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CNN TONIGHT

Red Flags Raised By El Paso Shooter's Family; CNN Snubbed By Fox News; Tucker Carlson Under Fire; Democrats Upset Of Mitch McConnell's Inaction; Impact Of Trump's Racist Rhetoric On Hispanic- Americans; Sen. Jose Rodriguez (D-TX) Is Interviewed About The Impact Of President Trump's Racist Rhetoric On Hispanic-Americans; Can Democrats Win In Texas In 2020? Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired August 7, 2019 - 23:00   ET

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


[23:00:00] JOSHUA DUBOIS, CO-FOUNDER, VALUES PARTNERSHIPS: -- twenty some had funerals and wade her way through hundreds of family members who were impacted attacks on the senator from that state.

And what President Obama did, you know, he gave a public speech. But all the private moments were between him and those families. We weren't tweeting photos, you know, even I didn't share that passage until years later because I thought folks should know about the character of our president at that time and our former president now.

It's a character issue. You know, something has got to change in Donald Trump's heart. It's not a -- it's not a Republican thing or a Democratic thing, it's a matter of character. Is he going to censor himself or is he going to do the right thing and finally censor people who are going through tough times?

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Joshua Dubois, thank you so much.

DUBOIS: Thank you.

This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.

A CNN exclusive. The mother of the El Paso shooting suspect called the Allen, Texas Police Department weeks before the shooting because she was concerned about her son owning a weapon. That is according to the lawyer for the family.

She was told by police that her 21-year-old son was legally allowed to purchase the firearm. The mother did not provide her name or her son's name and police did not seek any additional information from her before the call concluded.

Police say the shooter is a white supremacist, but according to Tucker Carlson at Fox News, white supremacy is not a problem.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: But the whole thing is a lie. If you were to assemble a list, a hierarchy of concerns, of problems this country faces, where would white supremacy be on the list? Right up there with Russia, probably. It's actually not a real problem in America. The combined membership

of every white supremacist organization in this country would be able to fit inside a college football stadium?

I mean, seriously, this is a country where the average person is getting poor where the suicide rate is spiking. White supremacy, that's the problem. This is a hoax. Just like the Russia hoax. It's a conspiracy theory used to divide the country and keep a hold on power. That's exactly what's going on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: He's getting a lot of blowback for those remarks. Here's what he said tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON: I want to take a second to pass on a sincere message to officials in Washington and particularly to our colleagues on the other cable news channels and it's this. Please, for the sake of the nation, calm down.

Yes, America has problems. Yes, racism is one of America's problems. But so is a fading middle class. So is a terrifying drug epidemic that's killed hundreds of thousands of Americans. So is a national debt that's growing by a trillion dollars a year.

These are huge problems and people know that. People know their country is in decline and it's making them turn to new political leaders. Donald Trump was one of those new leaders.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: I want to bring in now Mia Love, Wajahat Ali, and Rick Wilson. Rick is the author of "Everything Trump Touches Dies."

OK. So here we go. Good evening.

Mia, I don't have to tell you the powerful role that Fox News has essentially -- has there. They're essentially state-run TV for this administration. How troubled are you that so many of the president's supporters are being told that there is no problem in this country when it comes to white supremacy?

MIA LOVE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, if anybody says that white supremacists doesn't exist, they're lying. They're intellectually lying, they're lying to you. And I think it's unfortunate to hear someone who has such a responsibility to get information out.

Look, he's not -- we're not telling people to be afraid to go hide somewhere, but you have to be able to look at it, face it head-on and that's the only way that it's going to go away. You can't run away from it.

And I'm hoping all of my colleagues that are out there, my former colleagues, people who I know that are good people who I've been, I worked closely with, to stand up and say this is not what we believe in and this has got to stop.

If you can't find leadership in the White House then take it upon yourself. Say that you're going to stand up there and you are going to represent the best of what America has.

And I just have one more thing I wanted to say. I spoke to a brother- in-law of mine who has spent his entire -- his entire adult life serving our country in the army. And he says the thing that threatens the United States the most is division within, and the fact that our enemies want to see us tearing each other apart.

There is no other nation that's going to tear us down, there is no foreign entity, we're going to do it ourselves. So, I would hope that the people that are out there, leaders that are out there, politicians, parents at home to stand up and say this is not what we believe in.

My kids who are of mixed race are really confused right now. They have no idea what to -- who to look to. And so, I'm telling them to look to me. Look at my Twitter feed because you're not going to find any other Twitter feed from the White House that's going to give you anything that's going to make you a better person or that's going to make you stand up for what America believes in.

[23:04:55] LEMON: I had the pleasure of meeting Abigail just a couple of weeks ago, a very fine young lady. Yes, they should look to you for guidance.

I got to tell you, though, let me ask you this Wajahat, because I think it's important to point out. This is what we did at CNN. And I want to make sure I get it all correct. Right?

We reached out to Fox Corporation board members Rupert Murdoch, also Lachlan Murdoch and Dias, Roland Hernandez and Paul Ryan for comment. And I just want to go through what happened when we contacted them all, OK?

So, Hope Hicks, Fox's spokesperson who represents Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch did not provide comment. Reached by phone, Hernandez hung up, and when asked about Carlson's comments, Dias did not reply to requests for comments.

A representative for Ryan told CNN to contact Fox. Hicks, who represents Fox, did not respond when asked if the former speaker had a comment. OK. Then the seventh member of the Fox Corporation board Jacques Nasser could not be reached by CNN for comment.

So, nobody is commenting. Maybe there's no accountability. I don't know what's going on. But do they need to answer for whether they support this, Wajahat?

WAJAHAT ALI, OP-ED WRITER, NEW YORK TIMES: Well, they need to answer why they've given an hour every night to a white supremacist, Tucker Carlson. Because there might not be enough white supremacists in America to fit in a football stadium, but there is one for Fox News every night. His name is Tucker Carlson. If you don't believe me, Andrew Anglin, the leading neo-Nazi of the

Daily Stormer says that Tucker Carlson is, quote, "literally our greatest ally." He says that Tucker Carlson's show is all of their talking points mainstreamed.

So, you have to ask yourself if you are a Fox News patron or a supporter, why do you support Tucker Carlson's show when he is literally saying after a mass shooting attack an act of white supremacist terrorism that has killed more than 22 people in El Paso. He uses his platform to say that white supremacy is a hoax.

And that is so insulting to any person of color, Don, especially black people because white supremacy is the original enduring sin of this country. It's an ideology of hate that says that white men in particular are dominant at the expense of everyone else.

It has been globalized, thanks to the internet, and it has been mainstreamed, thanks to Donald Trump, the President of the United States of America, and the right-wing media infrastructure and right- wing politicians and especially people like Tucker Carlson.

So, everyone who is watching right now, ask Fox News, do they agree with Tucker's comments? That's two nights in a row. Is white supremacy a hoax? Ask the people of El Paso. Ask the people who were killed. Ask their family members. Ask people of color, and for the love of God, stop it with he's euphemisms of saying that Donald Trump has racial trip ups and flare ups. I'm tired of it, Don. I'm tired of it.

He's a racist. If my colleagues keep saying this, I'm going to call them out. Stop with economic anxiety. All the studies show it's racial anxiety. Confront the number one domestic terror threat to America according to the FBI, white supremacy.

LEMON: Rick, I got to ask you, because what he said tonight was not exactly what he said last night. Because last night he said --

RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Right.

LEMON: -- that to keep a hold on power, they said it's a conspiracy theory used to divide the country and keep a hold on power. That is exactly what's going on. He called -- he said this is a hoax just like the Russia hoax.

And then tonight he said, well, this is because people are upset and that's why people like Donald Trump get elected and to calm down and maybe you should see people for who they are or have some, you know, I don't know --

(CROSSTALK)

WILSON: Yes, look tonight smelled --

LEMON: Some sort of feeling about people -- I don't know what he meant by that, but go on.

WILSON: Yes, look, tonight smelled like an awful lot like -- although Fox has an internal philosophy of never apologize, never back down, that somebody finally said, wait a minute, every one of these idiots with a manifesto, it could be right off of Tucker Carlson's teleprompter.

ALI: That's right.

WILSON: Every one of these idiots that comes out and says America is browning and that we're being invaded and that we're losing a demographic war.

It all sounds an awful lot like this I think this terrible and terrifying pseudo-intellectual framework they're trying to build around white nationalism by excusing it. By saying, oxycontin is causing white nationalism and economic anxiety is causing white nationalism.

No, white nationalism goes of its own. It is a poisonous movement in this country and we have to be honest about it that Donald Trump has empowered it.

He, look, let's not forget Donald Trump retweeted people like white genocide 99 during the campaign. And let's -- I hate having to recapitulate the whole Trump arc from birtherism to Charlottesville to the Central Park Five, all these things. We know what this man's character is.

And what Tucker was trying to do for months on end was gussy it up a little bit and pretend that this new nationalism of his isn't driven by an underpinning of racial anxiety and hatred.

[23:09:58] And I think it's disappointing but understandable, the Murdoch's are not going to walk away from billions of dollars of ad revenue. That this has been -- they've been able to generate through shows like Tucker and Lou Dobbs and Sean Hannity and these other guys who go out every night and, you know, they wink and they nod to white nats out there from Tucker's show.

As Wajahat pointed out, you know, Andrew Anglin and all these alt- right guys, they call Tucker our guy. They love the fact that he is vectoring the normies into their white nationalist movement in a way that is I find particularly dangerous, and I think that Tucker has a responsibility to face up to that.

I think he was a little nervous tonight. I think there was something in the air that didn't quite sit with his normal confidence.

LEMON: Yes, listen, they announced he's going to be on vacation for a while. I think until the 19th. Or he did --

WILSON: Of course. Vacation.

LEMON: I got to ask you, though, Rick, before I move on to Mia. I want to talk about the president. You heard what I read for Wajahat, how all these people, representatives of Fox who we reached out to, including the Murdoch's. Do they need to answer for whether they support this? WILSON: Look --

ALI: Yes.

WILSON: Rupert Murdoch is a capitalist first and a conservative second, I think. Because he has transformed the network away from even the original vision of what it was, which was a counterweight to what he thought was a liberal media to this nationalist, populist, anti- immigrant movement that I think has, you know, they're still monetizing the hell out of it. So, they do need to answer for it, but I doubt you'll ever get one.

LEMON: OK.

WILSON: They feel impervious. They feel like their market position protects them.

LEMON: All right. Mia, I don't have much time. Sorry about that. But let me ask you. I want to turn to the president. His behavior today attacking Democrats, praising himself. Why does it seem like hat he's more aggrieved by his press coverage than upset what he saw today, meeting with victims and their family members?

LOVE: Well, he started off -- it's really -- it's so ironic. He started off really well. He was exactly where he should have been, with the families. It should have really been a private moment. It should have been a moment where he would just connect with them. And that is part of the healing process. To let those families know I am with you, the people that did this to you, I am against them.

LEMON: Yes.

LOVE: But to go on and to have one of his workers -- actually one of his staff members actually send out a tweet, that was just -- it was such -- it was in poor taste. And then turn it into --

LEMON: A video.

LOVE: You don't have -- there are ways to deal with people --

WILSON: I agree.

LOVE: -- that you don't agree with.

LEMON: Yes.

LOVE: And, again, one of the things that have emboldened those people that are doing these horrible things is because they're watching the fights. They're watching the Twitter feeds and they feel like they're emboldened by this.

There used to be a time where it was just a thought, right? And I remember Margaret Thatcher who would say -- well, I don't remember her -- but I remember my favorite quote is "be careful of your thoughts for they become words. Be careful of your words for they become action, so forth, and so forth." LEMON: Right.

LOVE: We've gone past the thoughts, the words, and it's into action.

LEMON: Yes.

LOVE: And so, I think the only way to counter that is for people to take action themselves and to stand up against it and say, look, this is not OK.

Those moments should have been kept private. They should have been just for the families. He did the right thing in being there with the families, but he shouldn't have gone after other people --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: And created a campaign-style video about it.

LOVE: You don't fight evil with evil. Right.

LEMON: Wajahat --

LOVE: Yes. A video. You don't fight evil with evil. Right?

LEMON: Yes.

LOVE: You don't sit there and say I'm going to shine a light on this with darkness. That's not how it works.

LEMON: Wajahat, there is this today as well. Jake Tapper has some exclusive reporting I want to ask you about. I just want to read from one senior source close to the Trump administration.

It says "Homeland Security officials battle the White House for more than a year to get them to focus more on domestic terrorism. The White House wanted to focus only on the Jihadist threat, which while serious ignored the reality that racial supremacist violence was rising fast here at home. They had major ideological blinders on."

So, the question is, why? I mean, why ignore the threats of white supremacy in this country? Maybe the answer is obvious, but I want to hear what you have to say.

ALI: Why go after your base? Ten years ago, in 2009, Daryl Johnson, a DHS analyst, was the first one to warn us all about the rising threat of white extremism.

LEMON: Do you remember when Janet Napolitano when she put out the report?

ALI: Yes.

LEMON: And then got out and had to apologize. And they rescind. It's crazy. But go on. Sorry.

ALI: But you know why, the Republican lawmakers and the conservative movement wanted to crush it because they said it would make them look bad, right? You fast forward. And everyone knows that if these suspects were Muslims -- I was just doing this thought experiment.

Imagine if the suspects were undocumented immigrants or Muslims what would happen right now? Republican congressmen, I swear to you, would be calling to bomb some countries. So, we'd have a Muslim ban, a Muslim registry.

But look what happened after Charlottesville. Very -- both sides are to be blamed. They're very fine people. What happened after Christchurch where 51 people were killed? And in his manifesto, he said, the terrorist said that Donald Trump is a renewed symbol of white identity and he shares a common purpose with me.

[23:15:06] That was in March. Donald Trump said I don't think white nationalism is a really big problem.

And today, we just found out Republican Senator Johnson openly said on Fox News a few months ago there was a bipartisan letter that he sent with a Democratic senator asking DHS and DOJ what's happening with white supremacist terrorism. The DOJ did not respond to him, Don.

So why is this not a major concern when the FBI director appointed by Trump two and a half weeks ago said that in 2019, just 2019, over 100 arrests happened in this country when it comes to domestic terrorism. Most of them were, wait for it, tied to white supremacy. Why is he not taking this threat seriously? And can you imagine if it was a Muslim or an undocumented immigrant.

LEMON: Yes.

ALI: Maybe then this impotent, weak pathetic president, this insignificant narcissist, a Bulgarian would actually be the commander in chief and the president of all Americans, not just white men who wear red hats.

LEMON: Thank you, all.

In the aftermath of the deadly shootings in El Paso and Dayton, will there be any real changes this time? We'll talk about it next.

[23:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Democrats tonight warning Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that narrow measures on gun control are not enough. They're demanding a vote on a background checks bill that already passed -- one that's already passed by the House.

The president today saying he is in favor of background checks, despite threats in February to veto that very bill.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Well, I'm looking to do background checks. I think background checks are important.

Let's see if we can get something done. And Republicans want to do it and Democrats want to do it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So, joining me now is Charlie Dent, Alice Stewart, Peter Wehner. Peter is the author of "The Death of Politics: How to Heal our Frayed Republic After Trump." Hello, one and all. Good to see you.

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Hi, Don.

CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Don.

LEMON: So, Charlie, I'm going to start with you. We've heard this from the president before. He suggested strengthening background checks after the Parkland shooting but nothing ever happened. Do you expect him to follow through this time?

DENT: That remains to be seen, Don. The challenge for the president is he must lead on this issue. It's one thing for him to say he supports background checks. The real question is will he support the Toomey-Manchin bill? That's universal background checks and all private sales.

He's got to lead and state if he's for it or not. He'll punt on this and he'll say, you know, it's up to -- let Congress pass a bill. He won't state what he's for. Well, that's not leadership. He is simply surrendering authority in this case to Congress.

And so, I'm not expecting much. But if I were the president, I would go after the low-hanging fruit, I would do universal background checks, red flag laws, I would talk about raising the age to purchase the firearm legally at least for high-powered rifles to 21. Those are things that I think have broad support among the American public.

Now they can have a separate conversation about magazine capacity and semiautomatic so-called assault rifles. I voted for an assault rifle ban back when I was in the state legislature back in 1994. That's a separate question. He's got to lead. He's got to stand up and state precisely what he's for.

LEMON: Peter, you know, we have seen some movement from Republicans on gun control in the aftermath of El Paso and Dayton. Is this an inflection point, do you think? Do you sense a change in the party?

PETER WEHNER, FORMER ADVISER TO GEORGE W. BUSH: No, I'd say the opposite, actually. I'd be shocked if Donald Trump takes the lead on this issue and I'd be really surprised if Republicans speak out on this issue because the party I think is going in the other direction.

The one thing we know about Donald Trump, this is how he has conducted himself during his entire presidency, he's not going to go cross wires with the base. He has decided his only chase for re-election is a base turnout election. And he is not going to excite the base of the Republican Party if he starts talking about gun control measures.

So, I don't -- I don't see this changing. I also want to say one thing just very quickly, Don, maybe as a former speechwriter, somebody who worked in the White House. It's just about, if I can pull the lens back on this Trump visit today and this whole moment.

What we saw again today is that there is no moment in the life of this country that this man can't deconsecrate and desacralize (ph) and desecrate. It's not just that he can't bring this country together, it's that there is something deep within him, within his psyche, that seems propelled to divide us and there is simply no stopping it.

And it is an extraordinary thing to -- to see and to have a president with all of the power, all of the moral authority that we invest in a president, using it the way he does. It's just an extraordinary and in many ways frightening and deeply dispiriting thing.

LEMON: Well, that's -- Alice, having said that, the president had a golden opportunity to unite the country today. Instead, he reverted to political attacks. I'm wondering, did he squander an important moment to help heal these cities and thusly the country?

STEWART: Not yet. This is a typical tone and tenor that we have out of this president, but the hope is that there are results. Democrats, you started out this segment talking about -- being critical of -- looking at narrow solutions.

Look, narrow is better than nothing when we're talking about gun control, and I do believe that the tone of this nation right now and the emotion behind this will drive this Washington to action. And the president has made it clear that he does support background checks. I don't think that will happen.

What I do think will happen is we will see some action on this red flag law. And this is important because it has bipartisan support. The president's behind it and even the NRA.

What this will do, this will allow the police and family members to go to the courts and say, this person -- a family member or someone that I know is an imminent danger to themselves or others and they should not be able to be in possession of a firearm.

[23:25:06] This is a no-brainer. Let's check this one off the box and let's put this on the books, get it done and move to the next one.

LEMON: Well, what happens --

(CROSSTALK)

STEWART: Background checks.

LEMON: What happens to the one that's already passed the House? What happened -- what about the one that will limit the types of dangerous firearms that are weapons are war that even people who are -- even police officers say should not be on our streets. When are we going to get to that?

STEWART: Well, those are important issues that can be addressed and should be addressed. When we're looking at let's say hypothetically the assault weapons ban. In theory, that makes perfect sense. These weapons certainly of mass

destruction should not be in the hands of everyday Americans, but you have to remember we do have the Second Amendment right to bear arms, and the NRA is very clear that across the board federal ban on certain particular weapon is not going to sit well with those who support Second Amendment rights. There are single-issue voters out there.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Alice, I know that. I know that.

STEWART: And they think there were federal ban.

LEMON: I'm not blaming you, but that is -- that argument makes no sense because every single right you have in this country comes with a limitation. And it comes with a limitation. Just because you have the Second Amendment, it doesn't mean that you should be able to carry a machine gun. We can't carry machine guns, OK?

STEWART: Right.

LEMON: So --

(CROSSTALK)

STEWART: It comes with limitations.

LEMON: It comes with limitation. So, I don't --

STEWART: And you're right. And responsibility.

LEMON: And responsibility.

LEMON: Yes.

STEWART: I'm agreeing with you, Don. I'm agreeing with you. It comes with responsibility. That's where we need to have this conversation.

LEMON: OK.

STEWART: We have to find the balance between protecting our Second Amendment rights and protecting our country.

LEMON: Peter, the 2020 candidate in Ohio, Congressman Tim Ryan, says that he's going to lead a caravan to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's home in Kentucky along with a grassroots gun control group, moms demand action. This is what he told our Jim Sciutto. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. TIM RYAN (D-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're going to make sure that Mitch McConnell knows that there are two pieces of legislation sitting on his desk that he needs to bring up for a vote to actually get some action. Enough, Mitch McConnell. Get off your ass and get something done. Get

your -- get your Quilon (Ph) -- OK, grab them and do something because the American people are fed up with you. We're fed up with you stonewalling everything.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Peter, do you think McConnell will be forced to act?

WEHNER: No. No, I don't. Mitch McConnell has been around for a long time. He's been criticized by a lot of people. He has a sense of what he wants to do and congressman, Democrat running for president bringing a caravan to his district is not going to allow --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Not going to do anything.

WEHNER: -- is not going to change his mind. You know, what ultimately would change his mind most particularly would be pressure within his district and then pressure within his caucus, and as I said, I don't -- I don't think that's going to happen.

LEMON: And maybe pressure from the White House, from the president himself. Charlie, I want you to weigh in. I'll give you the last word. What do you think?

DENT: Well, look, I think Mitch McConnell ought to bring up some of these bills, particularly universal background checks, if for no other reason than to give some of his members in these swing states, whether it's Susan Collins or Corey Gardner or Tom Tillis, give them an opportunity to vote on these things.

I remember when Republicans were in the House, we had a majority and Harry Reid was in charge of the Senate. Harry Reid would block all sorts of things, it would infuriate us from time to time.

And, frankly, that ended up hurting his own Democratic majority in 2014 because his members were never able to vote to separate themselves from the Democratic leadership.

LEMON: Yes.

DENT: Mitch McConnell I think should give Republican senators the opportunity to separate themselves maybe from their leadership.

LEMON: Charlie, Alice, Peter, thank you.

STEWART: Thank you, Don.

WEHNER: Thanks, Don.

DENT: Thank you.

LEMON: We'll be right back.

[23:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: President Trump's repeated use of racist rhetoric was echoed in the hate-filled manifesto posted by the El Paso gunman moments before his rampage killed 22 innocent people. Hate directed at immigrants and Hispanics. So, how do Hispanic communities like El Paso move forward in Trump's America? Here's CNN's Nick Valencia.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM WARD, EL PASO RESIDENT: We all know someone who knew someone who knew someone. And it's -- it's scary and it's sad.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In El Paso, the hurt is overwhelming. For these lifelong residents of the majority Latino city, there is pain, anger and shock, sometimes all at once.

SYLVIA ACOSTA, CEO, YWCA EL PASO: This was an act of terrorism against our community and against people of color, specifically Latinos that look just like me, my daughter, my neighbor, my friends.

VALENCIA (voice-over): And for some, that's a difficult thing to internalize.

Do you feel like in any ways that this was spoken into existence?

ACOSTA: There is a tradition throughout the world of othering people and demonizing people who are different from you. That is not a new history in this country. I think where we are right now is that for the last two years, the narrative has been about demonizing people that look like me.

VALENCIA: Are you scared now to be Latina?

ACOSTA: No! I am -- I am resolved to be Latino. I am comfortable in my own skin, and I am not going to let fear guide my life.

JUAN CABRERA, SUPERINTENDENT, EL PASO INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT: For us to have all this happening in El Paso recently then on top of that this horrible act, it is -- it is really -- you feel like sort of the ground underneath you is not stable. We're also Americans and we want to be a part of this culture. We're proud, Mexicanos, that we're Americans.

VALENCIA (voice-over): The sentiment speaks to the city's roots, and they say it's harmony.

JIM WARD, EL PASO RESIDENT: Our city is not aggressive, so when somebody takes a narrative and puts -- demonizes our community or immigrants or whatever it is, that is happening out of confusion or fearmongering or a need to raise your base or to get a good reaction from a crowd, I find it hard for our city to react appropriately because we're not aggressive. Like, we are literally the city that turns the other cheek.

VALENCIA (voice-over): But today, they say, is not the day to turn the other way.

MARINA MONSISVAIS, OWNER, BARRACUDA PUBLIC RELATIONS: I don't hesitate to say, you know, that there is a -- there are some clear lines there, right? We're rapists, we're -- you know, all this stuff and we're taking over the country.

[23:35:01] Then, you know, we're invading. And then action takes place. And it's only a matter of time -- you do that so many times that somebody's bound to do something hateful.

VALENCIA (voice-over): The alleged shooter wasn't from El Paso, so why did he spend 10 hours in a car driving more than 600 miles to carry out his alleged attack here? Many here feel President Trump bears some of the blame.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That's only in the panhandle you can get away with that statement.

WARD: When you sit in the panhandle of Florida and people chant "shoot them" and he says only in the panhandle, like, what do you think is going to happen?

VALENCIA: But did this fear and this racism, this hate not exist before the president? How much -- isn't it bigger than the president?

WARD: Hate -- of course it is.

VALENCIA (voice-over): Do you want President Trump here?

ACOSTA: Personally, I think that this community is hurting. I don't think he's done anything to help that.

WARD: I don't, no.

CABRERA: I don't know what his desire is to be here or what the action is going to be. But as head of state, I do agree with the mayor. If we can get resources to support us, so be it.

MONSISVAIS: Absolutely not.

VALENCIA: Why?

MONSISVAIS: It's -- it's not the right time.

VALENCIA (voice-over): As time goes on, the group says the only thing keeping them from crying is their anger, but sometimes even that's not enough to hold back the tears.

Nick Valencia, CNN, El Paso, Texas.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: Nick Valencia, thank you so much. A lot to talk about with Texas State Senator Jose Rodriguez. He's next.

[23:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: The deadly mass shooting in El Paso leaving many Hispanic residents living in fear. Let's discuss now with Texas State Senator Jose Rodriguez.

Senator, thank you. I appreciate you joining us this evening. When you -- when you see --

SEN. JOSE RODRIGUEZ (D-TX): Thank you for having me, Don.

LEMON: Absolutely. When you see and hear how fearful so many in your community are and then you see how the president behaved on his trip there today, what's your reaction?

RODRIGUEZ: Well, it's -- it's what I expected. My -- you know this man never ceases to disappoint. He says that he's coming with goodwill and with -- with the idea of trying to provide some consolation to the people of El Paso. The end result is that he makes comments that are in line with comments that he's been making for quite some time.

He was here not too long ago. He insulted the mayor. He said that -- that we had a high crime rate when in fact we have the lowest crime rate in the country for a city of our size.

And today, there were a lot of people out there in the streets close to where he was going into the hospitals, protesting and angry that he has dared come to El Paso since many people feel that he is partly responsible for having this mass shooting take place in our community, a peaceful, welcoming community that for the first time experiences this level of violence.

LEMON: Senator, CNN has learned that the shooting suspect's mother called the Allen, Texas police department weeks before the shooting, concerned about her son's owning an AK-type weapon, given his age, his maturity level, and lack of experience handling such a firearm. That's according to family lawyer. She was told that her son was 21. He was legally allowed to purchase a weapon, didn't ask for any more information. Do you have any questions about the handling of this?

RODRIGUEZ: Well, I do. I understand from some statements that were put out by the lawyers for the family that he had not exhibited any kind of violent tendencies or erratic behavior. But the fact that the mother called the police and advised the police that he had an AK-47 should have sent some red flags up for people to look further into that.

And this is a kind of situation that we've been talking about in terms of the need for emergency risk protective orders, red flags as they're known in other parts of the country. There's a lot of need for gun safety reform, Don. We've been talking about it for years now, from Sandy Hook, from Columbine and on forward. Nothing has been done at a national level. We haven't done anything here at the state level.

We had a meeting today. The state delegation of El Paso and myself included, with the governor, the lieutenant governor, and the speaker of the House, to sit down and talk about what are our next steps to ensure that this doesn't happen again in communities like ours and the rest of the state.

And I think we got a good start to the conversation. We hope that we are going to take seriously, unlike President Trump, the need to pass gun reforms, the need to look very seriously at the white supremacy nationalist, racist fervor in this country, hate crimes, and find ways on how we curtail it. We know we can't eliminate it all together, but we ought to be able to take measures that diminish it, that curtail it as much as possible.

LEMON: Jose Rodriguez, thank you, sir. I appreciate it.

RODRIGUEZ: Well, thank you. Appreciate it.

[23:45:01] LEMON: Changing demographics. Retiring Republicans and the president's unpopularity have Democrats asking, can ruby red Texas turn blue in 2020?

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LEMON: 2020 elections are approaching. With them, the possibility -- think about this -- that deep red Texas could turn blue for the first time since Jimmy Carter in 1976. Will the deadly mass shooting in El Paso and the president's response factor into it?

[23:50:01] Let's discuss now with CNN's Senior Political Analyst. Mr. Ron Brownstein is here.

Ron, good evening to you.

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Hi, Don.

LEMON: There's a lot of buzz about this, you know, Texas and 2020, especially with another sitting Republican congressman announcing this week that he is not going to seek reelection. That makes four in Texas alone. So --

BROWNSTEIN: Yes.

LEMON: -- what is this hype about? Is there a chance that Texas -- honestly, a real chance that Texas can actually go blue?

BROWNSTEIN: It's obviously a reach, right? It would not be in the first 270 Electoral College votes any Democrat would win. If they win Texas, they have already won. But it's not inconceivable. And it is not inconceivable in 2020 or certainly in 2024 because Texas is finally conforming to the same dynamics that have moved states towards the Democrats over the past 25 years.

States where Democrats have improved their performance in the presidential level have had two factors. One, they have grown more diverse. That is certainly true in Texas. In 2018 and 2016, non-white voters were over 40 percent of the total electorate.

But the second thing that have moved states towards Democrats, places like Colorado and Virginia, where they have improved in a century, is that Democrats have been improved performance in white collar, mostly white -- heavily white suburban areas. That had not been happening in Texas.

Even as recently as 2014, Wendy Davis, the highly-touted gubernatorial candidate, won only about a quarter of college-educated white voters. Beto O'Rourke moved that up to 44 percent. And what that did was shift urban Texas decisively.

Here's a number, Don, that I think is pretty striking. In 2012, Barack Obama won the five largest counties in Texas by a combined 80,000 votes. In 2018, Beto O'Rourke won the same counties by 800,000 votes --

LEMON: Wow!

BROWNSTEIN: -- which is pretty remarkable. But he still lost the state because the rural parts of the state, mostly white heavily evangelical, energy industry moved so sharply towards the Republicans over the last many years and certainly in the Trump era as well.

LEMON: Do you see El Paso, the shooting, this factoring into the 2020 election?

BROWNSTEIN: Absolutely. I mean, look, the basic dynamic of American politics over the last 20 years has been accelerated and deepened by Trump. What you see this is this kind of realignment of our politics around the fault line of do you accept or do you fear the fundamental demographic cultural, even economic changes effect, remaking American society.

All of the issues raised by El Paso, both the way Trump talks about race and guns, reinforce that divide and further the movement that we saw so dramatically in 2018 of these big suburban metro areas away from the Republican Party.

Trump lost in 2016. He lost 87 of the 100 largest counties in America. He lost by a combined 15 million votes. In 2018, we saw about half of those 13 large counties that he won move towards the Democrats, including Fort Worth, Texas which Beto O'Rourke carried, as well as Maricopa, which is the single largest county he won that moved -- in Arizona where Democrat Sinema carried it in the Senate race.

Gun control is an important part of that. It is obviously in rural small town places. It is part of the reason Republicans are so strong. It's also part of the reason why suburban women in particular have moved so sharply against the GOP in the last several elections.

LEMON: Interesting. So then to see what they -- what happens with this whole issue of gun control and the president, it is going to be interesting to watch because they are going to be weighing -- they are going to take all these things into account, right?

BROWNSTEIN: Real quick, real quick, under Trump, the Republican Party is making (INAUDIBLE). They are trading bigger margins among groups that are shrinking in society for more resistance and opposition among the groups and the areas that are growing. I mean, the diverse secular information age, white collar metros that are at the heart of the 21st century economy. Republican Party is being almost completely annihilated in those areas. In 2018, they lost seats not only in places like Philadelphia, Minneapolis and Chicago, places that have traditionally been blue, but Houston and Dallas and Atlanta and Oklahoma City.

And all of that, I think, is the kind of the forerunner, the reason why we are seeing these retirements in Texas, Rob Woodall in the suburbs of Atlanta, the potential under Trump is that Republicans, yes, are solidifying their hold on small town, rural, heavily white places that are still dependent on the kind of the glory industry of the 20th century, manufacturing, energy production.

And the price of that is that they are losing more and more ground in these dynamic metros that account for majority of the GDP, most of the population growth, and really the dynamism of the economy in the 21st century.

[23:55:08] I think in 2020, we are going to see a stark divide between in effect town and country, that you probably has since the 1920s. The trench between Trump's America and urban diverse America is widening.

LEMON: Wow! Ron Brownstein, thank you. I appreciate your time. Thank you so much.

BROWNSTEIN: Thank you.

LEMON: Thanks for watching. Our coverage continues.

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