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AT THIS HOUR
Trump Arrives in Dayton After Mass Shooting Amid Protests; Trump's Next Stop Is El Paso Where Protesters Say He's Not Welcome; State Sen. Jose Rodriquez (D-TX) Discusses Trump's Visit to El Paso After Mass Shooting, Gun Reform; Dayton City Commissioner Jeffrey Mims (D) Discusses Trump's Visit to Dayton after Mass Shooting, Divisions over Gun Control. Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired August 7, 2019 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:00] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Kate Bolduan.
And all eyes are once again on Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, as families are now beginning to plan 31 funerals for the lives that were lost in those horrific mass shootings over the weekend.
Today, as you see on your screen, President Trump is on the ground, just landing in Dayton, Ohio. But he's going to be in both of these grief-stricken communities today. The White House saying that he's there to grieve with families, thank first responders. But he's also being met by protest, resistance to his visits.
President Trump is just now arriving in Dayton, Ohio. We will be following his movements throughout the morning.
And that is where my colleague, Jim Sciutto, is. He'll be joining us throughout the next two hours for all of this.
Jim, thank you so much for being there.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR & CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, listen, it's good to be here.
I'll tell you, what you feel in this community is pain and frustration. And it can be forgotten.
But a few yards behind me, that's a crime scene. Three days ago, nine people lost their live there. Those wounds still bitter and raw in this community.
What will the president do and say? He's going to meet with first responders. He'll meet with victims' families. The grief and the praying, it is fresh.
Many local residents, as a result, are telling CNN they're not ready yet to host the president. It's only been three days since that gunfire erupted on this street in a popular area of downtown. Nine people dead, dozens of others wounded. All of this happening in under 30 seconds.
People here, people across the country, they're grappling now with what's going to be different in this time. How do you prevent the next shooting so that you and I aren't victims next time?
CNN White House correspondent, Kaitlan Collins, joins me live here in Dayton.
Kaitlan, the president's coming to a difficult moment here, a divided moment in this country. He said a lot this morning as he was leaving the White House. How is he going to handle this?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's going to be something he has to grapple with while he's here.
SCIUTTO: I don't mean to interrupt. What are folks behind us saying? They're saying, "Do something." That's what Governor Mike DeWine heard yesterday when he was trying to speak. That's the emotion here.
But please go ahead. How will the president handle that?
COLLINS: Yes, you see some of the signs critical of the president: "Dump Trump," "flip the Senate," talking about the politics in Washington that's come under such scrutiny in the wake of these mass shootings.
The president is going to be following the typical role of a commander-in-chief. It, sadly, has been their job too many times after a mass shooting, meeting with law enforcement, meeting with families of victims, some of the victims themselves.
But also, the president is going to be facing the resistance he's seen from local officials, including the mayor, who have said the president's comments on the mass shootings have fallen short of what they expected from him.
The president was asked about these criticisms leaving the White House today. He brushed them off as being pure politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've been getting hit left and right from everybody, many of the people I don't know. A couple of people from Texas, political people from Texas that aren't doing very well.
I guess somebody said the mayor -- I had one very nice conversation with the mayor of Dayton. Could not have been nicer. Then she goes and says I tried to call her. Well, I spoke to her and I didn't receive any call.
So they're trying to make political points. I don't think it works because, you know, I would like to stay out of the political fray.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: So he says it's just all politics.
Another question about, what is just all politics, is whether or not the president is going to stand by the support we saw for him for background checks there as he was leaving the White House. He said that's something he feels there's a growing political appetite in Washington for that.
The question is, we've seen him before, after shootings, like Parkland, where he's backed off. And we just found out that top White House officials have been in conversations with members from the NRA leadership in recent days.
SCIUTTO: What is the NRA telling them?
Just a moment. I don't mean to interrupt. I want to explain what's going on behind us here, as the president walks down the steps of Air Force One.
The president arriving here in Dayton, Ohio. You've been hearing behind us what you might describe as a microcosm of the division in this community, perhaps the division in this country right now. You have Trump supporters here waving a Trump flag as protesters demand action.
This is the president there being greeted by local officials. I believe that's the governor, Mike DeWine, on the right, greeting the president and the first lady.
As he lands in a community that is divided over the president's visit here, they're concerned his rhetoric has added not just to the division but to the violence. The manifesto from the El Paso shooter cited language the president himself has used before, describing immigrants as invaders. That is a reason why, in El Paso and here in Dayton, you've heard opposition to the president's visit.
[11:05:11] What will the president say to heal those wounds, to attempt to heal those wounds? He's the president up to this moment. We've heard skepticism. And we're certainly seeing the division here on the streets of Dayton, as the president arrives.
Kaitlan, the president being greeted now by local politicians here. Certainly, we saw the Republican governor. There's Senator Rob Portman, Republican. Portman is one of those Senators who's come out in support of action on gun control.
What are the president's plans as he's on the ground here?
COLLINS: So far, the White House has actually been pretty tightlipped ant what the president is going to be doing. The question is whether or not he's going to come here behind us, where the scene of this shooting happened. That happened in Pittsburgh after that synagogue shooting, the White
House did not initially disclose the president was going to go there. Then he did. He didn't go all the way inside the synagogue because it was still the scene of a crime. The question is whether or not he's come he'll come here.
Right now, we're already seeing people protesting the president, people supporting the president. Those people coming face to face with each other, disagreeing right behind us on the very street where this happened. That's essentially what the president is going to be dealing with.
Something that's pretty unusual to see, such a protest of a president when he comes somewhere in a time of tragedy, coming to, what the White House says, to comfort the city, to offer words that they hope can help heal the wounds that you're seeing this city face in the wake of such devastation.
But of course, this is something Trump has had to grapple with throughout his presidency, dealing with people who do not want him in their city.
We saw it in Parkland after the massacre at that high school where a gunman opened fire. Some of the students said they did not think the president should come.
We saw it again in Pittsburgh when the mayor of that city did not meet with the president, something pretty unusual during that visit. He said it just wasn't the right time for the president to come.
Now, you see the mayor of Dayton there greeting the president, off the screen to the right, Nan Whaley. She said she doesn't believe the president has struck the right tone in the wake of the shooting, but she's still going to meet with him.
The president has said he's going to meet with law enforcement, victims' families, first responders. But what else he's going to do beyond going to a hospital, potentially, is still a question.
SCIUTTO: It's not unlike what the Republican mayor, I should note, of El Paso, said about the president's visit. He had expressed misgivings previously regarding the president's comments on immigrants. In this context, he said, despite those misgivings, this is the president, I will meet with him, but not exactly a riveting endorsement of the president's visit.
I think this is a challenge local politicians face. Many of their constituents -- and I'll tell you right now, Kaitlan, as we stand here, we're seeing some of that skepticism being expressed by constituents and some anger even erupting here in front of the scene of this crime. People opposed to seeing the president here in Dayton today.
But on the other side, you have folks shouting at them, waving Trump flags, welcoming the president here at this time. It's not a friendly interaction. Again, as I said earlier, something of a microcosm of the division
we're seeing in these communities in the wake of this.
COLLINS: And Dee Margo, the mayor of El Paso, said, yes, he's president, I'm going to meet with him, but he noted he'd received a slew of angry phone calls and emails from his constituents, people who did not think it was right for the president to come.
Of course, White House officials are pushing back on that, saying if the president didn't go visit El Paso and he didn't come here to Dayton today, he would still be facing criticism. But it is just remarkable that we see the president face such criticism when he goes somewhere.
So you see him there waving to people. People at the airport, local officials greeting him, state officials greeting him.
The question is going to be whether or not he comes over here where people are angry. They're upset.
Some of the president's supporters are also here, of course, waving the flags.
But if the president comes over here, he's going to come face to face with the very people we've been talking about, people who do not want him in their city right now.
SCIUTTO: The president and first lady now in the presidential limousine, heading to downtown Dayton.
Our correspondent, Jason Carroll, is with a growing crowd.
Jason, as the president landed there, we've seen it right behind us, Trump supporters face to face with people in this community who have been shouting, "Do something." That's a repeated chant. The Republican governor of Ohio faced that same chant just yesterday.
Jason, tell us what you're hearing from local residents in the midst of this.
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Not only do you hear some of these protesters shouting, "Do something," but you've also -- we've also heard from some people driving by in their truck shouting, "God bless Trump." So it really speaks to the split that you see here in this community. Really, across the country.
[11:10:10] As we were out here, Jim, speaking to people across Dayton, we really got a sense from a lot of people who had a lot of misgivings about the president coming out here to speak.
The misgivings were for several reasons. First of all, some of those we spoke to say, look, we've heard the president after these national tragedies say some of the right things and then shortly thereafter go back to the very same type of rhetoric that they see as being so divisive. The fear is that's exactly what they say is going to happen here again in Dayton. I want you to listen to just some of the people that we spoke to, some
of the reasons why they say the president should not be here on this day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that it is important for him to show that he cares, even if it's just for political gain or notoriety that he came to a place a day late and a dollar short, sort of, kind of.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm not a fan of his.
CARROLL: Not a fan?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a hard time. There's, what, 23 shootings already this year.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Too much hate in the world. Too much hate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARROLL: I want to talk very quickly about Dayton's mayor, Nan Whaley. She was out there in the receiving line. She is expected to meet with the president later this afternoon. She's been very critical of the president, critical of his policies, critical of his response.
We spoke to her yesterday, Jim, and got a real sense of where her head is at, at this point. She says she actually had a conversation with the president. She said the two of them talked about where state lawmakers are on the issue of gun control.
She says she's really going to have a frank conversation with him, saying that she feels as though his rhetoric has not been helpful in the past. That's one of the things she says she will talk to him about when she talks to him face to face a little later this afternoon.
We're going to be speaking with her shortly after she speaks to the president to get a sense of if her opinion of the president has changed and where she thinks the country is going to be going forward after this -- Jim?
SCIUTTO: Jason Carroll, thanks so much.
Just for our viewers' sake, I want to explain what's been happening behind us. Keep in mind, this is a crime scene. Just three days ago, nine people lost their lives on the pavement right behind me outside the club.
In the last several minutes, we've seen a number of protesters come out here with signs opposing the president's visit here as he lands in Dayton, Ohio: "Pitch Mitch," "flip the Senate," "Dayton loves happy people," "dump Trump." "Do something" has been a consistent chant, an expression of the frustration here. They want something done to prevent the next gun attack.
As that was happening, we saw a small handful of Trump supporters waving flags here.
Sadly, a bit of a symbol of the tone of the conversation between the two sides. A lot of shouting, even a couple threats exchanged.
I will tell you that, by and large, in this community and in El Paso, the conversation I've heard is a very calm one. People saying we want to see what can happen next to prevent this.
That is the nature of the conversation, Kate, as I've been in both of these communities here. You are seeing the passion. That's something the president is going to face when he's here.
The question, Kate, is, how does he respond to that passion. Does he act as healer? Does he try to capitalize on it politically? It's one more test for this president -- Kate?
BOLDUAN: We've already seen how he's answering to at least the criticism as he was leaving the White House today, saying that he believes that his rhetoric is actually bringing people together. But when he's on the ground, when he's meeting with these families and first responders, whomever he's going to be meeting with, we'll see exactly what he has to say.
Jim, thank you so much for being there.
We're going to get back to the ground in Dayton in a few minutes. We're going to be following what the president is going to be doing as he's visiting Dayton, before he heads to El Paso.
Coming up for us, you can see just in the video, just behind Jim, you can see the anger and the passion spilling over in Dayton. Some officials there saying sadness is turning to anger now over the lack of real solutions to these attacks, preventing them from happening again. One of those officials will be joining us next.
Plus, also ahead, a shocking and bold lie at the worst possible time as the country is grieving and searching for answers and truth and fact. FOX News host claims that white supremacy is a hoax. The facts clearly say otherwise. It should be called out. It must be called out. And it will be.
[11:14:37] Stay with us.
BOLDUAN: Welcome back, everybody.
President Trump has touched down. He's in Dayton, Ohio. He'll be meeting with folks on the ground there. We saw those pictures from the airport.
We're seeing a very different scene in downtown Dayton, where we've been seeing protests turning out to the site of the tragic attack that played out over the weekend in Ohio. Protesters demanding action, protesters against the president. Also, protesters in support of President Trump.
You can just see the anger and the passion flaring up there today as the president lands in Dayton, Ohio. We're going to be keeping an eye on this, as well as where the president may be going.
[11:20:08] But when President Trump wraps up in Dayton, he will then head to El Paso. The White House says, there, he's going to be meeting with victims' families and first responders.
But there are also a number of people in that community who have made it very clear that the president, in their view, is not welcome as the city is grieving the 22 people killed by a man police say was motivated by hate, whose online screed posted minutes before the attack talked of an immigrant invasion of Texas. "Invasion" being a word President Trump has used over and over again when referring to immigration to the southern border.
When faced with this criticism this morning, when the president was leaving the White House, here's what the president had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: They're trying to make political points. I don't think it works because, you know, I would like to stay out of the political fray.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Joining me right now, Democratic Texas State Senator Jose Rodriguez, whose district includes El Paso.
Senator, thank you for being here.
STATE SEN. JOSE RODRIGUEZ (D-TX): Thank you for inviting me.
BOLDUAN: I appreciate it.
You've had mixed feelings, is the best way to describe it, about the president visiting El Paso today. What are you expecting to happen?
RODRIGUEZ: Well, I think what's happening in Dayton is going to be repeated here in El Paso, especially here in El Paso. Because, as you all know, the president has been here before. And when he was here not too long ago, he maligned El Paso as being an unsafe city, contrary to the facts. He insulted our mayor. And he has since continued spewing his hateful rhetoric against immigrants.
You just said he's used the words "invasion" of immigrants consistently. He and others, including some people here in this state, have used those same terms. So, yes, plenty of people are upset here in El Paso and don't feel that he should come here.
He says -- you just mentioned a while ago that he doesn't want this to be political but it is political. There's no question about that. BOLDUAN: Senator, as you mentioned, the last time he was in El Paso was in February for a rally.
I want to remind folks what the president had to say, one of the things that he had to say the last time he was there. Let me play this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: In the last two years alone, ICE officers have made 200 -- listen to these numbers -- 266,000 arrests of criminal aliens, including those charged or convicted of approximately 100,000 assaults, 40,000, 40, 40,000 larcenies, 30,000 sex crimes, 25,000 burglaries, 12,000 vehicle thefts, 11,000 robberies, 4,000 kidnappings, and 4,000 murders. Murders, murders, murders, killings, murders.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Senator, I don't need to remind you, but that's just a reminder for our viewers how the president talks about the Latino community, the immigration community when he is in El Paso.
You want to hear him apologize to El Paso and the Latino community in general. Do you think there is any possibility, seriously, that that's going to happen?
RODRIGUEZ: No, I don't think it's going to happen. I don't think this president is capable of apologizing to anybody.
As we have seen, he's maligned Latinos. He's maligned African- Americans, congresspersons just recently. And he's just, on this campaign, used this kind of rhetoric against minorities, people of color, women, LGBTQ members, federal judges. I mean, this is a man who has no respect for the dignity of human beings.
So we can't expect him, in these short trips to Dayton or El Paso to, all of a sudden, come across a sincerely, genuinely concerned about what's happened in this community, El Paso especially, the border community especially. He maligns Mexico.
This man absolutely has no credibility with us in El Paso. And unfortunately, we have to contend with his presence. But we will get through it.
We're all working towards trying to get some resources for the victims and their families. I am, the rest of the El Paso, the state delegation is meeting with some state leadership in about an hour and a half so we can talk about concrete proposals, ideas for providing assistance to El Paso and beyond, on the long term, any possibilities of gun reform, any possibilities of what can be done to curtail the rising white supremacy in this country, the hate crimes. We need to find some quick solutions. We can't let another incident
happen before we take action that cane yield some results. We can't talk about this anymore. I think people are fed up with it.
[11:25:17] BOLDUAN: Senator, with all of that in mind, if you do have the opportunity to meet with, speak with the president when he's in El Paso today, what are you going to say to him? Do you want to meet with him?
RODRIGUEZ: I've not been invited, and I doubt he wants to meet with me.
I, like a lot of others, have been critics of his, because we feel strongly that we need to speak up any time he issues some of his falsehoods, anytime he misrepresents the facts.
Believe me, he does that plenty with regard to border issues. Those numbers that were being raised here in El Paso that you quoted earlier, El Paso is the safest city in the country for its size based on FBI statistics. We've said that over and over and over again.
It's a welcoming community. We work closely with our neighbors in Juarez and Chihuahua in Mexico. We don't have the same mindset that he has towards immigrants, the border and Mexico. On the contrary.
So, no, I don't expect him to apologize, although a lot of people are calling for him to do so. I've said it myself. But I really, realistically, don't expect it to happen. He's just not that kind of man.
BOLDUAN: Jose Rodriguez, thank you so much for being here. We'll be following the president's travels today. But we will not be losing sight, even when the president departs, of what's happening in El Paso and keeping to the facts about what El Paso is really about.
Thank you, sir.
RODRIGUEZ: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: Let me get back over to Dayton. Jim Sciutto is there, where the president is currently -- Jim?
SCIUTTO: Thanks so much, Kate.
I want to speak now to our next guest. He's Jeffrey Mims. He's Dayton's city commissioner.
Mr. Mims, thanks so much for taking the time.
JEFFREY MIMS, (D), DAYTON CITY COMMISSIONER: My pleasure. Thank you, guys, for your time.
SCIUTTO: The president is on the ground now in Dayton, a community that still has raw wounds from the crime that just took place behind us here.
SCIUTTO: What's your reaction to the president's visit?
MIMS: I look at the president's history. He seems to be a master of diversion and divisiveness and misinformation. I'm not sure what good can come out of his being here.
Just a few moments ago, you saw that I was personally involved with one of my police officers, trying to divide some groups to keep down some of the rhetoric and the potential harm.
SCIUTTO: We heard the emotion here.
SCIUTTO: Something of a microcosm of folks here calling for action, "Do something," that chant.
SCIUTTO: You have some Trump supporters here. They were going head to head.
MIMS: Yes. Right.
SCIUTTO: Did you sense that deep division in this community here over the president's visit and over gun control?
MIMS: Yes, both of those. We have more than 90 percent of the people in the nation who want to have some responsible gun control legislation. I mentioned to some people before, as a Vietnam vet, I know the damage those weapons can cause. They're not supposed to be in our communities. No way, shape or form.
SCIUTTO: E.R. doctors say that when they see the wounds from this kind of high-powered ammunition.
MIMS: Yes, no way, shape or form.
So these potential situations, you never know what kind of night some individuals have had, how much they've been listening to certain other leaders around this nation who are also divisive in terms of their communication and their lack of action as far as protecting the people of this nation. It's very disheartening to see these kinds of things continue.
SCUITTO: You said a couple days ago, in the wake of this shooting here, that the emotion in this community is turning from sadness to anger.
SCUITTO: Explain why that is.
MIMS: Anger because, again, the laws have not been changed sufficiently to protect people.
I think we have some legislators, especially right now our president -- and I don't mean just to be bashing higher ups -- but this is the 250th shooting in the community where multiple people have been killed by individuals who are sometimes having their own set of personal challenges and have accessibility to weapons of this nature. They've chosen to take the lives of other individuals, even at the expense of sometimes losing their own lives. So, yes, we're angry at that.
I'm angry also at the fact that, being here on Sunday morning, seeing at least two or three families being told of the demise of their loved one, and I'm thinking about the pain of what I saw there and the pain of the loss of productivity in their families, those individuals who have lost mothers, sons, daughters, friends, colleagues.
Again, I don't think we think enough about how much productivity we lose in our communities when we have skilled, intelligent people who are innocently killed.
SCUITTO: You lose a lot of support. You lose a lot of love.
You've been around a while in this town.
[11:30:01] SCIUTTO: Do you sense, as you hear a small handful of Republican voices, for instance, the congressman, who represents this district, Mike Turner, whose daughter was across the street when the shooting happened --