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Rick Santorum: Instead Of Calling For Guns Laws Students Should Learn CPR; North Korean Leader Visits China Ahead Of Trump Summit; Teens On Gun Control And Race. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired March 28, 2018 - 07:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[07:30:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: I'm not calling for a weapons ban. I'm not calling for anything. It's up to you and your ilk to figure out the answers.

RICK SANTORUM (R), CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER U.S. SENATOR, PENNSYLVANIA: Well, if I'm buying a gun --

CUOMO: Access matters --

SANTORUM: -- I'd do what you do now.

CUOMO: -- in how we deal with the mentally ill if you're talking about mass shootings, specifically --

SANTORUM: I agree with that.

CUOMO: -- which is ignoring the larger problem of gun violence in this country. But that's fine, this matters, too. It's a discreet issue. It has to be dealt with.

On those two issues, Marco Rubio sat at that town hall. He says he disagrees with certain things about controls and background checks and how universal they should be, but those are fundamental questions. So don't put him up at the top of the leaderboard about who's trying to make the positive changes that would change this situation.

However, it would be unfair to say he is doing nothing. I agree with that. I never said he was doing nothing.

He's doing things, but to put him up at the head, that's out of convenience and that's not accurate.

SANTORUM: Well look, again, the idea that Marco Rubio or anybody is out there trying to do things to solve these in areas that they believe could be the most effective -- and if you look at it are, in fact, the most effective -- instead of focusing on --

CUOMO: How is anything other than controlling who gets weapons and how going to be the most effective? What's more effective than that --

SANTORUM: Stop -- CUOMO: -- when you're dealing with gun violence?

SANTORUM: Create an environment -- create an environment at schools where there isn't bullying. Where there is a sensitivity to people who have -- who have problems and be able to identify those problems and be able to get the proper care to people.

I mean, there are lots of things that we can be doing right now in our schools and, in fact, are being done but a lot of these organizations that --

CUOMO: But they should be done in addition to, not exclusive of.

SANTORUM: I agree that --

CUOMO: That's the whole point.

SANTORUM: I'm not suggesting that we shouldn't look at the area of access to guns, particularly when it comes to --

CUOMO: Do you believe background checks should be extended to all sales?

SANTORUM: Background checks are almost universal as it is, and the --

CUOMO: No, they're not.

SANTORUM: -- and those that are not -- but it's just -- it's an -- number one, it wouldn't have stopped any of the -- of the -- of the school violence.

CUOMO: But that's not a rationale for a good law.

SANTORUM: But it is a rationale for trying to do something that we know can be effective. And then, the reality is that we know that these weapons --

CUOMO: It can be effective. Knowing who buys weapons --

SANTORUM: -- are effective.

CUOMO: Knowing who buys weapons is fundamental to this. Gun owners --

SANTORUM: People are breaking laws, Chris. People are getting murdered. The idea --

CUOMO: Ninety-six percent of the American people say you have to have better control on who gets weapons and how.

SANTORUM: I would agree --

CUOMO: Ninety percent --

SANTORUM: I would --

CUOMO: -- of the people.

SANTORUM: I would agree Chris that there's a narrative that somehow or another you can walk into a gun store and buy a gun -- and, you know, as easy going out and buying --

CUOMO: That's a false narrative.

SANTORUM: It's a false narrative but the reality is it's not easy --

CUOMO: It's just like repealing the 2A, just like that we're going to ban weapons, just like this is --

SANTORUM: It is not --

CUOMO: -- a confiscation.

SANTORUM: But the focus --

CUOMO: That's also B.S.

SANTORUM: But the focus -- your focus is on trying to tighten up a very small quote "loophole." You've got to believe it's a loophole.

CUOMO: No, it's not my focus. I'm saying that any rational thinker who looks at the data on this issue -- and by the way, the American people should remember guys like you didn't even want the government studying this problem. Said tax dollars shouldn't go to it -- that just changed now.

We don't even look at the damn problem with our best eyes and resources. What does that tell you, Rick?

But anyway, let's put that to the side.

SANTORUM: Just because the government doesn't look at it doesn't mean there isn't a lot of research on this area. The government is looking at --

CUOMO: But why would you say the government should look at it? Well look, it smacked of such obvious political convenience.

Look, they say they're going to change it. We'll see.

Access matters. There should be a big fat debate on the floor of Congress.

Here's what we know. Here's what we think we can do. Here's what I'm for, here's what I'm against.

And these people should be weighed and measured, and people should go out and vote on these things the way, right now, only the gun advocates do.

SANTORUM: And we're getting there. And my point Chris is -- my point is --

CUOMO: But we're not getting that. We're not getting it, Rick. They won't do that.

Your leadership won't put it on the floor. They won't even have an open debate about it. Why?

SANTORUM: And my point is this is a horrific thing that's going on in this country and that what we should be focused on is trying to unite this country around solutions that we can all agree on --

CUOMO: Agreed.

SANTORUM: -- and put our shoulder forward. But that's not being discussed, Chris. We don't talk about this. The media does not focus on this.

CUOMO: It should be part of the discussion, 100 percent.

SANTORUM: But it's not been part of the -- it's -- but it's not been part and I blame myself. I mean, I said -- you know, I said that wrong comment on Sunday --

CUOMO: Yes.

SANTORUM: -- and I got everybody off on a rabbit trail. And I -- you know, I blame myself for that.

CUOMO: Some people agreed with you.

SANTORUM: But -- well --

CUOMO: You've got people putting up Nazi effigies of these kids who survived a murderous shooting. You have a line about a young women ripping up the Constitution when it was a target.

SANTORUM: Yes.

CUOMO: They're lying. They're creating boogeymen --

SANTORUM: And again, I --

CUOMO: -- and nobody's calling them out. And that's why I want to end this conversation where we started it.

What do you say to those people who are making the survivors down there into bad people and saying they should shut up and no one should listen to them because they're not going to come up with the solutions?

SANTORUM: Yes, I can -- you know, look, I, in the strongest possible terms, condemn both sides for personally demonizing people.

CUOMO: That's -- you sound like Trump after Charlottesville.

SANTORUM: They are -- no -- but no, look, you can't get up there and say that the folks -- that many on the left have not been demonizing as mindless shuls (ph) of the NRA.

CUOMO: Fine, fine.

SANTORUM: I mean, come on. It's having it on both sides.

CUOMO: Fine. No, I'll give you that.

SANTORUM: Don't do this Charlottesville stuff on me, Chris. That's just a low -- it's not Charlottesville. The reality is both are doing it and both -- and it's wrong on both.

CUOMO: No, it is Charlottesville and I'll tell you why. You're right to call out people on the left who say gun owners are inherently bad people. I'm a gun owner, OK, so I understand that.

What I'm saying is this. This is the specific instance we're dealing with -- what they're doing with these kids. That's the state of play right now. That's what needs to be called out.

[07:35:03] And don't create some false equation with this as something else because it's disingenuous to the truth of this situation.

SANTORUM: I -- there's no -- there's no false equation here, Chris.

CUOMO: Then deal with this and just say my people -- people who are on my political perspective of this. Don't demonize the kids. Do better than that.

Make arguments, have insights, don't insult these kids. They've been through enough.

SANTORUM: I couldn't agree more with that.

No look, I absolutely agree that the demonization of opponents is wrong and when we do it, it frustrates me more because --

CUOMO: They're kids.

SANTORUM: -- I actually believe we have the evidence on our side. And if we had a discussion on what the evidence is --

CUOMO: Yes.

SANTORUM: -- we'd win. And if we have a discussion on, you know, how bad you are because you don't agree with my position, I think that just diverts away from the truth.

CUOMO: Rick Santorum, you are always welcome to make your case to the American people --

SANTORUM: Thank you.

CUOMO: -- and I appreciate you doing so today.

SANTORUM: Appreciate it, Chris. Thank you.

CUOMO: Alisyn -- ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Just one more thing since I've been listening with rapt attention. You know, those red-flag laws that Sen. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio are proposing are about access to guns. They actually are --

CUOMO: For some people.

CAMEROTA: -- for some people. They are about the temporary restraining orders so that is progress --

CUOMO: Right, but the --

CAMEROTA: -- in terms of --

CUOMO: -- fundamental question --

CAMEROTA: -- people with mental issues.

CUOMO: Right. But look, people who are mentally ill are much statistically -- much more likely to be victims than perpetrators of crime --

CAMEROTA: Totally, understood.

CUOMO: -- so there is a little bit of a demonizing of them.

CAMEROTA: Of course --

CUOMO: But red-flag laws are help --

CAMEROTA: -- but you want to be able to flag somebody then they're a danger to themselves or others and that's --

CUOMO: They are helpful. We had Tim Murphy, when he was in Congress, on here talking about it all the time. We've talked about it as much or more than anybody else.

However, it is a distraction as well. How?

Well, one, they're not really talking about it. It's not an open debate. It's a behind-doors thing and that's because of a lot of political interest.

But that is something that's very specific to these school shootings. You have a much bigger mass shooting problem outside of school venues and you have a much bigger gun violence outside of that.

CAMEROTA: Fair enough.

CUOMO: And when you look at all of those concentric circles the one thing that unites them is who gets weapons and under what circumstances.

CAMEROTA: Fair enough.

CUOMO: That has to be dealt with. CAMEROTA: But it has helped in Connecticut after Newtown and those --

CUOMO: There's no question that those laws did help.

CAMEROTA: But anyway, we're going to be having a big sit-down with all sorts of teenagers about that coming up so listen -- stayed tuned for that.

Meanwhile, North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un is meeting with China's president -- or just wrapped up a meeting. What does this mean for the summit with President Trump? A former ambassador to the U.N. joins us, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:41:14] CUOMO: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made his first foreign trip since taking power. It was a historic meeting with China's president. And the question now is what does it mean for President Trump's upcoming summit with Kim Jong Un?

Joining us now is retired ambassador Thomas Pickering. He was ambassador to the United Nations and Russia.

We've been trying to get you on because I'm dying to hear what you think about all this with all your perspective in this area of what will make a difference. So just have it, Tom. What impresses you in what's happened in the last couple of weeks?

THOMAS PICKERING, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA, VICE CHAIRMAN, HILLS & COMPANY: Thanks, Chris, and very kind of you to do this.

I think that this is a very important meeting. I think it represents, in part, some of Kim Jong Un's effort perhaps to drive wedges between the U.S. and China. Something that the Trump administration, unfortunately, has played cards in favor of wedge-driving in the recent trade decisions which are very punitive for China and could be very, very serious. And we need to pay a lot of attention to that as well.

But on the nuclear side and on the meeting side, if we had an attachment to real diplomacy rather than to virtual television we should not have allowed the Chinese to find out about the president's acceptance of Kim Jong Un's invitation through an announcement by the South Koreans here in the White House.

Secondly, we should have certainly shaped things as they were going on. The Chinese are an ally here because they have common interests with us, but they don't totally overlap. And working closely with the Chinese is a way of looking down the road at the future and saying to the Chinese we are very serious about this.

CUOMO: OK.

PICKERING: We are bringing pressure. We want to do a resolution of this particular problem that leaves you free of a nuclearized peninsula. CUOMO: OK. So do you agree with the overtures though, that this

White House has made to want to meet with Kim Jong Un, and do you like the parallel strategy of cutting a pretty hardline trade deal with the most -- well, second-most important partner here for the U.S. with South Korea -- what they just announced?

Do you like those two moves?

PICKERING: Of course. I think that the president had -- would he have refused the opening for a meeting would have set himself back.

Look at the recent CNN poll. It's a really fascinating thing. North Korea beats sex in popularity here in an interesting way and something that I, as a diplomat, would never have expected to see but it is important I think in this particular thing to shape results.

And the president, on the South Korean trade deal, is moving in the right direction but he should keep his eye on China as well. After all, he was the one who said months ago we'll fix this on our own -- implying the use of military force -- if you, China, don't fix it. I think a serious mistake.

What he should have said is together, we can fix this particular problem and together, we want to take into account your concerns, but you need to take into account ours. Here's what we --

CUOMO: Right.

PICKERING: -- will do. Here's what we want you to do.

None of that's happened. Diplomacy seems to have been tossed to the winds.

CUOMO: Well look, you've got to take it where it lies in the moment. It seems like they're trying to change that. We'll see what happens.

Great to have your perspective now and as we put more pieces in this puzzle.

Let's switch to Russia. The expulsion --

PICKERING: Yes.

CUOMO: -- of all of these different Russian state actors by the Trump administration.

Do you like that response to the nerve agent attack on U.K. soil and do you think it is enough?

PICKERING: I do, but I don't think it's enough. I don't think it's going to move the Russians. I think we're in a wonderfully interesting situation here where one side or the other has to come forward by saying this is a way through the constant expulsion of diplomats as a course of action.

[07:45:06] I was a diplomat. I know how important diplomats are. But the expulsion of diplomats is not going to move this particular

process forward. What's going to move this particular process forward is the beginning of an opening and we have an objective now and it's very clear and it's a strategic objective. Stop assassinating people in our territory. Stop assassinating people around the world.

We've been accused of doing that ourselves so there is something here that we can put on the table as well and that's an important way forward. But it is not something that adds -- put it this way -- to the avoidance of potential calamity in a relationship with Russia where the present set of activities is clearly going to make things worse rather than better as we move ahead.

Russia made really bad mistakes in doing this. We need to find a way to stop that. We need to begin to use that as a way to open up a set of activities that can begin to resolve our other problems with Russia. They are --

CUOMO: Do you find --

PICKERING: -- resolvable, Chris. They're not something that's been cast in concrete as never to be resolved.

CUOMO: Understood. Things can always change.

PICKERING: Yes.

CUOMO: Are you confused at all by the president's disposition towards Vladimir Putin, and by that I mean that he's so oppositional with allies and anyone that he sees as a potential threat, but not this man? No matter what he does, even if he shows a video aiming missiles at the part of Florida where the president is often sleeping.

PICKERING: Well, I think that's right and I think that the president, in his own way for reasons we don't fully understand but may come out later in the wash so to speak as we watch this, has had this kind of clearly soft spot in his heart for President Putin.

If he had a plan and a strategy and a way of moving ahead and a way to exploit it, it would be very helpful, but it doesn't. It just seems to be there and that's really quite interesting and a question mark over that is important.

The second piece here is that the rest of the government seems to be operating on an entirely different track -- a demonization of Russia. And so, we have a bilateral split in administration -- not unusual in this administration but something that really could have very serious consequences if we're not careful in dealing with it.

And it's why I say that this is a kind of game of chicken in which there's no exit ramp. There's no way off the highway as the two cars race at each other, and that's something we need to look at -- thanks.

CUOMO: U.S. Ambassador Thomas Pickering, you know the Russia politics, you know the state of play in the world. Your perspective was fundamental to our understanding. Thank you very much. PICKERING: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: Be well -- Alisyn.

PICKERING: You, too.

CAMEROTA: OK. Up next, part two of our panel of future voters. What these teenagers tell us about the role of race in the gun debate.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:50:36] CAMEROTA: Hundreds of thousands of students took to the streets this past weekend in the "March for Our Lives" calling for solutions to gun violence.

We brought together a group of teenagers from Florida, Virginia, Arizona, and Pennsylvania to discuss gun violence but the conversation quickly veered into a heated debate on the connection of guns and race.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZYAHNA BRYANT, 17, VIRGINIA: Race affects the way that people live, they eat, where they go to school, and all of this is of -- they're factors in violence -- in inner city violence with those students who were at the march, we're talking about from Baltimore, from Chicago. Until we want to talk about the root causes, the conversation will never be complete and we won't get to the bottom of it.

JACOB SCOTT, 17, FLORIDA: Well, Chicago and Baltimore, to my recollection, have some of the strictest gun laws in the country.

CAMEROTA: But don't you think that guns come in from these surrounding -- I mean,

BRYANT: From Indiana.

CAMEROTA: -- from the surrounding --

BRYANT: Yes. They have relaxed gun laws.

SCOTT: No. They come in from -- they -- no, no.

BRYANT: That's how they're able to get the guns.

SCOTT: And now -- and now -- and the left also wants open borders and this will allow illegal guns to flood into the country.

CAMEROTA: Wait a minute. But do you think that guns coming in from Indiana, as police say they do in Illinois --

SCOTT: I don't know where they're coming from.

KIRSTEN EVANS, 16, PENNSYLVANIA: I think it's a problem that you say you don't know where they're coming from. We should know where these guns are coming from. SCOTT: Do you know exactly where they're coming from? Why don't you want to have good guys with guns to protect you from criminals that are getting their weapons illegally?

BRYANT: Who is carrying out these mass shootings?

SCOTT: OK, do you -- do --

BRYANT: Young, white men and --

SCOTT: Now, you're a racist. Why are you attacking white people?

(CROSSTALK)

SCOTT: What about Omar Mateen, though?

CAMEROTA: OK.

SCOTT: He -- it's -- race --

CAMEROTA: There are exceptions to the rule but school shooters generally are young, white men.

SCOTT: OK, and they're also pent up on meds, too.

BRYANT: We cannot solely just say that it's mental illness. We're arming hate in our country. If we had more armed guards in our school, again, it would perpetuate the school to prison pipeline. We have to be cognizant --

CAMEROTA: And how would it do that? Just help me understand the logic there.

EVANS: Because -- OK, if you're treated like a criminal you're going to act like a criminal.

BRYANT: Exactly, and this mindset -- the way that we are socialized in schools as being seen as criminals, as being black bodies, then that is going to contribute to your way of life.

TANZIL PHILIP, 16, STUDENT, MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL: I'm not white, I'm not black, but I am a person of color and I don't feel comfortable. I'm walking around and I'm looking at these cops and I'm like do they think I'm up to something because of the color of my skin? And that's how all of my friends that are black in my school feel.

And I don't receive the same airtime as some of my friends and it is because I'm not white.

SCOTT: Stop playing the race card. You're racist. You two are racists.

BRYANT: We should use white privilege as a dirty word.

SCOTT: You two are racists. BRYANT: It is what it is.

SCOTT: You're a racist.

BRYANT: White privilege comes out in structural racism.

SCOTT: You're a racist.

CAMEROTA: But why can't they -- why can't they talk about their experience?

SCOTT: Well, because --

BRYANT: Because we're not allowed to.

SCOTT: Why are you guys attacking white people so much? I don't get it.

EVANS: They're -- they are not attacking white people. They're being affected by a system that we built.

BRYANT: We're talking about our skin.

EVANS: A systemic racism that white people implemented into this country.

SCOTT: Well, anyone could be racist.

EVANS: It's proportionately affected them.

PARKER DELMOE, 17, ARIZONA: Anyone could not like them --

BRYANT: No they cannot.

DELMOE: Let me say something. When you have 20 percent of a population -- the entire United States population -- committing 50 percent of the homicides, that's not just you're the victims. That's also you're part of the issue.

When you have 20 percent of a race committing 50 percent of the violent crimes that's no longer an OK, well now I'm being affected. That's also playing into culture --

BRYANT: You just proved my point. Structural racism is this vertical violence that affects the violence that we see in urban cities, that disproportionately affects women of color, transgender people of color, and people of color in general.

DELMOE: It's not color. It's all about culture, it's not color.

BRYANT: Students of color who are already at risk and who are already more --

SCOTT: Race doesn't play a factor.

BRYANT: It does, it does. SCOTT: No way.

BRYANT: And people who are already at risk for the --

SCOTT: Stop trying to play the race card.

BRYANT: -- for the school to prison pipeline.

JULIA BISHOP, 18, STUDENT, MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL: It's not a race card. You wouldn't understand because you're Caucasian.

CAMEROTA: How do you know that race doesn't play a factor? What do you mean?

SCOTT: Because it doesn't. Aren't everyone equal? Isn't everyone equal?

BRYANT: Speaking from a black person --

CAMEROTA: But do you think -- you don't think that black kids in some of these pockets where there's a tremendous amount of violence are more at risk?

SCOTT: I think we should stop playing this racial politics and get to the issue of trying to protect children in schools and to stop gun- grabbing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, this is not only a school issue.

SCOTT: These are tactics -- no. You guys are using tactics like race and things of that sort to try to grab guns from people that rightfully can own them.

CAMEROTA: But who's saying grab guns?

PHILIP: We're not trying to get rid of guns. We just wanted -- we wanted to make it harder for someone that's going to shoot up a school to get a gun.

CAMEROTA: Has what's happened in Parkland and these recent gun shootings changed the trajectory of your futures, anybody?

[07:55:03] PHILIP: I think when the Parkland bubble popped we became more aware of everything and we realized all the corruption in our system. And if the politicians in place now aren't going to fix them it's our job to fix them.

BISHOP: Yes. It shouldn't take 17 people be killed. Every single innocent life lost should be shown on the news, should be on the front page.

And I agree with what you're saying.

And at the march, there were so many students of color that came out of the woodwork and said my brother was shot, my sister shot, my family members and friends shot, and that shouldn't just be swept under the rug. We should show that all of these innocent lives are being taken for no reason.

BRYANT: And after we show it we need to take action and have sustained dialogue. Not just give them their three minutes on stage --

BISHOP: Exactly, yes.

BRYANT: -- and rally around them, and then let them go viral and then not go back to their cities and try to help them --

BISHOP: Yes.

BRYANT: -- change things.

CAMEROTA: One word of how you're feeling now. However you're feeling now after this weekend and where we are today. Go ahead, Zyahna.

BRYANT: Energized.

PHILIP: Not safe.

EVANS: Ready.

DELMOE: Difficult.

BISHOP: Optimistic.

SCOTT: I'd say hopeful, and hopeful that, you know, the future is safer and we can deal with these people accordingly that want to terrorize us.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CAMEROTA: Obviously, these are not easy conversations. If you'd like to share your thoughts or your responses you can go to my Facebook page. We'll post the panel debate that you just watched there as well.

All right. Meanwhile, a historic meeting between North Korea and China, and President Trump's first trade deal with South Korea. What impact these have on Mr. Trump's upcoming summit with Kim Jong Un.

We discuss all of it, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kim Jong Un has made his first visit outside North Korea since assuming power.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This puts China back in the fray. It gives North Korea that support it needs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fact that they're having conversations, I don't believe is a bad thing. It's a power play by China. I think they're going to use this as leverage against the United States.

CAMEROTA: President Trump reaching an agreement with South Korea to rework a key trade deal.