as you try to do to thwart these threats, there's really never enough ways. That's why it's imperative to keep their eyes and ears open and alerting authorities as soon as they can.

BERMAN: Tom Verni, thanks so much for being with us. Appreciate it.

VERNI: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Tom.

BERMAN: Next, this is the third major terror attack in France in just the past 18 months. There's been several more in between. Is this the new normal for France? What about Europe? What about the United States? Fareed Zakaria joins us to discuss, next.


BERMAN: This is the tenth actual or attack in France since the "Charlie Hebdo" massacre in January of 2015. At least 245 people killed in those attacks, including 84 in Nice.

Want to bring in Fareed Zakaria, the host of "Fareed Zakaria, GPS." Fareed, we heard from the French prime minister, Manuel Valls, who said times have changed and France is going to have to live with terrorism. France essentially he's saying is going to have to live with this. That's a hard message.

FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST, FAREED ZAKARIA, GPS: It's a hard message. There's a certain reality he's talking about in the world which is that the British, for example, in the 1980s had to live with IRA terrorism for years, decades. There is something particular about France though. I'm a huge fan of France. I love the country. I love the culture.

But it's interesting, there's a Brookings study that shows four of the five most radicalized Muslim populations in the world are in franc countries, countries are French culture. Why does it have this pool of radicalized people? France has this very aggressive form of secularism. You're not allowed to wear a veil. You're not allowed to have any show of religion or religious expression. There's something going on between that dynamic of French culture and the alienation it produces in some disaffected quarters. And, remember, as always, we're dealing with handfuls of people here. But there's something there to reflect on. I don't know it enough. But it can't be a coincidence this Brookings study shows that four of the five most- radicalized Muslim populations in the world are in French-culture countries.

[11:50:17] BOLDUAN: But what do you make of the French prime minister's words. We were struck when we reads it and heard it, when he said this is -- we know have to live with terrorism, saying this less than 24 hours after the latest attack. Yes, it has been a horrific 18 months in that country, no question. But it sounds almost defeatist when he says that.

ZAKARIA: It does. And one of the great challenges with leadership is that you want to be honest with people, and you, at the same time, want to channel and reflect their emotional mood. I think that maybe Valls in this case was too honest too quickly, because there is a reality in the terrorism in the world today that we have to be careful and aware. And I was planning a trip, and thinking about Istanbul, and you think about it in a new light because of the things happening. And I am fairly relaxed about these things, but there is a reality, but think that what you are both picking up is that 24 hours, 48 hours after this, when people are still mourning, it seems too much reality too soon.

BERMAN: And the president struggles with this, and President Obama says frequently, that ISIS cannot destroy it, and ISIS is not an existential threat to the United States. But is that a fair metric, the complete obliteration of the country we should be measuring against or whether the issue is --

BOLDUAN: Short of that --

BERMAN: How much pain they can inflict.

ZAKARIA: And what President Obama has grappled with, and he would admit not one of his strongest suits, is this idea of mirroring and reflecting the emotional angst that people have. He tends to be more analytical and clinical, and point out that, statistically, you are statistically more likely to die on an American highway than in a terrorist attack. But that is not how it feels and certainly not 24 hours after an attack.

BOLDUAN: Thank you, Fareed. So great to see you. And thank you so much.

Coming up, both of the presidential candidates have been reacting in the aftermath of the attack. And Donald Trump, moments ago, with a big announcement about his running mate. All of that coming up.


BERMAN: All right. The terror attack in France caused Donald Trump to delay and really downplay the biggest announcement of his presidential campaign. Instead of holding the big news conference he is supposed to hold right now, Trump went on Twitter right now to announce that Indiana Governor Mike Pence is going to be his running mate. You will see Trump/Pence at their first joint event tomorrow in New Jersey.

BOLDUAN: And for the first time, Donald Trump and rival, Hillary Clinton, are responding to the French attack in stark and very interesting ways, and we will discuss that in one second.

Let's bring in John King from "Inside Politics." And he is here with CNN chief political correspondent, Dana Bash.

Dana, first to the news that was coming, and it is all signs pointed to Pence, and then it was Pence. And then the announcement pushed off and finally announced that it was Pence. Talk about this roll out.

[11:55:02] DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I thought that we all lived through the most dramatic V.P. Pick in our sort of the professional lifetimes with Sarah Palin and John McCain and this is Trumping it and I'm not really even saying that with hyperbole, and maybe this is on the front end where Palin ended up being on the backend. But the past 24 to 48 hours has been really, really remarkable. I think that this is all under the umbrella that for the very first time Donald Trump is going with what his advisers are telling him that he needs to do, and not with his gut, which is something that is not a comfortable feeling for somebody like Donald Trump who has been successful not just in the professional life, but obviously, he got the nomination going with his gut.

And so just to sort of boil it all down, he has picked Mike Pence, and he tweeted that he has picked Mike Pence, and he called Mike Pence, as we reported yesterday afternoon, finally, and made the offer. But after that, there were 12 hours or so where it was still not really entirely clear that he was going to go through with it, because he said so on FOX News. And he said, well, I'm not really sure, and I don't really count on that. And meanwhile, Mike Pence had been flown in from Indiana and in his hotel room in Manhattan, and just kind of sitting there and waiting. And part of the drama that contributed to all of this, of course, were

the horrific attacks in France, which caused Donald Trump to say, I'm going to delay the announcement which is supposed to be happening this hour. It is really, really remarkable. And I'm just learning of some of the behind-the-scenes color now. We will hear more about it as we all do reporting in the next few hours.

BERMAN: That is a very, very good tease, Dana Bash.


And we know, John King, 11:00 tomorrow, in New Bedford, New Jersey, where Donald Trump has a golf course, and among other things, what is the future for Trump/Pence in the coming days?

JOHN KING, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, remember that the vice presidential picks almost always don't matter in November, but this is very important for Donald Trump at this moment heading into the convention next week, and think of the people who have criticized him and been skeptical of him and if you are and conservative for the government and the groups that are the club for growth don't r6 trust Trump. And if you are an-high abortion, he said he was pro choice, and he has changed, but he said that you can trust him, and then he said that Caitlyn Jenner, said that she could use any bathroom in Trump tower, and others don't trust him, and now, conservatives love Mike Pence, and what does this mean? It gives Trump a calmer and cooler and more unified convention, and after that? The Trump campaign says that he will pick them in the Rust Belt, and last time out Paul Ryan was very popular in the Rust Belt. The Republicans got blown out. Let's not pretend Mike Pence with solve Donald Trump's electoral map problems in November, but he makes for a smoother and calmer convention, which was a huge priority for the Trump campaign.

BOLDUAN: Let's talk about the reaction of both candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, in the aftermath of the terror attack in France. This is how they both reacted last night. Listen.


DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & CEO, TRUMP ORGANIZATION (voice-over): I would. I would. This is war. If you look at it, this is war coming from all different parts. And frankly, it is war, and we are dealing with people without uniforms.

HILLARY CLINTON, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE (voice-over): Well, I think it's clear that we are at war with the terrorist groups, and what they represent. It is a different kind of war, and we need to be smart about how we wage it and win it. So I think that we have to look at all of the possible approaches to doing just that.


BOLDUAN: Yeah. John, with a minute left, but both of them talking about war, but in very different terms, and very different and not surprisingly tone which these candidate do.

KING: It is one of the defining questions in the campaign, and people think that the country is off on the wrong track, economically. And when things like Dallas and these attacks in France happen, it reinforces the belief that what we have is not working, and we need something different, and that benefits the challenger. Hillary Clinton is saying that we need to be calm and measure these situations, and can you imagine Donald Trump in a situation room on a day like this. She wants to say he is too risky. Trump wants to say what we have is not working. We need something very different.


BERMAN: Both sides weighing in.

I apologize. Dan, we have to run.

BASH: No problem.

BERMAN: Dash Bash and John King, thank you.

We have a programming note. John King is going to be hosting a special "Inside Politics" this Sunday, live from Cleveland. What is in Cleveland? The Republic National Convention, and were all going. That is Sunday, at noon, and John and us will be there all week.

BOLDUAN: Thank you for joining us AT THIS HOUR.

BERMAN: "Legal View" with Ashleigh Banfield starts now.