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CNN NEWSROOM

Revisiting Trump's Pitch to African-American Voters; India's Tigers Jump Up a Third Since 2004. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired July 30, 2019 - 00:00   ET

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


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JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Today after another mass shooting in America, the gunmen's connection to white supremacists, details about those he killed and why this country seems unable to prevent an epidemic of gun violence.

The U.S. president ramps up his controversial attacks on high-profile leaders within the African American community.

Could this road to the White House tear open deep racial divisions across the United States?

Plus, American teenagers accused of stabbing an Italian policeman 11 times. The officer laid to rest at the very church where he was married last month.

Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world, great to have you with us. I'm John Vause and this is CNN NEWSROOM.

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VAUSE: We learn a little bit more about the victims from that mass shooting in California. Three people killed, at least 12 wounded after a gunman opened fire at the Gilroy Garlic Festival.

Among the dead, a young man in his 20s, a 13-year-old girl and Stephen Romero, who was 6. He was at the event with his mother and grandmother. His father described the moment he heard the news.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALBERT ROMERO, STEPHEN'S FATHER: They said that they shot my son and they took him from her, like, the officer.

QUESTION: And she -- so she was shot in the stomach at the time?

ROMERO: Shot in the stomach and hand.

QUESTION: What did you think when she told you this?

ROMERO: I couldn't believe what was happening, that what she was saying a was lie. Maybe I was dreaming. They told me he was in critical condition, that they were working on him.

And then five minutes later, they told me that he was dead.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Police shot and killed the attacker. They say he was 19 years old. Opening fire with an assault style weapon, also he cut through a fence to gain access to the festival. Social media posts appear to be from the shooter and they have a dark look into a possible motive. They mentioned the Garlic Festival and a white supremacist book from the 1800s.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: For more we are joined from San Diego by Kyleanne Hunter, the vice president of programs at Brady United against Gun Violence.

Why is this shooting from any other mass shootings at schools, places of worship, movie centers and restaurants?

If the U.S. Congress and the people of the United States are not willing to move forward with gun control after Sandy Hook, what's going to happen this time?

KYLEANNE HUNTER, BRADY UNITED: Unfortunately, this is something that is too common in the United States. We heard about it yesterday after Gilroy but it is something taking place in our communities every single day.

And it seems bleak and hard but I think something that is a light of encouragement is that the 2018 election, those midterm elections that we had most recently, sent a very clear message for gun violence prevention.

For the first time in a generation, we elected a Congress into the House of Representatives that is acting on it. And I think that sends a clear message that the American people aren't willing to stand by and accept this as status quo any longer and that 2020 will be another big turning point.

VAUSE: It was a significant election, especially when it came to the power of the NRA. The power they had over candidates was not there like it had been in the past. I want to listen to a FBI special agent as he outlined all the security measures which were put in place by the organizers of the festival.

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CRAIG FAIR, FBI ASSISTANT SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE: This event was completely fenced in. Police officers as well as FBI agents were on the scene when the shooting occurred. There were patrols actively moving throughout the crowd at the time of the shooting.

As a result, that subject was neutralized within a very short period of time.

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VAUSE: For the first time this festival had put in metal detectors and they were searching bags as people, entered. It seems to have to come a point when there's only so much that organizers can do. Eventually the responsibility has to go back to the people.

HUNTER: It does and individuals within the community need to take responsibility. I think there are twofold issues that you have in place here. One is that California has some of the best laws in the country.

But because of the weak laws in states like Nevada, Arizona, border states, it is too easy to get these weapons of war and bring them into places like this that --

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HUNTER: -- we are only as safe as our weakest link in the country, which is why we need federal legislation that keeps us all safe, that's number one.

Number two is, an elevation of the public discourse, weapons like the ones used in this case have no place in our society.

VAUSE: I want to listen to the police, specifically detailing how this weapon was obtained and what kind of weapon it was.

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CHIEF SCOT SMITHEE, GILROY POLICE DEPARTMENT: We found out the rifle that the suspect used was an SKS, an AK-47 type assault rifle. It was purchased legally in the state of Nevada on July the 9th of this year.

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VAUSE: Response time by local law enforcement officials, it was quick. Police shot the killer within 60 seconds of the first shots being fired. in that time, 15 people were killed or wounded, an average of one victim every four seconds.

The weapon may have been legally purchased in Nevada but it was illegally brought into California, which has a ban on firearms with a magazine captivity greater than 10 rounds.

What are the chances fewer people would have been shot if there's a nationally enforced law, restricting the purchase purpose and transportation?

This is very simple on assault style weapons.

HUNTER: Oh, absolutely. These are weapons of war. I'm a former Marine who served several combat tours. There are weapons designed specifically for the purpose to kill as many people as easily and as quickly as possible.

If it were harder to obtain these, if you have fewer rounds that you could shoot, you would've killed and injured fewer people. This was the best case scenario insofar that police responded very, very quickly. But weapons that are designed to kill as quickly and as efficiently as possible have no place in civilian hands.

VAUSE: To that point I want you to listen to California's governor Gavin Newsom, specifically about the weapon which was used.

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GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): I have no problem with the Second Amendment, you have a right to bear arms but not weapons of goddamn mass destruction.

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VAUSE: In every other country around the, world that statement would be considered fair and reasonable. You mentioned weapons, of war. You've been to Iraq and Afghanistan, do you know the damage, you know the firepower of an AK or an AR, you're a former member of the NRA.

Why would they take issue with what the governor said?

HUNT: For far too, long the NRA, which is really representative of the gun lobby, not of the American people, not of the American gun owners -- I myself am one of them -- they're out to make profits.

And what we have seen is that the NRA is weakening but more importantly the American, people, gun owners and non gun owners are standing up and saying this does not represent, I want common sense and first and foremost, I want the safety and security of my communities.

And as a community we have the right to go out and take part in these great cultural events and the mass proliferation of weapons of war inhibits that. And enough is enough.

VAUSE: Some people don't understand, why there isn't thousands or tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of people on the streets demanding some kind of gun reform in this country.

HUNT: Unfortunately, what has historically been the case because of the gun lobby's grip on politicians. But hundreds of thousands of Americans are taking to the streets and they're doing so by showing up at the polling places.

The 2018 election, you had dozens of new members of Congress, who unseated long-entrenched gun lobby candidates. That sends a very clear message and that message is going to be stronger into 2020.

VAUSE: Kyleanne Hunter, thank you for being with, us we appreciate it.

HUNTER: Thank you very much.

VAUSE: Appreciate it. The U.S. president digging in on a strategy of division and exposing a common theme, once again attacking a lawmaker of color. This time his target, is Democratic Elijah Cummings and his congressional district of Baltimore, Maryland.

Mr. Trump launched at least 19 tweets on Saturday, calling Baltimore "a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess," and saying that the majority African American district, "no human being would want to live there." Here's CNN's Pamela Brown with more.

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PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight President Trump expanding his attacks against Baltimore Congressman Elijah Cummings, to include activist Al Sharpton.

Trump tweeting, Cummings district "has the worst crime statistics in the nation, 25 years of all talk, no action, adding, "so tired of listening to the same old bull."

The feud with Cummings began Saturday when the president peppered the Oversight Committee chair --

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BROWN (voice-over): -- with tweets, calling Cummings a racist and claiming his district is the most dangerous anywhere in the U.S. and "no human being would want to live there" and a "rat-infested mess."

Cummings fired back, saying he goes to his district every day and fights for his constituents. Cummings recently subpoenaed Trump's family and complained about the administration's handling of the border crisis.

Trump is going after Democratic activist Reverend Al Sharpton for supporting Cummings, saying, "Next Reverend Al will show up to complain and protest," adding, "Sharpton is just a con man at work."

Sharpton was also quick to fire back.

AL SHARPTON, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK: I know Donald Trump. He's not mature enough to take criticism. He can't help it. As far as me being a con man, if he really thought I was a con man, he would be nominating me for his cabinet.

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BROWN (voice-over): Noticeably quiet in the feud is close Trump ally and long-time friend of Elijah Cummings, Congressman Mark Meadows. Cummings has previously come to Meadows' defense during a public hearing when he was accused of being racist.

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REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MD.: Of all of the people on this committee, I've said it and got in trouble for it, that you're one of my best friends. I know that shocks a lot of people.

REP. MARK MEADOWS (R-NC), HOUSE FREEDOM CAUCUS: And likewise, Mr. Chairman.

CUMMINGS: Yes. But you are.

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BROWN (voice-over): Today Meadows ignored CNN's shouted question off camera about the matter when he was at the White House for a bill signing. Then his chief of staff defending his boss, saying he isn't a racist.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "No human being would want to live there."

MICK MULVANEY, ACTING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: When Donald Trump attacks people --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is being perceived as racist.

Do you understand why?

MULVANEY: I understand why. But that doesn't mean that it's racist. The president is pushing back against what he sees as wrong --

BROWN (voice-over): All of this amid a shake-up involving the president's Director of National Intelligence. The current director, Dan Coats, now out. Trump's choice to replace him, Texas Republican congressman John Ratcliffe, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, who has less than five years of national security experience and who Trump once thought was too nice, according to sources, until he aggressively questioned the former special counsel Robert Mueller last week.

REP. JOHN RATCLIFFE (R-TX), DNI NOMINEE: I agreed with the chairman this morning when he said Donald Trump is not above the law. He's not. But he damn sure shouldn't be below the law --

BROWN (voice-over): "The New York Times" is reporting Senate intel chair Richard Burr, among other Republicans, have privately expressed concern Ratcliffe is too political for the bipartisan post.

And in a statement, Burr said he will move swiftly to confirm Ratcliffe and says he hopes to work with DNI principal deputy Sue Gordon in the interim.

BROWN: Now Congressman Mark Meadows did provide a statement that was read on Jake Tapper's show, where he said neither the president nor Congressman Cummings is a racist.

But what this shows is that the president's comment stoking racial divide are putting some of his allies in a tough spot, like Meadows -- Pamela Brown, CNN, the White House.

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VAUSE: From Charlottesville, is Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia.

We just heard from Elijah Cummings defending Republican Mark Meadows, after he was accused of playing a racist stunt. Now Meadows appears to be that rarest of Republican lawmakers, defending Cummings, kind of, he texted a statement to former Republican senator and now CNN political commentator, Rick Santorum. Here it is.

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RICK SANTORUM, FORMER U.S. SENATOR: "No one works harder for his district than Elijah. He's passionate about the people he represents and, no, Elijah is not a racist and I'm friends with both men, President Trump and Chairman Cummings.

"I know them both well and neither is a racist. He offered to go to Baltimore with President Trump to remediate some of the problems that they have there."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Not exactly profile of courage from Meadows.

But if Donald Trump is not a racist, what is he?

SABATO: Well, he's a racist, so that answers the second part of your question, Trump has proved it over and over and over again. As far as Meadows is concerned, that was not a profile of courage and he will not be included in the next edition of that book.

VAUSE: Incredible to think that Cummings is such a public defensive and that was the best he could muster at this hour.

"The Washington Post" is reporting how the president's tweeting is being received in the White House. His "advisers had concluded" that this is "good for the president among his political base, resonating strongly with the white working class voters he needs to win reelection in 2020."

Have they now decided that the only path to a small Electoral College win is to energize every last racist in the country?

SABATO: I think they're planning on energizing the same people who voted for him in 2016, 46 percent of the vote. I don't think much has ever changed. He still at --

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SABATO: -- about 46 percent, at least in terms of the people that would show up and you put your finger on it, they can't have those people stay home because they are right at the margin, 2016 was really close, 2020 is likely to be very, very close.

And on account of that Trump has decided, probably correctly, because of his personality, he will never broaden the base. So he must stick with the people that stuck with him and hope that they turn out in sufficient numbers to reelect him. VAUSE: It seems that the other side of this comes from the governor of Maryland. Here's Larry Hogan and he spoke to WBAL radio.

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GOV. LARRY HOGAN (R-MD): It's like I think enough is enough. I mean, people are just completely fed up with this kind of nonsense.

And why are we not focused on solving the problems and getting to work instead of who is tweeting what and who is calling who what kind of names?

I mean, it is just absurd.

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VAUSE: The problem is it's the president who's tweeting the president and it's the president who is calling people names.

But have people had enough, will this strategy backfire?

SABATO: Not with Trump's base, again we go back to the same problem. Trump is actually the first president in the modern era who has not tried to broaden his support, who has not tried to unite their country.

Trump is probably the best divider in American history, at least from those who reached the Oval Office. A uniter he is not and he never will be. He doesn't have it in him.

VAUSE: But for all the people that are motivated to vote for Donald Trump through this rhetoric and this sort of language, is there many more people that will turn up and vote for a Democrat, whoever that, is, to vote against Trump?

In 2016 he received more black votes than the previous two Republican presidential nominees, he won't this time, surely?

SABATO: Well, you would think not, he got 8 percent of the overall African American vote. However among the male African Americans, he got 13 percent. I think it is very possible that his constant racist refrains will reduce by at least several points that proportion of the African American vote for Trump.

Look, in a very close race, it could make a difference and it's also affecting the Latino, vote, Hispanic vote, he got about 27 percent of the Hispanic, vote that is a lot of votes, Hispanics now vote about the same proportion of the vote nationally as do African Americans.

So if he goes down 3, 4, 5 points among the Hispanics and 2-3 points among African American males and this could cost him along college graduates, especially women, who live in the suburbs, you are looking at a substantial loss in votes, which is enough for him to lose the election.

VAUSE: The last few weeks Republicans have tried to defend the president, arguing his attacks on The Squad, the four Democratic congresswomen of color, attacking their beliefs and their ideology not their race.

These new tweets seem to have exposed all that as fiction.

SABATO: Absolutely, nobody who has any sense believed that to begin with. If you look at the long train of tweets from Trump, over the years, including his campaign, he seems to target African Americans with great frequency.

And as many people have noted, he uses the term "infestation" in one form or another only for African Americans. So no one is fooled by this and it is too late for him to change. He might as well stick with the program, maybe drop this set of tweets but he'll find another way to reinvent it.

What is hard to understand right now is what is happened to this America.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN ROBERTS, CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT: So help you God.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So help me God.

ROBERTS: Congratulations Mr. President.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: How did the country which elected Barack Obama into office for two terms turn around and elect someone like Donald Trump?

SABATO: Because if you look at the broad sweep of American (INAUDIBLE), We often choose presidents as successors who are the opposite of the person leaving office after four or eight years. And, boy, did we get the opposite this time.

VAUSE: To say the, least Larry, thank you, good to see. You

SABATO: Thank you John, thank you .

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Be sure to stay with us right here on CNN for the Democratic presidential debates, they will be live from Detroit, only here on CNN.

VAUSE: Well the unrest continues in Hong Kong with hundreds of protesters disrupting Tuesday's peak hour commute by blocking two --

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VAUSE: -- of the city's subway lines. The demonstration began eight weeks ago and the subway was the most recent target, whose activists have accused the corporation which runs the railway system of colluding with police to suppress the protest group. Hundreds of thousands have taken to the streets, concerned about a

slow but constant erosion of the city's independence of the communist government in Beijing. They're also demanding the chief executive of Hong Kong to resign.

On Monday China's top Hong Kong policy office released the first official statement calling the protests evil and criminal acts.

Still to come, a funeral for an Italian policeman brutally and repeatedly stabbed and conflicting accounts from the two American teens accused the attack, more on the investigation in a moment.

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VAUSE: In Rawalpindi, Pakistan, A military plane has crashed in a residential area, killing at least 15 people, injuring 12, the military says everyone on board was killed including two high ranking officers. No word yet on the cause. The army's headquarters are based in Rawalpindi, on the outskirts of the capital.

There are new details about a gruesome prison riot in Brazil, 57 inmates were killed inside the prison in northern Brazil. An official says 16 inmates were decapitated, the rest died in a fire set by the prisoners. Brazilian media report that the riot started when a group of prisoners stormed one part controlled by another faction.

Now to Italy where the killing of a policeman in Rome is dominating the headlines there, two American teenagers have been accused of the attack with national attention now focused on them.

The funeral for the officer was televised and was held in the same church where he was recently married, we get details from Isa Soares.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This church in the small town of Somma Vesuviana, filled with tears and grief as mourners paid tribute to Officer Mario Cerciello Rega, of the Carabinieri, Italy's police force. He was stabbed to death on Friday in Rome while trying to arrest two American teenagers, allegedly after a botched drug deal.

Police murders are rare in Italy. And on the official website, Italy's Carabinieri told this tragedy by the numbers. Rega had just turned 35. He had been married for 43 days. And he was stabbed 11 times, for 100 euros and a small quantity of drugs.

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SANDRO OTTAVIANI, COMMANDER, FARNESE SQUARE CARABINIERI HQ (through translator): He was a person that was always, always, always available. Everyone could count on him. Everyone in the neighborhood knew that they could count on him. He never tried to cut corners. He was very altruistic.

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SOARES (voice-over): Prosecutors have identified the two suspects as 18- year-old Gabriel Christian Natale-Hjorth and 19-year-old Finnegan Lee Elder, both from San Francisco.

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SOARES (voice-over): Court documents allege that both men admit to being involved in the scuffle, but have given conflicting accounts. Elder has allegedly admitted to the killing. They were arrested at this hotel where they were staying.

The investigation has taken a turn as officials are also trying to determine why one of the suspects was blindfolded and who leaked this photo to the press.

The court-appointed lawyer for Elder refused to comment in detail about his client.

FRANCESCO CODINI, LAWYER FOR FINNEGAN ELDER (through translator): He exercised his right not to answer questions, obviously.

Upset, surely. But let me say that given the circumstances, it does not seem appropriate to continue with the interview. Because a policeman died.

And therefore, out of respect especially for his family, I would end the interview here.

SOARES (voice-over): Authorities say the tragedy started when the two Americans attempted to buy drugs. After realizing they had been duped and sold crushed aspirin, the two looked for the dealer and allegedly stole his backpack, who then called police.

Rega, who had just returned to duty from his honeymoon, arrived with his partner. A scuffle ensued and Rega was stabbed repeatedly. Authorities also say he was stabbed with a seven-inch knife that Elder had brought from the United States.

Well, anger over the crime has turned to sorrow, striking a raw nerve for many. Italy's interior minister, Matteo Salvini, honors Rega, remembering him as a hero, a boy with all his life ahead. He says the two will face justice and if convicted, should get a life sentence -- Isa Soares, CNN.

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VAUSE: Still to come on CNN NEWSROOM a trip back in time to 2016 and the speech that then candidate Trump made to African American voters.

"What do you have to lose?"

We will have that in just a moment.

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VAUSE: Welcome back, I'm John Vause with an update on the top news this hour.

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VAUSE: During the 2016 presidential campaign, candidate Trump would often stand before a mostly white crowd of cheering supporters and make this pitch to African American and Hispanic voters.

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TRUMP: It is a disaster the way African-Americans are living in many cases and in many cases the way Hispanics are living. I say it with such a deep-felt feeling.

What do you have to lose? I will straighten it out.

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JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Ultimately, more black voters would cast their ballots for Trump in 2016 than either of the last two Republican presidential nominees, even though it could be argued many weren't supporting Trump as much as they were opposing Hillary Clinton.

But three years into his first term, and maybe now the president has entered his own question. What is the price of a Trump presidency for African-Americans?

Joining us now from Baltimore is Professor D. Watkins, author of "We Speak for Ourselves: A Word from Forgotten Black America." He's also editor at large for Salon.com.

Professor, thank you for being with us.

D. WATKINS, PROFESSOR: Thank you for having me.

VAUSE: OK, well, in broad terms, what has been the cost of the Trump presidency for African-Americans and other minorities?

WATKINS: So apparently, freedom. Because a whole lot of people are losing their freedom with Trump as the president. Different people from our country are not getting attraction of the things that he's promised. He gave an empty pitch, and that empty pitch came with zero results.

VAUSE: Yes. He promised to essentially end the crime and fix the neighborhoods and bring safety to the streets, and what's been the reality?

WATKINS: He hasn't done anything. His whole legacy and everything he talks about and everything that he promised is just a joke. We'll go back and 10 and 15 and 20 years from now, "We'll say, remember that one time and our country was ran by a joke, like the comedian in the White House," and you know, we'll look at this like a -- like a science project, a social science project that just went horrible.

VAUSE: What else are the divisions which this president seems to be exploring as a deliberate sort if political strategy to be reelected?

WATKINS: You know, I think he feels like he's hit a -- he's hit a stride with his base. So he doesn't really think much of people of color. He thinks so low of them that he thinks he can key in on a certain amount of black celebrities, and that will lock him in with the black vote.

But at the same, time he does this all this while pandering to so many different racists, and he feels like, by doing that, he'll be able to get some of the same people who came out to support him the last time. That's the strategy. And I can't even get mad at him for using it, because it worked for him.

VAUSE: Yes, well, here's part of an opinion piece you wrote for Salon on Monday. "Trump is a distraction, an oozing underarm cyst on the body of American history -- a cheap way to avoid the real problems at hand. Many of us are too busy surviving and don't have time to acknowledge his mindless claims. I mean, he tweets negative things about Baltimore as if Baltimore is not in America, the country that chose him as leader. Baltimore's problems are Trump's problems."

You go on to write there's a lot of beautiful and ugly everywhere across this country, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of enthusiasm for fixing the ugly. And you call out both Democrats and Republicans for this. It's on both sides. The end result is that Baltimore's problems are going to be fixed. Do you think, you know, Baltimore will have to do it themselves?

WATKINS: Absolutely. All of the positive change and the things that I've been a part of and that I've witnessed have been ground-up initiatives. You know, not to take anything away from the politicians who work hard and who try their best to remedy these problems, but it's not just on them. It's on all of us.

So you know, even with this Baltimore being all over the news and, you know, a lot of different people around the city, some -- you know, some real change makers and some good people are popping up on all these news stations. It doesn't -- it doesn't -- we still do work. We do real work, right? We do real work, and we do work that should be highlighted and that should be supported and that should also be a part of the conversation, too.

And you know what? Sometimes we get it right and now young people are able to utilize the resources that we try to provide for them and then they go on and do great things. Sometimes we get it wrong, and we've got to go back to the drawing board and try again.

But Baltimore has a whole lot of Brazilian people and a lot of people who care about the city and a lot of people who are working tirelessly to make it better every day. And we haven't had big support from people like Trump or people who subscribe to his idiotic ideology that, you know, is just a huge cloud of nothingness.

VAUSE: You know, Trump also called out the Democrat presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. He tweeted on Monday, "Crazy Bernie Sanders recently equated the city of Baltimore to a third world country. Based on that statement, I assumed that Bernie must be labeled a racist, just as a Republican would be if he used that term and standard."

Here is what the president is referring to, a comment Sanders made back in 2015, December of 2015.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Anyone who took the walk that we took around this neighborhood would not think you're in a wealthy nation. You would think that you are in a third-world country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Conservative commentator Bill Kristol, he made the point: "Reminder: what provoked Trump's attacks on Cummings -- Elijah Cummings? New facts about crime or poverty in Baltimore? Nope. It was that Cummings' committee voted to subpoena work-related texts and emails on personal accounts by White House officials, including Ivanka and Jared," the daughter and son-in-law.

This gets to the question of motivation and context, especially -- you know, the kind of language that the president has used in the past. The same words can be loaded and have very different meanings.

[00:35:19] WATKINS: And you know, if you think about it, both of these things are problems. He's just -- and this is why I wrote the line about him being a distraction, or just trying to create a diversion from getting people -- He wants people to focus on what he wants people to focus on. He doesn't want you to focus on what Cummings is doing with the communication between Ivanka and Jared, and the things that they did that wasn't right. He wants you to focus on, you know, Baltimore city and what we have going on here.

And that smart people, thinking people will understand that these are both problems. What Bernie Sanders said, no, it doesn't make Bernie Sanders a racist, but it makes him a person who sees that our city has problems. You know, he -- the way he said it and the way that Trump said were completely two different ways.

Bernie said it with the energy of trying to create hope and provide help and solutions. Trump said it as a shot to cause a distraction. So you know. But at the end of the day, our city, like a whole lot of cities in this country, you know, we do need things, and we deserve things.

VAUSE: When it comes to words, which are important, the president will often use terms like "infestation" when he describes African- American communities. He uses words like this to describe Baltimore. "No human being," he tweeted, "would want to live there." Seven hundred thousand people choose to live in Baltimore. Many are African-Americans. Presumably, you know, most of them are there by choice. But somehow, they're less than human?

WATKINS: Maybe -- maybe if you're a racist and you don't look at black people as people, then you can say that people are less than human. A thinking person would never say something like that.

VAUSE: But it's a dehumanizing effect, right, that the choice of words has.

WATKINS: Yes, and it's crazy, because like, no one -- no one who -- with mannerisms like him or who talks like him or who shares ideas like him, you know, he can't say anything to humanize the people of Baltimore City. It's impossible. He does have the bandwidth or the mental capacity to be able to do that.

So, it becomes like a game with -- you know, with the bloggers of the people who write about it and talk about it. And you know, I get caught up in it sometimes, too, but in actuality, if we're having, like, a real conversation and we're being serious, he doesn't have -- have doesn't even have the power to give real good insults -- his insults aren't that good. It's just not good. It's not smart. It's not clever. It's not creative, and like it's the same thing. It's what you expect an old racist person with bad ideas to say and do.

VAUSE: OK. With that, we're out of time. But Professor Watkins, thank you so much. Appreciate your being with us.

WATKINS: Thank you.

VAUSE: Before we go, we give the last word to "The Baltimore Sun," part of an editorial on Monday. It reads, "While we would not sink to name-calling in the Trumpian manner or ruefully point out that he failed to spell the congressman's name correctly (it's Cummings, not Cumming) we would tell the most dishonest men to ever occupy the Oval Office, the mocker of war heroes, the gleeful grabber of women's private parts, the serial bankrupter of businesses, the useful idiot of Vladimir Putin and the guy who insisted there are 'good people' among murderous neo-Nazis, that he's still not fooling most Americans into believing he's even slightly competent in his current post or that he possesses a scintilla of integrity. Better to have some vermin living in your neighborhood than to be one."

And with that, we'll be right back. A lot more news. You're watching CNN. Right after the break.

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[00:40:45] VAUSE: Well, amid all the dire environmental news of late here's some rare good news. Over the past four years, India's tiger population has increased. CNN's Amara Walker tells us how the big cats are making a big comeback.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) AMARA WALKER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): India's national animal is bouncing back. The tiger population has increased by a third in the last four years and doubled in the last 12 years to nearly 3000. And that's good news for tigers everywhere, because most of the world's tigers live in India.

NARENDRA MODI, INDIAN PRIME MINISTER: The regions of the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) tiger's resurgence will make every Indian, every nature lover happy.

WALKER: And until recently, the news hadn't been so good. The World Wildlife Fund says since 1900, the world's tiger population dropped by 97 percent. In 2010, 13 countries in the tiger range pledged to double the world's tiger population by 2022.

In announcing the latest census figures, Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighted India's pace.

MODI: Nine long years ago, it was decided in St. Petersburg that the target of doubling the tiger population would be 2022. We in India completed this target four years early.

WALKER: As part of his conservation message, Mr. Modi tweeted out an episode from an upcoming Discovery Channel India episode of "Man versus Wild," features his trip to India's wilderness with adventurer Bear Grylls.

BEAR GRYLLS, DISCOVERY CHANNEL: You are the most important man in India. My job is to keep you alive.

WALKER: India has 50 tiger reserves and strict laws against capturing and killing wild animals. Despite that, there are still conflicts with humans, especially when tiger reserves border villages.

Amara Walker, CNN.

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VAUSE: And from Ethiopia, a new world record in tree planting. More than 350 million planted in just 12 hours, part of a reforestation campaign led by the country's prime minister. But this is just a start. The overall goal is to paint 4 billion trees during the rainy season, which lasts until October. Good for them.

Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. Please stay with us. WORLD SPORT is up next. You're watching CNN.

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[00:44:53] (WORLD SPORT)

[00:57:16] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[01:00:06] VAUSE: Hello and thanks for joining us. I'm John Vause. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.