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Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) on Deadly Mass Shootings and Trump's Visit; China Responds to Trade War Escalation; Realty Check on History of Gun Control. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired August 6, 2019 - 06:30   ET



[06:32:11] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, so now we have a little bit of a different perspective on the issues we're dealing with here in El Paso and Dayton.

Montana governor, 2020 presidential candidate, Steve Bullock had a surprising revelation during last week's debate. Bullock told that his 11-year-old nephew, Jeremy, was lost to gun violence. He called gun control a public health issue, not a political issue.

Alisyn Camerota went to Montana to discuss this and many other issues with the governor.

Here's a preview.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: You had an 11-year-old nephew who was killed in a school shooting?

GOV. STEVE BULLOCK (D-MT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes, in 1994. So I'm literally in my last law school class, it was April 12th. I got pulled out and learned that -- I had two identical twin nephews, Jeremy and Josh -- and that morning in Butte, Montana, a 10-year-old had brought a gun to school. He had been bullied. He had been, you know, ostracized in part because of his parents. And he brought a gun and the kids were lined up to get into class that morning and he pulled out his gun and unintendedly (ph) ended up shooting Jeremy.

At the time, it was the youngest schoolyard shooting in our country's history. Now if a 10-year-old shot and killed an 11-year-old, it probably wouldn't even make national news.

CAMEROTA: You don't talk about this that much.

BULLOCK: T\he times that I've talked much about it, I said that there were two victims that day, Jeremy, my nephew, but also this 10-year- old when he was asked -- he said, no one loaves me, so it's changed the way I think about how every child ought to have an opportunity so that they don't grow up to that point at 10 or in their 20s and feel ostracized and left out. It's changed how I think about public safety. CAMEROTA: I mean there have been three mass shootings in the space of

a week. All of us, as Americans, are shocked when a week like this happens. But for your family, how does your family process a week like this?

BULLOCK: I would never want to say I understand what any family's going through, because every family deals with it in different ways. The trauma isn't just for families. The trauma is for communities.

Some people say thoughts and prayers. And then we seem to just want to move on to the next one. If we don't keep trying to make sure that some day there won't be a family that deals with either what our family dealt with or that a family in Ohio or a family in El Paso has dealt with, well, then, we're not just failing today. We're failing tomorrow.


[06:35:17] CUOMO: And one of the biggest struggles for this country is we keep hearing stories like this. And, really, there is no shock anymore. And it's almost this kind of, you know, sad expectation that these will just keep happening.

Obviously the governor's got deep perspective on this. Alisyn's full interview will be on NEW DAY tomorrow.

So, every one of these events gets politicized and this president has gotten plenty of criticism after this event, as he has other ones. But Congressman Tim Ryan, what does he think about whether or not this president should visit Dayton? We're going to ask him, next.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: We now know this morning, because the White House tells us so, that President Trump will visit El Paso and Dayton this week in the wake of the deadly shootings there over the weekend. How will his visit be received there?

[06:40:03] Democratic presidential candidate, Congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio, has stepped off the campaign trail to go back to his home state. He is in Dayton, and joins us this morning.

Congressman Ryan, how do you feel about the president visiting Dayton later this week?

REP. TIM RYAN (D-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, I'm not from Dayton, so I don't want to really get into that territory. I know how I would feel if he was trying to come to my hometown after this. I think he's a polarizing figure. I think especially in El Paso, that would -- at would not be a welcome visit given the environment that he's created over the past three, four years of creating an environment that is looking down on immigrants, you know, inciting people like this kid who drove ten hours to go do this mass shooting at the Walmart. He would not be welcome in my hometown. I just think he's a polarizing figure at this point, and these communities really need to heal. BERMAN: So then is there anything he could do? You just think he

should stay in the White House? What would you like to see from him?

RYAN: Well, he's not taking my advice, I'm sure, but, you know, he's got to ratchet down the rhetoric, he's got to move away from dividing the country. He finds a million different ways to divide us, who's black, who's white, who's brown, who's gay, who's straight, who's a man, who's a woman. I mean he just completely divides the country. He's the divider in chief. And he's got to get beyond that.

And you see what happens here, these communities need a leader who's going to help the communities heal. And I hope he would tone down the rhetoric, pass some of this legislation, like the background check and the other things that are sitting at Mitch McConnell's doorstep. Get McConnell back there and pass this legislation and show some good faith.

BERMAN: So, along those lines, the president said yesterday, and I'm asking you this, because I know how seriously you take the issue of mental health. From people I know that you know, I know how seriously you take it. From your proposals on the campaign trail, you want to put mental health experts in every school in the country.

RYAN: Yes.

BERMAN: The president said yesterday that mental illness pulled the trigger. How do you feel about that?

RYAN: Look, if the president was so concerned with mental illness, he would not have lawsuits trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act for 20 million people in the United States when they are having -- when they have access to mental health treatment. That's why I'm saying, it is so disingenuous for him to step up to that podium yesterday and talk about mental illness like he cares because he has a lawsuit now to repeal coverage for 20 million people who need it.

So don't give me this bologna that all of a sudden you're for mental health coverage and you're for treating mental health in the United States, I don't believe you, Donald Trump. I don't believe you. And every act as president, both of the bills that you were proposing from the House and the Senate on repealing health care, would get rid of mental health treatment for people in the United States. So don't give me this bologna that somehow you're -- you, all of a sudden, you're the biggest advocate in the United States for mental health treatment. It doesn't carry a lick of water.

And, yes, I want a mental health counselor in every school. I want social and emotional learning in every school. I want art therapists, music therapist, play therapists, because there's so much trauma happening to our kids in the United States and -- especially in K through 12. And here we are, you know, dealing with these issues every single day, and really the political discussion hasn't lived up to how we deal with our kids in K through 12 and dealing with mental health is a big, big issue for me and I'm going to continue to promote it. Now, I don't want to hear any of this nonsense about the president all of a sudden caring. BERMAN: Congressman, I don't know if you had a chance to read "The New

York Times" this morning, but they have a new story out which highlights that the president's campaign has posted some 2,000 FaceBook ads since January that use the word "invasion." We can put one of them up on the screen here. And you can't see it in the type here, but one of the things it says is, it is critical that we stop the invasion.

This has money behind it from the president's campaign. These are words being put out by the Trump campaign.

RYAN: Yes.

BERMAN: Now that you've -- I don't know if you've seen it before, but now that you've seen it, what do you think?

RYAN: Yes. Well, there's been a 25 percent increase in hate crimes against Hispanics and Latinos in 2016 to 2017. A 25 percent increase. And here you have the president of the United States, who's been campaigning on this issue, othering the people of color. And so, of course, his campaign has pushed this and put it out there and raised money off it. That's not a -- that's not a surprise. I mean a lot of us have been saying, like, look, he's dividing the country. He's creating an environment of intolerance. And he can't get away from that.

And I'm going to tell you, I'm not going to let him get away from that, and I think the American people aren't going to let him, you know, whitewash this thing, like all of a sudden he's the one to pull everybody together. He's not. He's created a toxic environment. And, there you have it, he's putting his own campaign money behind creating an environment of division in the United States, in a -- in blatant attacks against people of color.

[06:45:10] BERMAN: Congressman Ryan, we appreciate you being there on the ground in Dayton, Ohio. Thanks for being with us this morning.

RYAN: Thanks. If I could say, John, go to Dayton Foundation. There are -- that's -- you can raise -- we're trying to raise money for the families here. Go to the Dayton Foundation webpage and people can make donations to the victims' families. And we would appreciate anybody who could contribute a little bit to that fund.

BERMAN: All right, thanks, congressman, very much.

One other Democratic candidate from president who we had not heard from is now speaking out directly. Former Vice President Joe Biden spoke exclusively with Anderson Cooper. His emotional advice to those experiencing unthinkable loss in El Paso and Dayton. That's coming up.


BERMAN: Really important developments for the economy this morning. The markets, at this moment, trying to find their footing after the Chinese devalued their currency, which has escalated the trade war with the United States. To say the markets have been in turmoil, Christine Romans, over the last 24 hours is a huge understatement. This is a big deal.

[06:50:06] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It is. And trade wars aren't easy to win. And this one is going in the wrong direction. A flare up between the U.S. and China dragging down stock markets around the world. Monday, the Dow closed down 767 points. The worst day of the year. And the S&P 500 down nearly 3 percent, the Nasdaq down 3.5 percent.

So what happened here? Well, China retaliating against the latest round of Trump tariffs. China devalued the yuan for the first time in a decade. It was trying to take a bite out of U.S. tariffs and it risks starting what is known as a currency war.

In response, the Treasury Department officially labeling China a currency manipulator. And, this morning, China rejecting the U.S. listing, saying there's no such thing as currency manipulation, that they say their exchange rate is determined by market supply and demand.

China also announcing it's going to halt the purchase of U.S. ag products. The American Farm Bureau called that a body blow to American farmers who are already hard hit by the trade war. China was once the biggest market for soybean farmers, overseas market. Now soybeans are sitting in storage at record levels.

The president waking up this morning to a scathing opinion in "The Wall Street Journal," from its editorial board, warning that his trade war could become a currency war. Mr. Trump is punishing China, all right, he says, but sometimes -- the editorial board says, but sometimes everyone loses.


CUOMO: All right, thank you very much.

I want to show you something here. There's a storm cell passing by. So there's rain. But, look, the candles aren't going out here. And, obviously for this community, it's going to have a metaphorical value. You're going to have these hard things come by. The question is, what is your resolve in those moments. And the community has made an amazing stand here that is, of course, going to come to a head tomorrow if the president sees his visit through.

So, you're going to get these questions about what can be done? What legislation is actually made it through Congress that would make us safer? We're going to get a reality check, next.


[06:56:31] BERMAN: The House of Representatives has passed new bills on background checks. Republicans in the Senate have new plans dealing with red flag laws to keep guns out of the hands of people who perhaps shouldn't have them. There are proposals out there. Do they have any chance of passing? What does history tell us about what can and has been accomplished?

John Avlon here this morning with a "Reality Check."



Look, President Trump had a bold proposal to address gun violence in the wake of two mass shootings, and then he started talking. In the White House speech yesterday, there was the usual refrain, crazy people do crazy things. Video games and the Internet are to blame. But it was a speech that avoided almost any proposals regarding, you know, guns. But before it, President Trump had tweeted support for the passage of background checks.

Now, we've seen this movie before. Remember this after Parkland.



I like taking the guns early.

You can't buy a handgun at 18, 19, or 20, you have to wait until you're 21, but you can buy the gun, the weapon used in this horrible shooting at 18.

You're afraid of the NRA, right?

They have great power over you people. They have less power over me.


AVLON: That commitment to tighter gun laws evaporated after the NRA got back to -- got him back in line.

And here's the real deal, though, reasonable restrictions on guns are consistent with the Second Amendment. Even Justice Scalia admitted that back in 2012. And while gun reform is a political lift, it's shown popularity and effectiveness in the past.

Back in the 1930s, after mobsters like Al Capone made the Tommy Gun, their tool of the trade, Congress banned machine guns and the NRA of old even helped pass it. Ronald Reagan squared off against the NRA and supported the Brady Bill, which imposed a five day waiting period for handguns.

But perhaps the biggest gun reform in recent decades was Bill Clinton's ban on assault rifles. The bill was written to expire in 10 years, and in 2004 it did just that, despite the fact that two-thirds of Americans supported it. Now, critics said the assault weapons ban didn't stop all mass shootings. Columbine occurred while it was in effect.

And there are complicated reasons behind such attacks. But it's worth noting that the five deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history occurred after the assault weapon ban expired. In fact, out of 40 deadliest shootings in the past seven decades, 12 occurred before the assault weapons ban, and 26 in the 15 years since, but only two during the decade it was in place.

In more recent years, more than 90 percent of all Americans say they support universal background checks, including 89 percent of Republicans, yet it's considered DOA because after Sandy Hook a bipartisan bill lost, 54-46. Couldn't clear the 60 vote threshold it needed to break a Mitch McConnell led filibuster.

Now, we hear the same old talking points, thoughts and prayers, guns don't kill people, people kill people or, as President Trump put it --


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


AVLON: Here's the thing, as comedian Eddie Izard (ph) once remarked, guns don't kill people, people kill people, but the gun helps. For example, the weapon used in Dayton helped kill nine people in 30 seconds.

Some people say this time is different after all the NRA is weakened by financial mismanagement. Trump's personal instinct seems to be in favor of background checks and he effectively banned bump stocks after the Vegas shooting. The House has already passed background checks and is languishing in the Senate because of Mitch McConnell. Men who once said of killing legislation --


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Think of me as the grim reaper.


AVLON: Maybe it's time to take him at his word.

And that's your "Reality Check."

BERMAN: John, thanks so much.

You know, I will be speaking to one Republican who makes me think there might be room for movement on background checks soon. That will be very interesting, so stick around for that.

[07:00:03] Also, CNN has sat down with former Vice President Joe Biden. The exclusive interview as NEW DAY continues.