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EARLY START

President Trump To Visit El Paso And Dayton Following Mass Shootings; Trump Condemns Racism And White Supremacy; China Responds To Trade War Escalation. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired August 6, 2019 - 05:30   ET

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


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[05:31:22] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR DEE MARGO (R), EL PASO, TEXAS: The president is coming out and I will meet with the president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump plans to visit El Paso and Dayton tomorrow but not everyone welcomes him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: The president focuses on mental illness instead of gun safety.

ROMANS: Just gut-punched America's Midwest, hitting farmers right where it hurts.

Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. I'm Christine Romans in New York.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell in El Paso. It's half past the hour.

President Trump is planning to visit both El Paso and Dayton, Ohio within the next few days and the White House says he'll express condolences and offer federal help in the wake of two mass shootings over the weekend.

Here in El Paso, the death toll has now climbed to 22, with at least two dozen injured.

Now, some people here are not in a welcoming mood. The El Paso County Democratic Party sent an open letter urging the president to cancel the visit, so as -- so to, as they put it, allow their community to continue to grieve and heal in peace.

Democratic candidate and El Paso native Beto O'Rourke put it even more bluntly. This is what he tweeted.

"This president, who helped create the hatred that made Saturday's tragedy possible, should not come to El Paso. We do not need more division. We need to heal. He has no place here."

El Paso Mayor Dee Margo has often disagreed with the president, especially on the proposed border wall, but he said that will not stop him from meeting with the president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARGO: He's coming out here on Wednesday. And I want to clarify for the political spin that this is the office of the mayor of El Paso, in an official capacity, welcoming the office of the President of the United States, which I consider as my formal duty.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: CNN's Rosa Flores joins us now with more on how this city is coping.

Now, you have been here for days speaking with people not only at the memorial -- and there are people here now at this hour -- but also across the city. How do they feel and how do they feel about the president's visit?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, emotions are really raw right now here in El Paso, Victor.

I was just at the memorial, like you said, and there's been so many people stopping by to drop off candles that you walk by that memorial and you can smell the scent of those candles.

Now, as you said, I've talked to people all around this city asking them about this and, of course, they're in pain.

They are trying to reconcile the president's words -- the words that he has used to describe immigrants -- very painful words for people here in El Paso because in a city like this one that's a border city, people have family and friends on both sides of the border.

I talked to one woman this morning. Her name is Karla Cuburo (ph) and she says that for her, it's painful for the president to come here. She actually would rather the president not visit during this time.

Another individual that I talked to, Oscar Salazar -- he says that he hopes that the president stops by with positive words that perhaps can help this community heal. Let's listen to what he had to say.

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OSCAR SALAZAR, EL PASO RESIDENT: But hopefully, this is an awakening for everybody as a humanity. I'm just a little nervous about how the public is going to react to him coming back after saying so many negative things about Mexican people and stuff like that. It's kind of heartbreaking but that's the world that we live in today, so -- (END VIDEO CLIP)

[05:35:11] FLORES: Now, one of the things that really stands out to me about the memorial, Victor, is that there are two flags.

BLACKWELL: Yes.

FLORES: There's a Mexican flag and an American flag and they're sewn together. And that's what I keep on hearing from people in this community. That -- those flags are a symbol of what this community represents. They say even though somebody from the outside came into this community and tried to divide them because of hate, they're not going to be divided.

BLACKWELL: Yes, and says this will not define the city.

Rosa Flores, thank you so much.

And, President Trump is also planning to visit Dayton, as we mentioned. The city's mayor, Nan Whaley, says the two spoke by phone Sunday night. Whaley says she told the president he is welcome but she made it clear that she expects something to be done about gun violence.

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MAYOR NAN WHALEY (D), DAYTON, OHIO: I talked to him about 24 seconds that this gunman wreaked that much havoc with that kind of gun. And I said look -- I said, Mr. President, I'm from Southern Ohio. People have rifles, they have handguns. Like, we're -- we are not people -- like we're not East Coast of West Coast folks that say no guns at all. I said, but, like, I don't understand why anybody -- why any citizen would need that gun.

And he didn't disagree with me. Maybe he was just, you know, placating me a bit -- I don't know -- but I appreciated that he listened to me around that. And we'll continue to push because I don't want other cities to go through this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: CNN's Ryan Young has more on the investigation from Dayton -- Ryan.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Victor, a lot of work still to be done by the police department to try to figure out exactly what the motive was when it comes to this shooting.

But there's so many questions in this community for what exactly happened when you have people from the ages of 57 to 22 who were killed in this crime. People want to know exactly why the shooter came here, trained his gun on the club behind me, and opened fire.

What we do know is at least 41 rounds was fired from that weapon that he had. Police believe he had over 200 rounds of ammo within that clip and in the car. So there's still a lot of questions.

There is one man who is still alive who apparently accompanied the shooter and his sister, who he ended up killing, to the scene. He was shot. He's still in the hospital. That man may have more details for police to sort of unravel this investigation.

Twenty-four seconds is all it took for that shooter to kill nine people and wound dozens of others. And now, we're seeing all these surveillance images of the shooter as he moved through the street. There are 911 calls where people were calling for help.

But it was the police response -- those heroes who got into the scene within 30 seconds and were able to take the shooter out -- who saved so many lives.

Victor and Christine.

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BLACKWELL: President Trump condemning racism and white supremacy in a speech on Monday, but he did not acknowledge his own racist and divisive rhetoric. And he stopped short of endorsing a House bill that would expand background checks for gun violence.

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TRUMP: The shooter in El Paso posted a manifesto online consumed by racist hate. In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America.

We must recognize that the Internet has provided a dangerous avenue to radicalize disturbed minds and perform demented acts.

We must stop the glorification of violence in our society. This includes the gruesome and grizzly video games that are now commonplace.

We must reform our mental health laws to better identify mentally disturbed individuals who may commit acts of violence.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Let's bring in "CNN POLITICS" senior writer, Zach Wolf, live from Washington.

Zach, the president's scripted comments were so inconsistent with his unscripted comments that it's fair to question the relevancy.

He stood at that very podium in that same room -- the diplomatic reception room at the White House -- August 14th, 2017, and condemned white nationalists, neo-Nazis, KKK members as criminals and thugs after Charlottesville and the next day, called them very fine people.

So what's the value of a scripted speech like this from this president?

ZACHARY WOLF, DIGITAL DIRECTOR, CNN POLITICS: I mean, I think in this kind of moment immediately after these tragedies he's out there sort of staying on script. I think that's something most people probably can be thankful for.

But I don't think it's going to end up being some new Trump. This is not, you know, a new individual we're seeing before us. He's reading the speech but I think the next time he has the ability or the next time he has a political rally we're going to see the same old guy back up there.

[05:40:00] So, is he turning some corner in his life? I don't think so. But, thankfully, he is not fomenting frustration --

ROMANS: Right.

WOLF: -- amongst people right now in this very painful moment.

ROMANS: And, Zach, it's unclear if he's turning a corner on policy as well. I mean, he trotted out that old and frankly, debunked notion that video games are at the core of these things.

I mean, even conservative icon Antonin Scalia, Supreme Court just, he wrote a scathing -- a scathing Supreme Court decision a few years ago finding no correlation whatsoever between video games and violence.

It sort of shows maybe a lack of seriousness about trying to figure out what's going on here.

And the president, earlier in the day on Monday, had tweeted, "Republicans and Democrats must come together and get strong background checks, perhaps marrying the legislation with desperately needed immigration reform."

That didn't show up in the prepared remarks suggesting, as our reporting is showing, that there's resistance inside the White House between putting those two things together.

So what policy could come out of this presidential performance this week?

WOLF: I thought the lack of him mentioning background checks, given the -- when he had the opportunity to do it at the White House was really interesting. I think it's pretty clear that when he's sort of thinking to himself, he's like well, maybe we should do background checks. But then, when they write the speech for him and he goes up there and delivers it, it doesn't include that.

So I think that kind of suggests that we're not going to be seeing background checks --

ROMANS: Yes.

WOLF: -- anytime soon. Also, Republicans in the Senate have made very clear they don't want to pass the background check bill that has already passed the House. So it's already more of the same here in Washington with any sort of new gun legislation.

He was going out of his way to find things to blame -- video games, Internet culture -- you know, everything. He didn't want to blame himself and his own rhetoric.

And he also wanted to make sure not to bring in any sort of new gun measures. That was -- he danced around that very carefully in that speech.

BLACKWELL: Yes. The White House says the president will be visiting El Paso tomorrow.

We should remind people that it was just six months ago during the State of the Union address that the president maligned this city, saying it was one of the most dangerous in America before a barrier went up when, historically, El Paso is one of the safest cities in America.

Considering his language on breeding concepts of immigrants and that immigrants were bringing disease to the United States, how does the White House expect this president can come here and console after what happened here on Saturday?

WOLF: I mean, I think we all have to hope that he's able to stay on script, essentially, and be a consoler.

He did have that rally down there in El Paso. I can't remember it was before or after the State of the Union address, but he did go there before. So he's been there and had political rallies and sort of whipped up his base there.

But this is going to be a very different -- very different scene, I think, when he shows up.

ROMANS: We've heard from the former president, Barack Obama, as well. He's issued a statement about these racist sentiments in America and he says this.

"It is as the root of slavery and Jim Crow, the Holocaust, the genocide in Rwanda, and ethnic cleansing in the Balkans. It has no place in our politics and our public life. And it's time for the overwhelming majority of Americans of goodwill, of every race and faith and political party, to say as much -- clearly and unequivocally."

Barack Obama, also, I will point out, was president during numerous mass shootings as well.

What about the Democrats and Barack Obama, in particular? How are their voices being heard here in this debate?

WOLF: Well, and I think that's important to point out. He -- you know, there were multiple shootings during the Obama administration and during the Bush administration. These things -- you can't tie them directly to the political environment that Trump has created. He's certainly helped that -- those sentiments to flourish.

However, I think for Democrats, it will be interesting to see if this becomes a motivating issue for them in the coming election. Is gun violence going to be something that they really try to mobilize around and really try to break the hold that Republicans and gun activists --

ROMANS: Right.

WOLF: -- have in the Senate.

ROMANS: All right, Zach Wolf, senior writer, "CNN POLITICS". Nice to see you this morning.

WOLF: Thanks.

ROMANS: A programming note, everyone. Chris Cuomo will moderate a live town hall, "AMERICA UNDER ASSAULT: THE GUN CRISIS". That's tomorrow night at 9:00 right here on CNN.

All right. Now, the first big casualty of the U.S.-China trade war -- the American farmer. "CNN Business" is next.

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[05:48:40] ROMANS: Let's get a check on "CNN Business" this morning. A look at markets around the world trying to stabilize after a really awful day yesterday.

You can see the Asian markets all closed lower following that tone set in the U.S. European markets, though, are bouncing back here.

On Wall Street, escalation in the U.S.-China trade war caused a huge sell-off on Wall Street Monday. It looks it will try to take a little bit of that back this morning.

Look at that. The Dow closed down 767 points, the worst day of the year. The S&P 500 closed lower -- three percent lower -- also recording its worst day of the year. And the Nasdaq -- wow -- down 3 1/2 percent, the biggest decline since October.

Trade tension hitting tech stocks hard. Apple down five percent.

Chip stocks -- they have a big presence in China -- such as Intel, Qualcomm, Nvidia, Broadcom -- all of those suffered.

Some important perspective here, though. We always like to take the long view here. The Dow is still up more than 10 percent this year; the S&P, 13 1/2; Nasdaq, 16 -- even after that sell-off.

All right. Joining us now is CNN international correspondent Will Ripley, who frequently reports from China.

I mean, the president famously said a trade war is easy to win. This does not look easy and I don't really see the off-ramp here.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think there are a lot of people around the world who think that the United States and President Trump is doing the right thing by pushing back at China. But they also -- this tariff tactic is failing miserably right now.

ROMANS: When you look at American farmers, in particular, the Chinese government saying that they are not going to allow stated-owned enterprises, which is a big part of its economy --

[05:50:03] RIPLEY: Yes.

ROMANS: -- to buy ag products from the United States.

RIPLEY: It's huge.

ROMANS: It seems like that's also a political -- from the Chinese side, a savvy political move because that's going to hit American farmers who supported Trump.

RIPLEY: Right, and China can do this right now because they have the swine flu outbreak, so their hog herd is getting smaller very quickly, so there's less demand for soy.

The question is how long is this sustainable because Chinese pork is a staple of the diet.

ROMANS: Right.

RIPLEY: It's everywhere, every restaurant. It's such a popular item. And you can't -- you know, Brazil can't fill the void from U.S. soybeans indefinitely. But for now, they have flexibility to do this -- to suspend -- to play hardball.

ROMANS: Let's talk about the currency manipulation part of this thing because the U.S., for years, has resisted labeling China a currency manipulator.

What does it mean that they've done it now, and how have the Chinese responded?

RIPLEY: Well, because the yuan dropped to its lowest level in a decade, which obviously makes Chinese exports more competitive because they're less expensive. This has been a complaint of the United States, as you said, for years.

But by labeling them a currency manipulator, China no longer has to worry about being labeled that. It no longer has to worry about their image being tarnished.

ROMANS: Right.

RIPLEY: Therefore, they actually could lower it even further if they want to allow it to drop even further. They could manipulate it theoretically, even though China has just said within the last couple of hours that they don't manipulate their currency. It's all about market supply and demand.

ROMANS: So where are we in talks here? I mean, I know there's supposed to be another round of maybe lower-level talks scheduled for September, but what -- where are we in the negotiations?

RIPLEY: Lower-level talks have been very difficult.

And things, when they do go well between Xi and Trump, whether it be in Argentina or at their most recent -- at their most recent meeting in Japan, they come up with these -- with these agreements, for example, in Japan. President Trump said he secured large purchases of agricultural products -- soybeans. We now see what has happened.

And then, at the working level, there's not that warm, personal relationship that Xi and Trump claim to have, which hasn't really gotten them that far, frankly, in the negotiations.

And the two sides are just at odds because what the U.S. wants if for China to fundamentally restructure its economy. Beijing doesn't think like that.

ROMANS: Right.

RIPLEY: They're not going to do that. They're running down the clock because they think there could be two or maybe six more years left of the Trump administration.

ROMANS: It's interesting to me because for so many years, the assumption in the United States -- the working assumption was let China do it its own way and eventually, China will be more like the United States, right? Like, eventually, they're not going to be this big state-owned economy. But that's not the way the Chinese see it.

I mean, the U.S. is basically asking China for existential change to its business model and they don't want to do that.

RIPLEY: Right, because what China has been allowed to do is they've been given a lot of leeway to do it their way. And now --

ROMANS: Which includes stealing intellectual property and which --

RIPLEY: Absolutely.

ROMANS: -- includes a lot of things that are --

RIPLEY: Forced technology transfer. I mean, all of the restrictions that are in place. You can't even use an American credit card when you go --

ROMANS: Right.

RIPLEY: -- to Beijing.

The market is not open and that's been a longstanding complaint. And China's refusing, for the most part, to change that because it benefits them -- ROMANS: Right.

RIPLEY: -- to keep everybody self-contained.

ROMANS: It is such an interesting story and we're so glad to have you here today to talk about it. Thanks, Will. Nice to see you.

All right. A child takes a frightening plunge. The accident and rescue coming up.

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[05:57:24] ROMANS: All right, take a look at this security camera video from Southern China. A curious 3-year-old -- oh my goodness -- walks over, steps on a broken manhole cover and instantly disappears. His quick-thinking dad scrambles to reach him, finally lying flat, and hauls him out of the water.

Witnesses say the boy was terrified. He did keep his head above the dirty water and suffered only minor injuries to his feet.

All right. Khalid will be performing a benefit concert in his adopted hometown of El Paso. Khalid grew up in a military family that moved to El Paso when he was a teenager. He has been outspoken about his love for that city.

He tweeted, "Over the past few days, I've been thinking of ways to help out and support the city. I'm planning for a benefit concert later this month. All of the proceeds will go to the families affected by the shooting. Sending everyone my love and will keep you guys updated."

All right, thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans. More from El Paso as "NEW DAY" starts right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy.

BETO O'ROURKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He is responsible for the hatred and the violence that we're seeing. We cannot allow him to get off scot-free.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think I deserve to live.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because it's just not fair.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mitch McConnell won't let these bills come up for a vote and it's time for him to get it done.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If they can stop even one shooting from happening, we ought to do it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just grabbed onto my dad until somebody came and pulled me off.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So he died in your arms?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What did you say to him?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just kept saying, "I love you, get up."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Tuesday, August sixth. It's 6:00 here in New York.

Alisyn is off. My friend, Chris Cuomo, joins me live this morning from El Paso, Texas.

And we learned overnight that President Trump is preparing to visit El Paso and Dayton, Ohio this week -- two cities burying their dead after mass shootings. And, particularly in the case of El Paso, cities trying to move past divisions that the president has stoked for years.

The White House is not releasing the president's travel plans.

The mayor of El Paso says he will meet with President Trump tomorrow. But some in the city are asking the president to cancel the visit. They say the racist, divisive language that the president uses is having very real consequences, Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: I'll tell you, we had hundreds of people last night, J.B., coming up to us after the show expressing exactly those kinds of concerns -- no one louder than presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke.

He tweeted, "This president, who helped create the hatred that made Saturday's tragedy possible, should not come.

END