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Trump's "Salute to America" to Include Tanks, Military Aircraft; Buttigieg Addresses Black Activists in Chicago; Dem Lawmakers Outraged After Touring Border Facilities; Hickenlooper's Staff Shake Up Amid Campaign Troubles. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired July 2, 2019 - 12:30   ET


[12:30:00] VIVIAN SALAMA, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: -- iterations to get to this point, and the one that we're going to have this Thursday, maybe not the grand scale that he wanted but at least something. And so he's going to be happy. Again, it's all about is it going to become a political event or no.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes, still no sense of how much it's actually going to cost and does the president -- is he going to have trouble drawing a crowd? Some folks, I think, in D.C. leave for the Fourth of July. They stay home and, you know, eat hot dogs. They go to see a Spider-Man movie as I'm going to do on July 4th.

What's your sense, Carl?

CARL HULSE, CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: I know a lot of people are leaving, and we'll see who turns out for this. The weather is often iffy too.

A couple of things. I was here for the -- a parade they did after the first Gulf War and they did this big flyover. And it's very impressive, but that was celebrating a military victory. I think there's probably people around the country who are looking at this and go, what's the big deal about the president speaking on the Fourth of July?

But it's not what traditionally happens here. And it seems -- obviously in Washington a lot of people are really put out by the militarization of this. This is a big unifying event usually, and it's -- you know, the president, I think, got four percent of the vote in the District of Columbia.

HENDERSON: And it showed up on those crowds on inauguration day.

HULSE: Not a huge favorite here. So people are pretty worked up about this. Even though there are people up in the rest of the country that might seem like natural.

MAEVE RESTON, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, especially I think it's not going to help in terms of having a broader crowd if there are these reports out there about, you know, tickets going out to the RNC and not necessarily to the DNC. And that's something that we're still reporting out. But, you know, when you think about also just the president giving a speech, it's so hard to imagine him not moving into a political realm --

HENDERSON: Because that's what he does.

RESTON: -- on a holiday.

HENDERSON: Right, right.

RESTON: And for many Democrats watching this around the country, you know, the image conjured up when you say tanks, it's like the parades that we see in North Korea and other strongmen states.


HULSE: Well, Kellyanne Conway said --

HENDERSON: So we'll see what happens on July 4th.


HENDERSON: We'll have to end it there.


HENDERSON: Thanks, Carl.

Next, what explains the big gap between Pete Buttigieg's fundraising support and his actual support among voters?


[12:36:41] HENDERSON: Pete Buttigieg delivered a blockbuster fundraising number $24 million, but two recent polls indicate that voters think the South Bend mayor is more summer flop than summer splash. An Iowa poll out last hour shows that Buttigieg is running fifth in the field, and a new CNN national poll shows his support has stalled out.

Today, Buttigieg is in Chicago where he spoke last hour to civil rights leaders and African-American activists. Support of black voters is something Buttigieg does not have in his response to the police shooting of a black resident has drawn intense criticism from black community leaders. Minutes ago, Buttigieg said he and the country need to do more on racial justice.


MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D-IN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Whatever we've done has not been nearly enough. As long as a traffic stop is a completely different experience for a black driver than it is for a white driver, we know we have not done nearly enough. We know that as long as police departments, and this is true of my own, do not reflect the community they serve in their makeup, we have not done enough.


HENDERSON: CNN's Phil Mattingly joins our conversation as well as Errin Haines Whack with the Associated Press. She's in Philadelphia.

Errin, I'm going to play some sound for you of Pete Buttigieg talking about black voters and how he might be able to close the gap and gain some black support.


BUTTIGIEG: I am asked how I'm going to earn the black vote in the polls 10 times more often than I am asked how my policies would actually benefit black Americans. It's as if I'm being asked more about how to win than how to deserve to win because this is deeper than politics. This is not just a political problem and it is not just a police problem, and it is not just my problem or my city's problem, and it is certainly not just a black problem. This is an American problem and it requires nationwide American solutions.


HENDERSON: So, Erinn, you've been following the folks in this campaign particularly focus on their appeals to African-American voters. Can Pete Buttigieg actually close this gap? Our polls show that he's essentially zero percent among African-American voters, a real problem for the mayor of South Bend at this point.

ERRIN HAINES WHACK, NATIONAL WRITER ON RACE AND ETHNICITY, ASSOCIATED PRESS: Right. Thanks. Nice to be with you today, Nia. It certainly seems that Mayor Pete is not conceding, despite that poll showing, is not conceding his efforts to reach out to black voters and try to get them to support him in his bid to be president.

He was just at the Rainbow Push Coalition today in Chicago, again, talking about his plans specifically for black voters. He plans to be at the Essence Festival this weekend in New Orleans. And the campaign would say that this work has already been underway for Mayor Buttigieg. He certainly -- we saw him in Harlem meeting with Reverend Sharpton, attended the National Action Network conference to talk about his plans, rolled out a Douglass plan in South Carolina ahead of Congressman Clyburn's fish fry last month -- this month in South Carolina, has met with several faith leader -- African-American faith leaders, members of the black LGBTQ community.

[12:40:11] And, you know, what his campaign would say is that, you know, there are still a lot of voters that are not paying attention just yet. We're still obviously more than a year out from November and several months away from the primary season. And so he is planning to continue to introduce himself to those black voters and says that they still need to get to know him, but he certainly has been a very high-profile candidate in this race. And so it may not be so much an issue of introduction as what their first impression is of him.

HENDERSON: Well, I think that's right. And there's some polling that shows, you know, he's got a high favorable rating, 48 percent favorable, 11 percent unfavorable, 29 percent to your point of some folks still not knowing who he is, say they never heard of Pete Buttigieg despite the money haul and despite the Time magazine cover. Also, Dem voters want to hear more about him. You look at this poll, leading Kamala Harris, 30 percent of Democratic voters want to hear more about her. But Pete Buttigieg about a quarter, 23 percent want to hear more about him.

What is next for Pete Buttigieg? He's certainly got a lot of money that he can spend and get his message out that way.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, he's got a lot of money, $24.8 million is just ridiculous, I almost observed somebody nobody knew about this, six months ago. And I think clearly he's connected with donors. And I think clearly there's room to grow when you look at that polling right there when that many people want to know more about him or that many people that don't know about him.

I think the big question now is he's kind of in the top of the second tier of the Democratic candidates, right? What does he actually do to push himself up? And you just -- you can't ignore and he's not ignoring the African-American vote. You cannot win a Democratic primary if you don't have minority vote supporters.

But I think the problem to some degree is one, those voters aren't monolithic. There aren't one or two issues you can put out and automatically check the box there. He's doing the things that his campaign thinks he needs to do. He's showing up, as Erinn was pointing out. He's been -- whether it's TV, whether it's radio, whether it's events, whether it's meeting with people, he's been doing all of that.

I think the big question you can kind of hear in that sound you played, his frustration. People just keep asking me how my poll numbers are going to go up, not whether or not my plans connect. Well, he has to make that the plans connect. It's a systematic plan that he's put out, this Douglass proposal that he's still flashing out as he goes forward, whether it's on voting rights, whether it's on access to capital, also housing, all sorts of things.

How does he connect that to the individual voters? Because the reality is, and Errin had this point, he's been talking about these things.

HENDERSON: All over the place, it hasn't worked.

MATTINGLY: And it hasn't connected yet. So what's missing and what changes?

HENDERSON: And part of his sort of argument is a generational argument, right? That he's the young one and it's time for this new generation of leaders.

RESTON: And yet, you know, what I heard particularly at the Clyburn fish fry was that this isn't the time when a lot of voters are looking for a rookie. And they still see him as a rookie. And the other problem is that the biggest controversy that has shadowed him throughout his time as mayor in South Bend have been these officer- involved shootings. And he was asked a very direct question in the debate the other night which was, you know, why is your police force still six percent black when, you know, the city's population is 26 percent black. And he got a lot of points from some people with a kind of courageous answer saying I couldn't get it done.

But then it leads you to that question of like well, why couldn't you get it done over two terms. And if we're supposed to look at your record, then what does that say about your plans? So I think that's the remaining question for a lot of black voters out there.

HENDERSON: This will be interesting to watch where he goes from here. Thanks all.

Up next, a group of lawmakers visits the border. They say they were appalled by what they saw.


[12:48:27] HENDERSON: A group of Democratic lawmakers shares outrage after touring several border facilities housing migrants in Texas. Those members of Congress describe squalid conditions in the overcrowded facility, saying it's worse than they imagined.


REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): There's abuse in these facilities. There's abuse. This is them on their best behavior.

REP. NORMA TORRES (D-CA): You would not want a law enforcement agent to treat your child the way we see those kids being treated.

REP. JUDY CHU (D-CA): What we saw was appalling and disgusting. One was a neglected issue, she couldn't get her medication. One woman said that the border patrol agent told her if she wanted to water just to drink from a toilet.

REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO (D-TX): These are the conditions, these are the conditions that have been created by the Trump administration.


HENDERSON: Border patrol officials say their facilities were never meant to house this many people, but the chief of operations says they have ample supplies and that allegations of immigrants drinking from toilets are, quote, completely untrue. All of this comes as President Trump signed a $4.6 billion funding bill intended to address the growing crisis at the border.

Carl, you saw Democrats going down there. Their outrage, emotion, and passion over what they saw, where do they go from here?

HULSE: Yes, and it is -- it's going to be a continuing issue and it's interesting. You know, the Democrats weren't happy with the bill that passed. They thought in the House that they had given too much, but there will be money coming down there now for this. I think when they come back, you're just going to see this continuing clash.

[12:50:03] And there's all sorts of things going on, on the outside. There was this Facebook group of officers with some bad post. And, you know, this idea about drinking from the toilet, they were pretty clear that Democrats coming out of here that that happened. Now the administration is denying it.

HENDERSON: This is -- I'll go to a CBP official on these allegations. Here's what he had to say.


ROBERT PEREZ, DEPUTY COMMISSIONER, U.S. CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION: If there are allegations made of misconduct, we take those incredibly seriously. We investigate those and get to the bottom of it. We've had dozens of congressional delegations and staffers come through our facilities for the last six to eight months nearly every week. And so as far as I've been made aware, this is the first time that these types of allegations have been made.


HENDERSON: So that's basically the administration sort of pushing back on these pretty terrible claims that these lawmakers have come back with about these facilities.

SALAMA: Well, and the White House specifically uses loopholes in the immigration laws to say that the Democrats actually have disabled them from basically addressing this in a rapid way because of the fact that there are loopholes that they're not willing to be more flexible with some of the immigration laws. And so this is something that while it's a terrible thing and it's on their watch, they're going to point to the Democrats and say, well, this is your fault, not ours.

HENDERSON: And made the Democrats very much want to stake some -- you know, stake some ground out here on immigration. Cory Booker, for instance, releasing his plan today, shutting down inhumane facilities, phasing out private prison facilities. They want to stake a claim in this issue as well.

RESTON: They certainly do. And it's an incredibly important one. I mean, for example, you see in California and some of the western states how these policies touch so many families and people they know and friends. And so I think that it's really important that all of the Democrats are talking about this now and actually laying out their plans, which they weren't doing for some time with the exception of Julian Castro who was the first one to get out there on this. But this is also about galvanizing Latino voters, you know, in the election and, you know, listening to these kinds of reports about the conditions there, people of every political stripe, you know, sit back and say what is going on?

HENDERSON: It is heartbreaking to hear what's going on down there.

Up next, John Hickenlooper applies his restaurant management skills to his presidential campaign. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:57:08] HENDERSON: We're going to end the show with a quick 2020 lightning round. At first, is this the beginning of the end for former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper's presidential campaign? Look at this CNN headline. "Hickenlooper shakes up campaign as he fails to gain traction." There's never a good headline.

He's letting his campaign manager, finance director, and spokeswoman leave. Hickenlooper is expected to stay in until the CNN debate at the end of this month in Detroit then reassess his campaign on MSNBC in the last hour. He had an interesting analogy for the staffing changes.


JOHN HICKENLOOPER (D-CO), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, I used to be in the restaurant business. It's a little like putting a restaurant together. Sometimes you don't quite get the right team at the right time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you let them go or did they quit?

HICKENLOOPER: Oh, a combination of the two, you know.


HENDERSON: I'll start by reading a tweet sent by a man sitting right at this table, Carl Hulse. Carl, you tweeted, "the Senate race still beckons for you", Mr. Hickenlooper.

HULSE: Yes, I think he's having a very hard time breaking through. There's a lot of Democrats that would prefer he runs for Colorado against Cory Gardner who's going to be a tough incumbent to beat. The debate last week showed that even if Democrats win the White House, they need to win the Senate.

HENDERSON: And we're going to you, Vivian. Something else, the Vogue spread of the senators who are running for president, madam president, five candidates and what it will take to shatter the most stubborn glass ceiling. We have the photo of there of them all high fiving and looking very senatorial and womanly in the pages of Vogue. There they are high fiving. What did you make of this?

SALAMA: Almost all of the female candidates there running. (INAUDIBLE) of course, Marianne Williamson was not in the picture. But ultimately, it was a girl power article. A lot of these women trying again to do something that no woman has managed to do, but also talking about their policies which is really important. And they're trying not to focus on gender but to focus on what they bring to the table.

HENDERSON: And Maeve, Beto, he is going to be out with his family. He tweeted about it today. What do you make? Will this make a difference for him? RESTON: I mean, at this point for him, it's anything, let's try anything that could work to get his numbers back up there. Clearly, with his daughter Molly being the subject of his e-mail recently. He's trying to sort of re-package his purpose for running as, you know, being out there for the next generation. And so maybe this will stick, I don't know.

HENDERSON: We'll see. And Eliana, big, big fundraising numbers for the RNC. The Trump campaign, $54 million, RNC $51 million, a $105 million total.

ELIANA JOHNSON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. Well, 2020 as opposed to 2016, the candidate will be the same but the campaign and the fundraising apparatus, you have to remember the president got campaigned against big donors and taking their money. This time around will be a lot different.

HENDERSON: Yes. A lot of money going all around too obviously Trump and a lot of these folks, so I don't think that's going to be a problem. We'll see.

Thanks for joining us on INSIDE POLITICS. Brianna Keilar starts right now.