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President Trump Visits Dayton And El Paso After Mass Shootings; Senator Booker Says The Hate In El Paso Was Sowed By President Trump; Joe Biden In Iowa Today. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired August 7, 2019 - 14:00   ET

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


SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D-OH): I talked to Senator Schumer since then, he is on board. A number of Democrats have now called on the Senator McConnell to come back. I have seen no action yet.

I mean, McConnell has got to break his addiction of the drug company money. And he I mean, not drug company, well, drug company money -- to break his addiction to gun lobby money, and he hasn't seemed to even take a step in that direction.

QUESTION: Okay, that's it guys. Really quick. Do you think this helped the healing and just having the President come here?

MAYOR NAN WHALEY (D), DAYTON, OHIO: I think the victims and the first responders were grateful that the President of the United States came today.

I really want to thank Senator Brown for coming, too. He got up early this morning from Cleveland, he came down to Dayton and spent the day with us.

BROWN: I haven't worked 72 straight hours like most of you in the press corps, so let me just say something. Thank you for what you all do. I know that we just had the President of the United States in this town that tries to turn the public against you.

And as you may know, I'm married with a journalist, but I believe this few -- and very briefly, I didn't think this way. But what you do to make our country free with all the attacks on you and on our nation's institutions is so, so, so important. And thank you so much for all that you do in the media.

WHALEY: Thank you, guys.

BROWN: Thank you.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: You have been listening to two leaders here in the state of Ohio, talking about the frustration, the inaction they feel, I'm Brooke Baldwin, John Berman there in El Paso and you know, first you heard from Nan Whaley, the Mayor here in Dayton, who, you know, in talking to her in the last couple of days, she just met with the President as did Sherrod Brown, the Democratic senator here in Ohio.

It sounds like they got an opportunity to meet with the President of the United States as he is here meeting with victims in the hospital and first responders and that kind of thing. But you could just feel, John, the frustration.

You know, you heard Senator Brown saying that the President said to the police officers who are our total heroes, right? But he was saying to the police officers, essentially, we really want to give you awards and medals for your bravery and your heroism.

And you heard Senator Brown saying back to the President, you know, well, actually, sir, I think you just need to ban assault weapons off of the streets in this country so that mass murders like these stop happening. The question is, how much will the President listen? We've heard him made promises, John Berman, in the past.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: I was struck by two things. Number one, Senator Sherrod Brown, saying he struggled with the decision to meet with the President at all. He thought about protesting, but he made the decision so he could look him in the eye and make the case for new measures against gun violence.

And he did make that case and then listening to the mayor, Nan Whaley who I know you've spoken to so many times over the last few days, and has tried to lead that city through say, she was glad the President said the right things inside the hospital. But she was glad she didn't go to the Oregon District where the shooting took place because that would be too painful for the people there who had to live through this shooting and are still trying to heal. It would have been too raw, Brooke.

So, I think you get a sense of the limits of the President's visit, and the struggle that we're going to see frankly, here in El Paso in just a few hours.

The President left Dayton. We report the President is in the air now, coming here to El Paso. So, I think Brooke will reset our coverage now if we can.

I'm John Berman live in El Paso, Brooke Baldwin, in Dayton, Ohio. Just a few hours from now President Trump will visit this city still reeling from Saturday's devastating mass shooting.

The role of Consoler-in-Chief is unavoidable for any President, but maybe unavailable for this President as he tours these two American cities, experiencing mass shootings, many people -- many people there in Dayton and here in El Paso are questioning his ability to rise to the role of Consoler-in-Chief, especially I might say here in El Paso, where the racist anti-immigrant rant of the shooter, the killer in this Walmart behind me echoed language used by the current President.

Now before he left Washington, President Trump rejected the idea that his words are harmful to the nation that he was elected to lead.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: What do you say to your critics that believe that your rhetoric that is emboldening white nationalists and inspiring this anger?

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So my critics are political people. They are trying to make points. I think my rhetoric is a very -- it brings people together.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: "It brings people together," he said. Well, we have a stark reminder of how that has not been the case. Specifically for people here in El Paso, Texas. This is what the President said about El Paso during the State of the Union address back in early February.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[14:05:02] TRUMP: The border city of El Paso, Texas, used to have extremely high rates of violent crime. One of the highest in the entire country and considered one of our nation's most dangerous cities. Now, immediately upon its building, with a powerful barrier in place, El Paso is one of the safest cities in our country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: First, that's not true. His history isn't true. According to the FBI and city data, violent crime in El Paso peaked in 1993. The border fence wasn't built until 2008. But that didn't stop the President from digging in on the idea of violence caused by immigrants just a few weeks later, at a rally in the city. He said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: In the last two years alone, I.C.E. officers have made 200 -- listen to these numbers -- 266,000 arrests of criminal aliens including those charged or convicted of approximately 100,000 assaults, 30,000 sex crimes, 25,000 burglaries, 11,000 robberies, 4,000 kidnappings and 4,000 murders, murders, murders, killings, murders.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: And the people here remember that. They remember it well. That was just February, when the President said that. This hour, we should note during a speech in Iowa, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is expected to say the President has quote, "Fanned the flames of white supremacy in this nation." More on that in just a moment.

First, I want to bring in CNN's Nick Valencia. Nick, there are signs at some of the memorials, memorials behind me telling the President, and this is a quote, "Do not invade our city." What else can you tell us about the backlash that we're expecting these demonstrations that are getting set up behind you?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, I've spent a lot of time talking to members in this community, and they remind us that President Trump didn't create here a fear. He didn't create racism, he didn't create hate, but they say he's certainly done a great job at using it to divide the country and to try to divide this community.

They feel as though that President Trump has been a focus while they want to remind people that this was a blatant attack, a racist attack by an alleged gunman who says in his manifesto, his tirade, however you want to characterize it that this is in direct response to a Hispanic invasion of Texas.

Those that died -- we need to be clear about this -- were killed simply because of the color of their skin, because of their last names, because of what and who they represent to this country.

It was earlier that I spoke to a group, a roundtable of local residents here longtime residents, people who have called this place home since birth. They say that they don't want President Trump here. I asked them why. Take a listen to what they had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VALENCIA: Do you want President Trump here?

SYLVIA ACOSTA, EL PASO RESIDENT: Personally, I think that this community is hurting. I don't think he has done anything to help that.

VALENCIA: Jim?

JIM: I don't, no.

VALENCIA: Superintendent?

JUAN CABRERA, EL PASO INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT SUPERINTENDENT: I mean, I don't know how he is going to help. I don't know what his desire is to be here, 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, then that's -- so be it. But I don't see how it's going to help.

VALENCIA: Marina, last word.

MARINA MONCISVAIS, EL PASO TEXAS RESIDENT: Absolutely not.

VALENCIA: Why?

MONCISVAIS: It's not the right time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VALENCIA: I want to be clear, and I want to be fair, President Trump does have supporters in this community, thousands of them. We saw that earlier this year in February, when he held a rally.

But I also want to be clear about something that I am been told today, countless times by residents I've spoken to, no one wants him here.

One person I spoke to said that they respect the Office of the Presidency. They respect the President. But they say that President Trump has not shown at any point in his presidency, to be the Healer- in-Chief and that he is not welcome here at this time.

President Trump they say has been obsessed with this community. We can't forget to mention that this is where he rolled out his Family Separation Policy and the Zero Tolerance Policy. This is where migrants were held outside in terrible conditions by Customs and Border Protection under a bridge as a result of President Trump's immigration policies.

This is where he has called El Paso incorrectly, one of the most dangerous cities in America and for its size, it is one of the safest. They believe that his rhetoric even if Trump supporters are unwilling to admit, even if Trump supporters are unwilling to say that he has played any role in this at all, people here want to be clear, John that he is partly to blame and he is partly responsible for the actions of an alleged shooter, and action that we saw its disastrous results over the weekend.

People here are angry and the only thing keeping them here from crying is their anger. But earlier today, when I saw those El Pasoans, and I spoke to them, even that wasn't enough to hold back tears -- John.

[14:10:08] BERMAN: I've seen plenty of people crying. I have seen many people crying in just the last six hours behind me at this memorial, but you're right, two things can be true. The President does have some supporters here, but many more people have told me that they dread today and they dread this visit. Nick Valencia, our thanks to you. We're going to be watching those demonstrations behind you very closely.

Local Democrats here in El Paso are taking the President to task as he and the First Lady make their way to Texas. They are in the air right now.

My next guest wrote a letter to the President asking him to cancel the visit. Iliana Holguin is the Chairwoman of the El Paso County Democratic Party. She joins me now.

Iliana, thank you very much for being with us this morning.

ILIANA HOLGUIN, CHAIRWOMAN, EL PASO COUNTY DEMOCRATIC PARTY: Thank you.

BERMAN: I know you told the President not to come today.

HOLGUIN: Yes.

BERMAN: You said he would make things worse. I do want to pose to you the case of Ohio because we were watching together as Senator Sherrod Brown and the Dayton Mayor, Nan Whaley were saying, they met with the President. They struggled with the idea, but they chose to meet with him, because they wanted to make the case that he should do something about gun violence and make a specific case. Why not use that opportunity here as well?

HOLGUIN: I agree; if the President is really coming to our communities to talk about solutions, to talk about real gun reform, banning assault weapons. And not only that, but to acknowledge his role in the increase in hate crimes in the criminalization and demonization of immigrant communities like El Paso, if he is coming here to acknowledge that, to apologize for it, to take that back, to talk about real solutions, then we definitely welcome him. The problem is that the majority of us don't think that that's why he is coming.

We saw just this morning, he is back at sending negative tweets, disparaging people from this community. So, if it were true that he were coming to find solutions to help -- to really try to help our community as we try to heal from this tragedy, then that would be totally different.

BERMAN: Monday, he said, "Now is the time to end destructive partisanship." Now, it was Monday, overnight, it was gone.

HOLGUIN: Yes.

BERMAN: He was talking about Beto O'Rourke, made fun of his name saying he should be quiet. How did you receive that message? The "be quiet" message.

HOLGUIN: We can be quiet, nothing will change if we're quiet. And that's why you're seeing so many people there at the protest site. Because we can't be quiet. We have to make our voices heard. If we want to see any change, we have to hold our elected officials accountable at the state level and at the national level.

Here in Texas. We have a Republican governor who also made a statement where he tried to attribute the horrific events of Saturday to mental illness. We have two U.S. Senators who are beholden to the NRA, and now we have President Trump, who during his speech on Monday, didn't mention assault rifles and actually said guns aren't what causes deaths.

So, I think people are finally realizing that we can't -- we can't reach rely on these national and state level representatives to protect us. We have to make our voices heard. So we're not going to be quiet.

BERMAN: I will say that Texas senators and Governor, particularly, Ted Cruz came out very quickly with a statement condemning white supremacy, calling what happened here terrorism this morning.

The President said something and I'm still trying to make sense of it. He said he is against white supremacy and all kinds of supremacy. How did you take that? Did you read that as another one of these both sides? Moral equivalency? I don't even know what other kind of supremacy he could be talking about, because it was white supremacy, according to the scree that led to the death of 22 people here.

HOLGUIN: Yes, it's the same thing that we saw in Charlottesville, the President knows that he has to condemn white supremacy, but doesn't really want to do it. So, he has to try to walk a fine line to not have to actually condemn it. And I was very glad to hear Senator Cruz condemn white supremacy that

shouldn't even be something we should be surprised that our elected officials do.

BERMAN: It shouldn't be hard to fight against white supremacy.

HOLGUIN: It should not. But what we need him to do is now act, get the Senate to act on gun control.

BERMAN: Tell us quickly, the first responders and the people the President will be meeting with today, and there are supporters of the President here. His visit might make a difference in these people who have been working so hard in the hospitals in the law enforcement community.

HOLGUIN: And again, if he is here to sincerely thank law enforcement, and the doctors and the nurses who are traumatized themselves by everything that they've seen, if he is here to really make that about, make his visit about thanking them, then that's one thing; but unfortunately, with our President, what we see is more often than not, he has to make it about himself.

BERMAN: Well, we'll see. In Ohio, there was actually no public statement at all, at least we've seen yet. It'll be interesting to see what happens here, particularly with so many people gathered to demonstrate. Iliania Holguin, thank you very much for being with us.

HOLGUIN: Thank you for being here.

BERMAN: Thank you for being welcoming, everyone has to us in El Paso.

HOLGUIN: Thank you.

BERMAN: It's a city with a lot of love.

HOLGUIN: It is, it is.

BERMAN: All right, up next, we're going to go back to Brooke in Dayton. A woman talks about her daughter who was able to reach out to loved ones before she died.

And moments away from Joe Biden's speech Iowa as protesters gather here in El Paso. What the former Vice President is expected to say about President Trump and white supremacy.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:20:01] BALDWIN: Drawing parallels between the El Paso gunman's writings and the President's anti-immigration rhetoric has been at the forefront of so many of the 2020 presidential campaigns today.

Senator Cory Booker addressing a congregation at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, the site of the 2015 hate crime where nine black parishioners were murdered. Senator Booker says the hate in El Paso was sowed by President Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It was sowed from the highest office in our land where we see in tweets and rhetoric, hateful words that ultimately endanger the lives of people in our country.

People of color, immigrants almost all -- because if the answer to the question, do racism and white supremacy exist, is yes, then the real question isn't who is or isn't a racist, but who is and isn't doing something about it.

Dr. King once said that -- I quote, "It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me. It may be true that the law cannot change the heart, but it can restrain the heartless."

We have the power to act and we can act to legislate safety even if we cannot legislate love.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: And in just a couple of moments, we expect another 2020 presidential candidate to speak about this weekend's tragedies, the former Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden. He is in Burlington, Iowa, CNN Senior Washington Correspondent, Jeff Zeleny is there. Jeff, what what's Biden's message today?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Brooke, we're going to hear some very strong words from the former Vice President, perhaps the most pointed words he has said yet today, in this presidential campaign.

I am told he is going to say directly that the President has fanned the flames of white supremacy in this country. He is going to call the President out for, in Vice President Biden's words, failing to provide moral leadership.

And he's also going to say this, I'm told, Brooke. He is going to say that Trump offers no moral leadership, no interest in unifying the nation, no evidence that the presidency has awakened his consciousness in the least.

Now, of course, this is something that the former Vice President has been running on since the very beginning. We've heard him talk about it again and again. He is fighting to revive the soul of this nation. He calls his campaign about the battle for the soul of this nation.

Of course, he got into this campaign just a few months ago, talking about Charlottesville, talking about President Trump's response to that Charlottesville act of anger. And he's going to continue that today.

Brooke, he is also, I am told going to be calling for he said when he becomes President, if he becomes President, he is promising immediate action on guns. We're not sure if that means that executive action or urging the Senate to do something, but Brooke, no one knows more than Joe Biden how difficult this is.

He was the sitting Vice President in the wake of Sandy Hook. He was essentially charged, tasked by President Obama to try and get that background check legislation through the Senate and it failed.

So, he knows how difficult it is from a legislative matter. But Brooke today, first and foremost, the former Vice President is trying to make this a case against President Trump on moral leadership here. He is beginning a four-day swing through Iowa, most of the 2020 candidates are either here in the state or will be coming here in the coming days.

But Brooke, I can tell you this, you know, these mass shootings in Texas and an Ohio have focused this race anew on gun violence. We have not heard that much about this, you know, from this campaign, except in the last four days or so.

So look for this to essentially set domestic politics aside and see the Vice President talking about gun violence and what he views as President Trump's hand in all of this -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: It seems a bit reminiscent of how we saw Joe Biden announcing that he would be running for President, right, with that initial video and the images from Charlottesville, Virginia. Jeff Zeleny, thank you. We will stay close to you and wait to hear from the former Vice President and we'll take him live.

Meantime here in Dayton, the story of a mother who lost her daughter. Her daughter was shot, but managed to make a FaceTime call to check on her children. Randi Kaye is standing by to tell her story, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:28:10] BALDWIN: When there is a mass shooting, there is an immediate tendency to focus on the numbers, right? How many people died? But it is also so important to understand who these people were, to honor them, and of course, the loved ones they leave behind, and so Randi Kaye is here with me in Dayton with the story of a new mom immediately after she had been shot, she had this overwhelming reaction to get home to her kids. What did she do?

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's incredible. She was shot right here in the street right here behind us. Her name is Lois Oglesby. We talked to her mom yesterday. We spent a little time with her.

Obviously the pain and the emotion is still very raw, but she shared with us what a wonderful mother her daughter was and how much she cared for her children and how even when she took her last breath, her children were top of mind.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SAUNDRA JAMES, MOTHER OF DAYTON, OHIO SHOOTING VICTIM: I'm sorry.

KAYE (voice over): Saundra James is mourning her daughter, Lois Oglesby, who was struck by a bullet and killed in the Dayton, Ohio shooting. Lois has a seven-year-old daughter and had just given birth a couple of months ago to a baby girl. She was looking forward to a night out with her girlfriends.

JAMES: She said, "Mommy, I can have fun, too." I said, "Yes, you can have fun sometimes, too." She said, "I hadn't been out, so I am going to go out and we're going to have some drinks." I said, "Okay, be careful." And that was it.

KAYE: And you told her to be careful.

JAMES: Be careful. I knew she was going to call me. I knew she was going to call me, and she didn't call me.

KAYE (voice over): Her mother says after Lois was shot, she called her boyfriend who was watching the kids.

KAYE (on camera): How did you find out what happened?

JAMES: We were asleep. And her boyfriend called and he said, "Mom, Lois FaceTime'd them."

[14:30:10]