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CUOMO PRIME TIME
New Footage Shows Dayton Shooter at Bar Before Massacre; Rep. Veronica Escobar on Donald Trump's Visit to El Paso; Former White Supremacist: Words Matter, Especially From President; Trump Ignores Backlash Over El Paso and Dayton Visits. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired August 6, 2019 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[21:00:00] GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I've been doing stories in El Paso for years. These are the kindest people. I'm seeing the same thing just now. When it comes to these blood donation centers, here's the amazing thing. So many people have turned out.
There's been a blood shortage here for months in El Paso area, but so many have people turned out, they can't take anymore walk-ins.
The appointment books are all full. They're saying ultimately they want to have walk-ins come in this week, too many, because there's such high spirits here in El Paso.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, ANDERSON COOPER 360: Great report, Gary, thank you so much.
I want to hand it over to Chris for Chris Cuomo Prime Time. Chris?
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST, CUOMO PRIME TIME: All right. Thank you very much, Anderson. It's a beautiful story. It's a good problem to have. They have too many people trying to help.
All right, here we are live from El Paso. Again, the shirt tells the story. "El Paso Strong" this community is showing the best of this country in the worst of situations. When the President comes tomorrow, we all hope he can embrace the positive mood, the people coming together, and that they want the same things here that Americans want everywhere in this country.
Now we're going to leave El Paso for a second to give an update on Dayton. We've received brand new video that could shed new light on the massacre there. What does it show? It is remarkable in that it shows such a nonchalance by the killer in the hours right before the attack.
We expect planning, we expect nervousness, there all different types of indicia of what we're looking for before someone undertakes this type of gruesome event, yet not here. The footage we're going to show you in just a moment will really tell you a part of the story that sheds some light on the kind of people that do this.
Now here in El Paso, the next 24 hours are going to tell us a lot about where this place goes and this country goes in the near future. The President is coming tomorrow. Many here are on edge. The question is obvious, will the visit help or hurt?
We have a Congresswoman telling him to stay away. She's refusing to be what she calls "complicit". We're going to test her case tonight.
We also have a staunch Trump loyalist, Congressman Sean Duffy. We want to take on with him how do we get past the polarization. Do Republicans now believe that they are more open to change about gun laws, about terrorism? We'll talk to him about that.
And how do we fight the enemy within. We have to know more about who these white nationalists think they are and how they think. We're going to take you inside the mind of a rage-filled white supremacist with someone who was one. So what do you say? Let's get together and let's get after it.
All right. Like I told you, we have brand-new video just into CNN tonight. It is exclusive footage of the Dayton, Ohio gunman in the two hours leading up to his murderous rampage. Now you know on this show, I don't talk about how these killers are. I don't want to get into their biography. They are irrelevant in terms of why they did this and who helped them.
However, I want you to see something tonight, because it's a window into what goes on through somebody's head who wants to do something like this. Of course, the victims matter most. But the video could help us understand why this happened, how do we stop it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Security cameras show 24-year-old murderer in waiting, right, entering this bar with two people around 11:09 p.m. All right, the two people appear to be his sister Megan and a third companion we've identified as Charles Beard.
Now, why are they relevant? Because he killed his sister and he shot this supposed friend of his. You look at the time stamp, 11:20. But the camera clock is 11 minutes fast, according to the bar staff.
Now, you see the murderer there dressed like others, t-shirt, shorts, sneakers, none of that tactical gear that we were expecting. The vest and the mask that he put on, nowhere to be seen.
Dayton police say, they've talked to the friend Charles Beard and said there's no information to suggest that he or the murderer's sister were aware he had weapons. About an hour after he entered that bar, so we're at about 12:13 a.m., the murderer is seen stopping by the entrance and speaking with staff at the door. Then he exits.
Beard and Megan, the murderer's sister, remain in the bar for another 45 minutes before they are seen living around 1:00 a.m. A timeline that has been reported before and its only incrementally relevant in terms of understand how these events went.
Dayton's police chief says the killer separated from the other two later in the evening. Well, now we know what that means. This is the video of him leaving alone. Amazing to think that he was thinking about doing these types of things and yet they had no indication - and we have to believe that's true, because his sister paid with her life and the friend was injured.
Chief Richard Biehl says that there was a interesting dynamic here to get into. So it's a communication between the killer and his companion after they separated, but did not provide any other details. That's going to be key in knowing where this guy's head was.
Nothing in the video indicates an altercation or any other kind of precipitating event that could give a clue as to what prompted the rampage to come.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
1:06 a.m., the first calls come into 911 reporting the shooting. Megan, the murderer's sister killed along with eight others. Beard shot and wounded. The mass murderer killed by police.
[21:05:00] Now, that is going to help the police figure out a little bit more of what the motivation cycle was there. Did he meet with somebody? Who may have helped him plan? Somebody who put ideas in his head? It's very important, especially with the push right now to recognize this for what it is. This was a domestic terror act.
In fact, you should just take the word domestic out of it. It's terrorism, just like it was here, just like it is when ISIS does it anywhere in this country or any other extreme Muslim group.
So we're going to be going to Dayton tomorrow and also we'll be talking about El Paso - the President, I'm sorry, is going to Dayton tomorrow. He's also coming to El Paso. It is going to be difficult. People are in pain and many believe that he is a part of that pain.
Let's have that discussion. Not easy to have, has to be had. Texas Congresswoman Veronica Escobar, a Democrat represents this district. Thank you very much for being here.
REP. VERONICA ESCOBAR (D-TX): Hi Chris.
CUOMO: Just to get the backstory right. Are you were invited to be part of the delegation that would bill with the President here?
CUOMO: You said I want to talk to him first.
ESCOBAR: I think it's important for us to have a dialogue about why this community is in so much pain. I don't know that he gets it, Chris. His words have incredible power. You walk through all of these families, you walk through this memorial, you'll see people in pain. I talked to a veteran earlier who said, "I'm being made to seem as though I'm not American." The language that he uses to describe immigrants and Hispanics dehumanizes us.
CUOMO: And the idea that he's only talking about those who come illegally and are murderers and rapists and the bad ones, not the good people.
CUOMO: You don't buy it.
ESCOBAR: No, no, Chris. The - anytime you talk about whole groups of people that way, you do it for a reason. When you strip people from their humanity, that's what makes that kind of violence in that Walmart so easy for the killer.
I've been spending time with the families in the hospital. The minute they begin talking about the terror and what that terrorist did. The way that he behaved in the most cold-blooded fashion, it's because he doesn't see Mexicans, Hispanics--
CUOMO: Brown people, that's what he was looking for.
ESCOBAR: Immigrants, brown people--
CUOMO: That's why he came here.
ESCOBAR: He doesn't see us as human.
CUOMO: There are Walmarts all over.
ESCOBAR: he doesn't see us as human. And so--
CUOMO: So you wanted to have--
ESCOBAR: --and the President needs to take back his words.
CUOMO: All right. Well, let's go one step at a time. So you want to have this call. They say no he's too busy.
CUOMO: You then say, well, then I'm not going to be part of this, because I don't want to be an accessory, I don't want to be complicit.
CUOMO: Are you okay with that? Because the idea is, it can't be just about you. It's got to be about your constituents.
CUOMO: You believe you're doing the right thing by them?
ESCOBAR: I do. I do. We're going to have 22 funerals, Chris - 22 funerals in this community. And the words that have dehumanized us are still hanging over us.
CUOMO: So you need to hear this President apologize for the things he said.
ESCOBAR: And to acknowledge that they were wrong, and to take them back.
CUOMO: And if he doesn't.
ESCOBAR: As far as I'm concerned, he should not be here until he does that.
CUOMO: What if he says, I'm here because you guys are in pain and I'm your President and I'm sorry this happened.
ESCOBAR: What caused the pain is the question?
CUOMO: A bad, a crazy, hateful person, who I've said is crazy and hateful.
ESCOBAR: Absolutely. But the words that are used by the President drive much of that hate. There's a reason why hate crimes have increased significantly under his tenure.
CUOMO: I hear you from you present a cogent case, OK. But for the sake of it - and when I say, nothing for the sake of argument, this isn't a game.
CUOMO: This is not like some rhetorical flourish. But in the interest of healing and getting to a better place, what if, he comes tomorrow and he doesn't say what you want to hear. And let's be honest, it's unlikely to hear the President apologize. We've never heard him apologize for anything before, let alone something with this kind of price tag.
But let's say he does provide comfort. And he says I will do better, and I will have people be better and I will push Congress more. I know that it's going to sound hollow, but might it be an incremental step in the right direction?
ESCOBAR: Chris, I'm open to any incremental step. That doesn't mean that he - that in - from my view that he should come into a community where he painted a target on our back. He put the target on our back. He needs to peel it off.
We were told by law enforcement be careful, be vigilant, there may be copycat attacks.
CUOMO: Right. It is contagious.
ESCOBAR: Yes. He has the most powerful voice in the country. He needs to stand up and say I was wrong. Those words are wrong. And every one of these people is worthy and equal of our admiration and of grace and of our compassion. They are no different, regardless of the color of their skin, and I was wrong to make them different. That's what he needs to say.
CUOMO: Anybody in the White House give you any indication that they understand a message?
ESCOBAR: I don't know that they care.
CUOMO: Well that's a harsh thing to say.
[21:10:00] ESCOBAR: That's - if you're too busy to have a telephone conversation with a leader in the community who has asked for that conversation. He called other elected officials here, the media has reported it. So he had nothing on his schedule today. 10 minutes - 10 minutes.
And I'm not saying that he had to talk to me. I wanted him to hear what is happening. If he were to walk through all of this pain, this sea of beautiful humanity that is suffering and is in pain, maybe it would open up the compassion in his heart and he needs to feel compassion.
CUOMO: Listen, I mean, the only thing that you have to hope here is that - I don't know how you can't in this situation. I've never had a community - I've been all over this country, seeing this type of victimization. Not always white nationalism, but some type of mass shooting.
I've never seen people victimized the way this community has been, not acting like victims, reaching out, embracing. I must have hugged a thousand people while - in the last few days here.
And the consistent message is - that they're talking to us to give a message to him, even though he's their President. And it seems odd, like I'm in another country. Like, they feel this dislocation.
So my hope is - you know, I always bet on the optimism of it. I get it. I'm no fool. You see what I do every night.
CUOMO: But if he can let these people here believe that they belong, even though they do by all definitions, but feel like he thinks they belong, that might have an unintended positive effect that certainly we could all use.
ESCOBAR: Well, we definitely can use healing in this country. It's incredibly divided. I've said before, we - El Paso is at the unfortunate intersection of the gun violence epidemic and the hate epidemic, that's what happened here.
CUOMO: It is the destiny of this place, though, right. You take the name El Paso from the name of the passage. That's Mexico right over there - the passage North. This is now a passageway that this whole country is going through. Diversity is obviously our future.
ESCOBAR: Yes. CUOMO: There's so much pain involved with it for the people who are struggling to be here, struggling to remain and struggling to establish themselves and now establish that they belong.
CUOMO: You got to hope for good things. You were totally right to make the argument. I'm not pushing back on how you feel.
ESCOBAR: And you know what Chris, I got to stand up for my community.
CUOMO: 100 percent.
ESCOBAR: I've got to stand up for the people who are weeping and in pain and struggling. This beautiful community - everybody that I talked to from the camera crews to the producers have expressed how incredible we are.
We are and so humble and so undeserving of this violence, but until we realize the power of words and the harm that they can do, we won't have changed. So if we are to have change. If we are to have healing, if we are going to use this as a turning point - and I hope to god it's a turning point for all of us. He has to be a part of it.
CUOMO: Especially, coming from a President the power of words. We just lost Toni Morrison, right?
CUOMO: Nobel Prize winner, Pulitzer Prize winner. And one of her many, many amazing thoughts was that you know, "Language alone can protect us from scary places. Language alone can be a meditation". And certainly we need the power of the right words from the right person right now.
Congresswoman, thank you--
ESCOBAR: Thank you.
CUOMO: --for making the case for your people. Thank you for being here for them. I know they appreciate your presence so, so much. And the community needs its leaders and you are one of them.
ESCOBAR: Thank you. Thank you so much Chris.
CUOMO: Thank you. Thank you for joining me.
ESCOBAR: I appreciate you. Love your t-shirt.
CUOMO: Thank you. Right, well the money for these t-shirts goes to help the victims' families. So Rose my producer picked this up for me and it couldn't be a more apt description of this place. By any definition of strength El Paso--
ESCOBAR: And one more thing--
ESCOBAR: We're having a rally tomorrow. As the President does his thing. The community is going to come together tomorrow 12:30 Washington Park in order to denounce hate, reject bigotry and embrace one another.
CUOMO: Push the positivity and good luck.
ESCOBAR: Thank you.
CUOMO: Be well. This is tough - these are tough conversations. But that's the reality. And if you avoid the conversation then how can you seek any progress. How can you hope anything to get better? How can you seek any understanding?
And similarly, we got to look at this white nationalist violence that way in America too. We got to understand this better. We're getting killed from within. We don't even know who these people are. We don't really understand where they meet.
Our investigators haven't been given the resources to get into this. They're only dealing with Islamist extremism. This is all new for them. It's been ignored. So we're going to meet with somebody. He knows the ideology, because he believed in the ideology. And he's going to tell you what kinds of words resonate. Why we're seeing more of this behavior right now? Let's learn from him, next.
[21:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CUOMO: All right. After the attack behind me, authorities pointed to the El Paso suspects online ramblings as evidence that he was a proponent white supremacy before taking those precious lives.
Now, first, don't get caught up in the title. I don't care if it's white nationalism or white supremacy. We're talking about race-based bigotry in the extreme enacted upon as furtherance of a political agenda, that's terrorism.
So if you want to say, well, he wasn't a white supremacist, he was a white something else, I don't give a damn about the distinction. Let the investigators figure that out. If you act in the name of hate to advance a political motive and you do so through violence, its terrorism.
Now what I want to focus on is talking to somebody who understands that mentality. OK. So let's move up the discussion here and get with Christian Picciolini, OK. Now it's - I've had you on before and unfortunately we need you now more than ever.
So Christian you were in that world, you got out of it. The relevant part of the story here is to understand what's going on in that community. Why are we seeing an uptick, not just in murders, which is bad enough, but activity? Local organizing, online chat groups, what is going on to your understanding?
CHRISTIAN PICCIOLINI, FORMER WHITE SUPREMACIST: Well, I think, we have a significant part of the American population that is feeling like the equalization from other folks who've desperately been asking for it for a long time is starting to feel like oppression to them.
Now they're wrong, because none of these things are affecting them like they say they are. There is no great replacement. There is no white genocide happening. These are all tropes that have been happening for centuries.
[21:20:00] And they're keying in on these things now, because of the words, you know, in part from a President, who has a responsibility to measure his words in these cases. Because we've seen violence--
CUOMO: Do you believe what he says resonates with them, because his defenders will say, "No, they hate him." Because they believe he's not for the white community enough, do you believe that?
PICCIOLINI: Listen, Chris, I'm intimate with words like the ones that the President used. 30 years ago I wrote lyrics - racist lyrics that I put out into the world. I got out 23 years ago. In 2015, those lyrics resurfaced in a post that Dylann Roof made, four months before he walked into the Charleston, Mother Emanuel Church and murdered those people.
I understand the responsibility that we have for those words. And an apology just isn't good enough. We need action.
CUOMO: So in terms of who is susceptible. Your name is Italian - Picciolini. You are not some waspy guy from the Midwest who doesn't know a lot of different types of ethnics or different people. How did you get sucked in? Who is susceptible?
PICCIOLINI: Well, listen, I think everybody is susceptible, because we're living in a time of uncertainty right now and that's when extremism flourishes. I was a 14 year old kid in 1987 when I was recruited into America's first Neo-Nazi skinhead group.
I was lonely. I felt marginalized. I felt abandoned by my parents. There were all sorts of issues that detoured me onto the path of extremism. We're living in a time right now when frankly there's a whole lot of uncertainty with our population.
And sometimes these narratives to people who feel desperate seem like a lottery ticket, it's their only hope. So when I see them go all in--
CUOMO: The idea of the parents--
PICCIOLINI: --all in attacks like this - Chris--
CUOMO: --about the guy here at the Walmart, they said we didn't know, Christian. Do you believe that?
PICCIOLINI: I think that they probably didn't know. I think most people aren't really up on what to look for. But I can tell you it's pretty simple. It's the same things that we noticed when people get into gangs or get into drugs or end up in crime. It's the alienation. It's the same extremist behaviors that indicate that somebody might go towards extremism.
Ideology is just the final component that intercepts somebody that gives them the reason to go out and be angry towards other people.
CUOMO: Right. Now Christian, I cut you off. Make that point about when they go all in like this, because obviously the concentration of effort now is on treating this as terrorism, when they act out in violence in furtherance of a political agenda. Do you think that's the proper designation?
PICCIOLINI: Yes, absolutely, it's terrorism. And it's not just domestic terrorism, its transnational terrorism. Since the 80s this has been connected to places like Europe and Eastern Europe. We were making money off of music back in those days and merchandise.
But now the Internet's changed the game. I really think that we need to start looking this from the transnational perspective, because we've got Americans going over to places like the Ukraine and Russia to train in paramilitary camps and come back you know to places like Charlottesville and take - get out on act of this there. This is a real problem.
CUOMO: Christian, there's no 100 percent it is, we've got to start taking it as one and I'm going to be leaning on you going forward. I appreciate your help. And I appreciate you reflecting on what you did in the past.
All we control is what we do today, and you're making a positive difference and thank you for that.
PICCIOLINI: Thanks Chris.
CUOMO: All right. So let's bounce back and forth between El Paso and Dayton. Dayton's Mayor had some very pointed words for the President today ahead of his visit there tomorrow. Can he unite us in this time of grief?
Now the question is, yes, but it's about how genuine it is and how sustained it is? Great starting point for a great debate, next.
[21:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CUOMO: We know as a matter of fact that not everybody's going to be happy to see President Trump here in El Paso or in Dayton tomorrow. But you know what, heavy is the head that wears the crown. And when you're President of the United States, not everything's going to be easy.
The Democrat Mayor in Dayton says, she's going to welcome the President quote "In her official capacity as Mayor". But she did have a caveat and here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR NAN WHALEY, DAYTON, OHIO: He's made this bed. He's got a lie in it. He hasn't - you know, his rhetoric has been painful for many in our community and I think that people should stand up and say they're not happy, if they're not happy that he's coming.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: All right, let's get into the great debate. We got Wajahat Ali and Patrick Griffin. Pat, I will start with you. The idea of the President coming into either of these places and saying, "Hey, I didn't ever say anything like that. I shouldn't be blamed for any of this." If that's even remotely in his mindset of what should be in the messaging, he shouldn't come right?
PATRICK GRIFFIN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I'm not hearing you Chris.
CUOMO: All right, Patrick can't fix me. Wajahat, can you hear me?
WAJAHAT ALI, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I can hear you.
CUOMO: All right, good. So the idea of the President, what his message is--
GRIFFIN: I can hear you, I can't hear Chris. Now, I can.
CUOMO: All right. So we're going to try and - Patrick, you got me?
GRIFFIN: I got you now Chris.
CUOMO: All right, good. So the idea of the President coming either of these places tomorrow and saying, "I didn't do any of this. This isn't about me. I shouldn't be blamed. Damn those Democrats, damn the fake news." That cannot be in the repertoire tomorrow, fair point?
GRIFFIN: Fair point. I think that's more than fair. Look, I think President Obama was pretty right today, Chris, when he said that we need to make sure that we should reject this kind of negative speech coming from our leaders. That means all leaders.
Whether President Trump says something that is provocative or incendiary - he is held to a higher standard as President United States, that's a fair thing to do. But I think we have to look at all of our leaders.
The President says something the physics of politics is that one side says something, the other side reacts, and all of this stuff is not helpful, Chris. This is driving our nation to a place where we can no longer have a thoughtful cogent discussion about this kind of tragedy and what leads to it.
It's got to stop. Tomorrow's not the place for that to happen, and I'm one that's hoping the President can go to these towns and bring some healing with him.
[21:30:00] But it's going to take two to tango, Chris. It's not going to happen one sided. This is sadly politics.
CUOMO: All right. Wajahat, let me play with that metaphor that Patrick has. Is that, you know, who's driving what situation. It's true, a lot of different factors drive it. but the President's sitting behind the wheel he's got his foot on the gas, so what do you expect tomorrow?
ALI: What I expect is the President to be the President. He's going to be the racist in chief. in fact, what I want him to do is go to Mar-a- Lago, have a robe, drink a coke, put away your Twitter, put away your cell phone and just watch Fox News.
Because this is a President who could even be bothered on Sunday, as a nation was mourning two massacres, to actually go to El Paso, to go to Dayton. What did he do? He golfed. Then the next day, on Monday, he just had one job read the teleprompter. He messed it up. He couldn't even say the city properly. He said Toledo.
So maybe he'll actually land in Toledo and not Dayton, who knows. But if he goes to El Paso, I want him to bring a $470,000 check because he owes a community money, number one.
And then number two, I want to say guess what, there is a gun control bill on the footsteps of "Moscow Mitch". I'm going to tell Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader, to get that bill in Senate and I'm going to pressure Republicans to pass this background check, so we can make sure that there's really no more gun violence.
And the third thing I'll do, Chris, is apologize. Apologize to that community it's 80% Hispanic. I'm sorry that I failed you. I was not your President. I promoted white supremacist talking points.
Forgive me. I'm here. I'm trying to be a good President now. How can I be less racist, how can I help you? I would like an apology--
CUOMO: All right, Patrick.
ALI: We're never going to get it.
GRIFFIN: I don't think that's going to happen.
CUOMO: Patrick is there anything like those three points you think we'll hear?
GRIFFIN: No, I don't think. I just said that's wishful thinking on Wajahat's part, that's not going to happen. What I tried to say in my opening remarks to you, Chris is that, I think there is plenty of anger and rhetoric - soaring rhetoric, unconstructive rhetoric to go around here.
The President's job is to go there tomorrow, to reach out to the people who want to talk to him. If people in those places don't want to see the President, they want to protest, that's up to them. But the President will go there tomorrow, I think, to at least try to engage, to talk to family, survivors, first responders, that's his job.
Let's see how Presidential the President acts tomorrow. He deserves an opportunity to do that. We should expect nothing less.
CUOMO: Well, but Patrick here's the problem. I totally agree with the idea of everybody doing their best. But you seem to be ignoring his outsized role in creating the negativity and toxicity in this dynamic. It wasn't Democrats saying bad things about Latinos and then him ramping it up, Patrick, I don't know why you shaking your head. I could give you 15 minutes of comments from him where the people in this community have remembered every damn one of them. And for some reason, they took him all personally.
And they didn't see it as some battle between Left and Right, they saw it as their President looking at them and saying, you're a brown menace and we got to be afraid of you. And people shouldn't want you here. And we should take your kids and we should put them in cages and scare you back home. And hopefully you won't come back when you see the big wall, that's what he's coming into. Because that's the check his mouth has written, what does he do when he gets here, ignore it?
GRIFFIN: Well, listen, Chris you and I had this conversation before. There are many things that Donald Trump says that are indefensible from my perspective, and you know that, because we've talked about other things here.
Some of what the President says, I wish he didn't say. And I wish he didn't say it in the way he says it. But there's plenty of rhetoric coming from the other side as well. And I'm sorry, I think that what's good for the goose is good for the gander here.
We're hearing Democrats talking about - and again the politics of this is disgraceful. This has been a terrible awful tragedy. We've got direct mail pieces going out raising money for Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren. We've got Beto O'Rourke comparing the President to Nazi, Germany. None of this is helping the situation Chris.
ALI: Chris may I?
GRIFFIN: This is - the politics part of this - on all sides.
CUOMO: All right. I hear you Patrick.
ALI: So is Donald Trump going to talk to--
CUOMO: I hear you. But, you know, look, tomorrow is a chance - Waj (ph), I'm going to give you the final word. But tomorrow is a chance. Don't forget Waj's other two points. Waj said there is a gun control bill on there that's pretty reasonable and a lot of Republicans - not a lot, a few were starting to bubble up and saying, "Hey, we're not against this".
The President has said he's for much of what's in that bill before. And there's no reason not to treat these extremists like these white nationalists as terrorists. They check every box when they act away this guy did. Last word for you.
GRIFFIN: I don't disagree with you, Chris.
ALI: Three quick points. I'm coming there. I'm going to pass gun control.
CUOMO: I hear you Patrick. Go ahead Waj. ALI: I'm coming there. I'm going to pass control. Number two, I apologize for mainstreaming white supremacist talking points. I'm going to tackle the number one domestic terror threat in America, because it was a white domestic - white supremacist terrorists who attacked and killed more than 20 people.
And number three, forgive me - forgive me for being a racist. Forgive me for calling you invaders, forgive me for calling you rapists, forgive me for saying black and brown Americans are less than.
[21:35:00] And I'm going to be your President and I'm going to fight for you. And I'm going to try my best to be less racist, because let's be honest that's the feature, not the bug.
CUOMO: All right, Waj, thank you for your take. Patrick, I appreciate you coming on the show and making the case. Thank you very much for doing it. Let's - all three of us, let's hope we're all pleasantly surprised tomorrow. It'd be a great boost for the country.
All right. So what does what's the big deal now, all right? What happens next? Why would any of you believe that anything can be better than this last few days if nobody does anything any different? So will there be change?
We're going to bring in a Republican, because remember, look, I don't care what kind of numbers you have in Congress. As long as you have that filibuster role in the Senate, you need both sides to get anything done. We have a supporter of the President, Republican Congressman Sean Duffy from Wisconsin. What does he think the future holds, next.
CUOMO: All right. So, look, we know that people are on edge here and there's very raw and real emotion here and in Dayton, and rightly so. Should the President come or not? Look, he's coming and you got to hope that he says the right things and that he doesn't say the wrong things.
But now there's a bigger concern, because this can't all be about the President. It has to be about Congress and what can get done. Let's get perspective from someone who supports the President, so on the Right side of the aisle Wisconsin Representative Sean Duffy.
[21:40:00] Congressman, thank you for being on the show.
REP. SEAN DUFFY (R-WI): Yes. Good to be with you, Chris. Thanks for having me on.
CUOMO: All right. Two things, one, when an organization or when an individual acts as an extension of an organization through violence to advance a political agenda, like we saw at this Walmart, like who knows maybe we saw in Dayton.
They're still developing the picture in both places. That should be terrorism and you should expand the law and the resources to root out these political extremists and haters wherever they live, wherever they are, whatever they're affiliated with, and punish them the way you would an Islamic extremist. Fair point?
DUFFY: I wholeheartedly agree, it's a great point. But I also think, as I've watched your show tonight, and I think it's important that we look at this holistically. Number one, we have a shooter in El Paso who's going after Hispanics.
I mean, I - my wife's Hispanic. I've eight Hispanic children. This is horrible stuff and my heart breaks for the families. But he was also anti-corporation, he was also an environmentalist.
We look at we look at what's going on in Dayton, and in Dayton you had a socialist who is a supporter of Democrats and Antifa. Chris, we have to get to what's inspiring people to take up arms and kill their neighbors. What's going on in the last 50 years to bring this to our doorstep in and part of it is a gun conversation.
But we have a mental health crisis in America, and we don't have enough treatments provided--
CUOMO: This is not mental health, though, Congressman.
DUFFY: --in this country. If you have a problem--
CUOMO: This guy wasn't crazy. This guy wasn't crazy.
DUFFY: I think - did you read his manifesto? I read it--
CUOMO: Look, and I know that's a pejorative word. Hold on a second. Hold on Sean. I know that's a pejorative word. I'm just using it colloquially. We don't have a mental health issue or a mental illness with this guy. This was a bad guy. Evil is not sickness. We and I - you and I both know this.
So don't hide behind the mentally ill. They're more likely to be victims and perpetrators of violence. This is about hate and having the resources to root it out and the will to punish it the same way. You wouldn't say a Muslim is a mentally ill person if they had a terrorist attack here. You'd say that they're a bad Muslim, Islamic extremist and you'd want him punished.
DUFFY: I agree. And I agree with you on that front. If we have a group of people who are using violence to perpetuate an ideology, we should call them terrorists. We should get the resources to the FBI and our law enforcement officials and we should go after them. I wholeheartedly agree with that.
My point was larger in the sense that, I do think you have great mental illness in the country. And a lot of the people who comment before they do these horrific acts, they're sick. And I think we have to look at how - why are we desensitized to all this violence? And I think guns are part of the conversation.
But we have to look at the billions of dollars that Hollywood makes off of violent movies and video games. The El Paso shooter was talking about--
CUOMO: You think that movies has as much to do with it?
DUFFY: --video games--
CUOMO: You think the movies and video games have as much to do with this problem as the access to weapons do? The only metric we have that distinguishes us from other cultures, Sean, is how many guns we have. It's like 120 is the race, where everybody else is in the 20s and 30s by country.
They all have video games, they have violent with guns.
DUFFY: Chris, I--
CUOMO: You got to figure out access to the guns.
DUFFY: What I also see is if it's not guns, its knives, it's pressure cookers, it's planes, it's fertilizer, its trucks. People who are sick and want to kill will use whatever tools are available to them to kill--
CUOMO: Its most often guns.
DUFFY: I think what--
CUOMO: I know, it's most often guns and I'm a gun owner. It's not about being anti-gun. It's about being the pro-reasonable.
DUFFY: And I think you and I can agree to say let's work on mental health. Let's look at firearms and say how do we have red flag laws, how do we have appropriate background checks to make sure people like the shooter in El Paso and in Dayton can't get guns, and we can protect law-abiding citizens' right to bear arms.
And I think that's possible, but we can't go into partisan rhetoric. We can't go into our corner and say, its Donald Trump's fault. Well, it's the shooter on the baseball field and a Bernie Sanders supporter that that shot Steve Scalise.
I mean, that's the partisan hacksmanship that divides us. Let's come together and say what is the holistic approach? And if we do that I think both sides can see through the partisan cloud and actually come to a resolution that can stop these killings, because it has to end.
CUOMO: I think you should go small.
DUFFY: But guns are not the only answer.
CUOMO: I hear you Congressman, and I like your vibe. I liked the vibe. I'm not saying it's the only answer. I'm saying that they're common- sense things and the only outlying metric is the guns.
I'm saying when you see that guy having a 100 rounds of ammunition, they don't need that to hunt. We're not going to take that with us when we go to the range. You got rid of bump stocks. It seems like a small thing. But it could have made a difference. That's all I'm saying. Start small.
DUFFY: But you know what.
CUOMO: You guys don't deal with big things well.
DUFFY: But if you don't look - you can admit that, we've had guns this since our founding and we've had a semi-automatic weapons, since the 50s and these things weren't happening. What has changed in the last 20 years that has caused this problem in our country of mass killings, we have to look at that. Something's going on in our culture and that's a hard conversation.
[21:45:00] And it's - and I don't know what the answer is. But if we don't have that conversation, I think you're trying to deal with a symptom and we're not dealing with the root cause of why people are so angry. Young men are so angry in America they'll pick up a gun and they'll kill people.
We have to find the answer to that and it's not easy and it's beyond guns. It's got to be holistic. And if we just look at one thing, this one point. My constituents, they love their guns, they hate what happened in El Paso. They hate what happened in Dayton. Their hearts break. And they want us to find a holistic solution.
And if it's holistic, what you can do is, say we're not just going after guns, we're going after this epidemic and it's and it's going to be across the board, that's how you get people to buy in to that solution, instead of us going after one group--
CUOMO: I'm fine with that. I'm fine with that.
DUFFY: --you go after, the whole problem.
CUOMO: I'm fine with that, because I'm not left or right.
DUFFY: Great. Whatever we agree.
CUOMO: I'm about reasonable. I'm just saying that nothing's happening. So I encourage this conversation. You want to bring up stuff on the floor, you want me to front run it, I'm there. You get co-sponsors that are there on the other side, you'll get even more time.
I just believe that it's just past time. Our kids are growing up, Sean, we're putting them in a world where there's as good a chance that something bad happens to them as something good, and that's crazy in a country that's supposed to be all about the best the world has to offer.
But Congressman Sean Duffy, I appreciate you having conversation--
DUFFY: And it's unacceptable.
CUOMO: --conversation especially during a tough time.
DUFFY: Thank you, Chris, have a good night. CUOMO: Always. Be well. All right. So look this is going to happen.
Look, I believe you got to provoke these conversations, I just do. You got to bring people out of their silos. You have to look at the facts as where they are in this left-right thing.
I never thought I'd see politicians taking sides on which extremists belong to them, that they're upset at. "Well white nationalist, yes, I know, but you also have to look at the Antifa." Really? Put them all in one barrel of animals have the resources and the will to punish them when they do things like this, you have to worry about what side they're on.
So the President's coming tomorrow. What should he do, what shouldn't he do? I'm not in the advice business. But that just changed, because we need this to go well. My suggestions are next.
[21:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CUOMO: All right, let's try something tonight. You know, on the show we try not to be glib, and I certainly don't give advice, let alone to a President. But tomorrow matters too much, not to all try our best to move forward together.
So here are some suggestions from being on the ground here and understanding the situation. If you're going to come tomorrow Mr. President, you should apologize for this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapists--
Many criminals in that Caravan.
Because you look at what's marching up, that's an invasion, that's not - that's an invasion.
They got a lot of rough people in those caravans. They are not angels. They are not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Now here's why, two reasons. one, DHS, CBP and even you now recognize that that was a false Brown Menace depiction. You know they're mostly kids and the people who are with them. You know what that it wasn't some you know demon horde coming here. It wasn't an invasion.
And two, they heard you, and it hurt, and they knew you were demonizing them as a demagogue. Now the good news is. There's a chance for healing for two reasons also. One, you crack the door open to the possibility of change when you said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: In one voice our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Now here's the second reason that I can explain to you maybe better than anybody else in my position. These people here are very similar to the people where you and I grew up in Queens. They are ethnics who are long on pride and feel very, very deeply.
I've never had people in a victimized community the way it happened here, be so intent on reaching out and being hospitable and literally putting their arms around you. You remember in our neighborhood when people used to paint rocks and put religious just icons on them and messages around the holidays?
Look what one of the women here gave me. She saw me on TV she thought that we could use some help. That this was heavy and she knew people who were lost at Walmart she painted Our Lady of Guadalupe, The Mother of Mercy on a rock and she came here and gave it to me.
This is who these people are. But the same way, just like where we came up, Mr. President when they heard it doesn't just go away. Respect is everything. And they're savvy. Do not confuse a lack of formal education and sophistication for not being smart. They know what they've heard, they know how they feel and many believe you don't care about them.
And they keep telling me that just 19 hours after you made that call to come together and speak as one, you went back to petty protection for yourself - useless tweets about your feelings - your feelings, when you need to be about their feelings.
Do not call yourself least racist. Say that you will go after racists and make white nationalists and any extremist from any group, anywhere on this spectrum who uses violence for their agenda that they are terrorists and you'll treat them like that.
Now your neighbors are already given cover to these white bigots, by saying the left is just as bad. You know this isn't a both side situation. There's no advantage to you and given cover to this guy who did this.
Any group that motivates a political agenda through violence commits terrorism. But don't forget to call out this white bigot who did this, because that's what happened in this community, and they need to hear that you reject him specifically, just as you have talked about them specifically, and everyone else who feels your wrath.
Talk about them as you do Muslim terrorists, don't be that ugly, but be that specific, because they're the same animal. Don't be prompter President, be the rallied President.
And the last thing is, call on the people who are waiting on you in Congress to do your bidding and hold a vote on background checks and reasonable change. You can do it and this country needs you to.
We're going to take a break. When we come back we'll bring in D. Lemon and we'll talk about what the future holds.
But remember this.
[21:55:00] These are these people and this is who we have to remember with the President tomorrow.
CUOMO: All right. Quick notice. Tomorrow we're going to use our time for a special reason. We're going to have a national conversation about what we can do to make things better. A "Cuomo Prime Time" Town Hall, "America Under Assault: The Gun Crisis".
We're going to have a range of opinions, because one side being heard is not enough. We have to figure out how to work together. So it will be our regular time 9:00 Eastern. We're going to have survivors and we're going to have policy makers and leaders in all different areas to try to make a change. Because, let's be honest, it's been too long already.
Let's bring in D. Lemon. They love you here in El Paso, D. Lemon. I want you to know that. It's one of the bright spot in being here other than love of community is the love they have for you, which I take as an obvious manifestation of them being stressed.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR, CNN TONIGHT WITH DON LEMON: You want to tell everybody what the--