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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Trump Meets El Paso First Responders After Mass Shooting; Trump Defends Slamming Dems As He Visits El Paso First Responders; Biden Claims Trump Has "Fanned The Flames Of White Supremacy" On Same Day Trump Visits Dayton & El Paso; Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) Is Interviewed About Trump Visit To El Paso; 2020 Dem Presidential Candidate John Delaney Is Interviewed About Gun Policies, Violence And Racism. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired August 7, 2019 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: The President just said. Let's see what can be done as far as legislation is concern. Our special coverage continues right now with "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT."
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, breaking news, President Trump in El Paso Texas visiting victims of the mass shootings. Why is he lashing out attacking politicians who praised his visit? Plus, Joe Biden unleashing a blistering attack on Trump tonight accusing the President of fanning the flames of white supremacy.
Did he go too far? And President Trump claims his rhetoric brings people together. Republican Congressman Will Hurd who has been a critic of the President when it comes to race response. Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, the breaking news, President Trump in El Paso, Texas at this hour. Right now meeting with first responders, just seconds ago speaking out, doubling down on his slam of Democratic politicians. The Mayor of Dayton, Ohio, Nan Whaley and Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, they shouldn't politicking today. I had it with Sherrod Brown. He and the Mayor, Nan Whaley, they asked to go in. "Could we possibly go in and make the tour with you?" I said, "Yes, let's do it."
They couldn't believe what they saw and they said it to people, they've never seen anything like it. The entire hospital no different than what we had in El Paso. The entire hospital was, I mean, everybody was so proud of the job they did, because they did a great job here and then I say goodbye. I took them in at their request. We made a tour. They couldn't believe it. She said it to people, he said it to people.
I get on Air Force One where they do have a lot of televisions. I turn on the television and then they are saying, "Well, I don't know if it was appropriate for the President to be here," et cetera, et cetera. The same old line. And they're very dishonest people and that's probably why he got I think about 0 percent and he failed as a presidential candidate.
We're going to go in and see some very great people and I wanted to make this hero before I did anything and we appreciate it. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So what happened in Ohio? Well, President Trump met with victims from the shooting in Dayton along with the Mayor and the Senator, Whaley and Brown. That visit clearly rattled the President because he got on the plane as he said from Ohio to Texas and then his Social Media Director, Dan Scavino, tweeted about the press conference that Whaley and Brown held after the visit. Here's the tweet.
"Very SAD to see Ohio Senator Brown and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley LYING & completely mischaracterizing what took place with the President's visit in Miami Valley Hospital today. The President was treated like a Rock Star inside the hospital, which was all caught on video. They all love seeing their great President."
The President then followed up that tweet with one of his own saying it was warm and wonderful visit, quote, then I saw a failed Presidential Candidate (0 percent) Sherrod Brown and Mayor Whaley totally misrepresenting what took place inside the hospital.. Their news conference after I left for El Paso was a fraud. It bore no resemblance to what took place with these incredible people that I was so lucky to meet and spend time with. They were all amazing.
In a sense, this is like living in an alternate universe because the President's and Scavino's description of Brown and Whaley's press conference seems to be completely at odds with what they actually said. Just listen to what they said about the President.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What did he say?
SENATOR SHERROD BROWN (D-OH): Well, he was comforting and he does the right things.
MAYOR NAN WHALEY (D-OH): He was very nice. I think the victims and the first responders were grateful that the President of the United States came to Dayton.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So the President did the right things. The victims were grateful that he was there. So Brown and Whaley were lying about what they said about the President when they said these good things about him then what were they lying about?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WHALEY: He was treated very well by the victims, for sure.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And do you have a response to the lying part, that Dan Scavino says you were lying?
WHALEY: I don't know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Now, Brown and Whaley said Trump's visit was the right thing and the victims were grateful. Trump says they're lying. We can only assume not about that, not about the fact that they said that it was a great thing that he came. But here's one important thing, we don't know what exactly happened inside that hospital because reporters were kept away.
Now, the White House says that's because the visit was not a photo op, which that's a good thing to say. But as Dan Scavino says there's all this video that's because they took video themselves, they then released the photos and a highly produced video of the visit even set to music, so I guess it wasn't a photo op. Jason Carroll is OUTFRONT live in Dayton.
Now Jason, look you spoke to the Dayton Mayor, obviously now the President's Social Media Director are saying that Whaley and Brown were lying, mischaracterizing. What do you know about what set the president off and made him so agitated?
[19:05:00] JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think there are a number of people who are questioning what set the President off this time. But look, I can tell you that I spoke to Nan Whaley, the Mayor of Dayton, and she was very clear about what happened with the President and the first responders and the victims there.
She was very clear and she said that these people were very happy to see them, to see the President, to see the first lady. She felt as though that the President brought comfort to many of the victims there at Miami Valley Hospital. And so I think there's a little bit of confusion as to why the President said that the Mayor and Senator Brown were lying.
I can tell you that the Mayor was very critical, very frustrated with the overall visit in terms of the President's non-response to trying to get something concrete, some sort of commitment from the President in terms of what if anything that he would do about gun safety legislation going forward. She made it very clear that she was very frustrated that that subject was brought up over and over again and the President said at one point, "Yes, we're going to do something," but was not specific about what that something would be.
And so perhaps the President was upset about the Mayor revealing that. We'll have to go back to the President and asked him about that. But in terms of his response to the victims that they were there, she was very clear that the victims were happy to see him.
BURNETT: I mean they couldn't have been more clear about that, that they were glad that he came and that the victims were very glad he was there, which obviously certainly one would think would matter greatly to the president who took the time to go. Thank you very much, Jason. OUTFRONT now, David Chalian, our Political Director, Molly Ball, Time
National Political Correspondent and Toluse Olorunnipa, White House Reporter for The Washington Post. And Toluse, I'm sorry, I know I didn't get that quite correctly. I will endeavor again.
David, before leaving for Dayton, Trump said he wanted to stay out of the Political fray. Are you saying surprised that he did what he did? He refers to 0 percent failed presidential candidate Sherrod Brown in a tweet and he has now just did that in El Paso again when meeting with first responders talking about Brown.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: No. Not surprised in the least. I can't imagine you are either or any of our viewers are, it's completely in pattern with the way that President Trump has conducted himself, especially when he feels under attack from his critics, from the press. This is his playbook and there's no stopping him from running these plays, even in the aftermath of our fellow citizens being killed in these horrific shooting.
So this, I think, is probably one of the least surprising things that we've seen in the Trump presidency that he injected politics into this day.
BURNETT: I mean, Toluse, as we see him right now live in El Paso just so everyone knows, he is at a command center with first responders greeting them. Look, the top aide for the President of the United States calls the Democrats in Ohio liars after they said they were glad he came.
Trump refers to Brown as a failed presidential candidate and we saw him in the room where he is right now live in El Paso just do the same. Part of what is jarring about this is that it came less than 48 hours after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Now is the time to set destructive partisanship aside, so destructive, and find the courage to answer hatred with unity, devotion and love.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Toluse, that was barely 48 hours ago and yet tonight, it is failed presidential candidate 0%, liar.
TOLUSE OLORUNNIPA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. If you compare those two videos, the video for Monday, the President reading from a teleprompter with a video we just saw of today, the President being extemporaneous and talking from his heart, you can tell that the President is much less comfortable reading those words, and sort of reading something that someone probably wrote for him compared to where he feels more comfortable, which is attacking someone, even creating a foil in this instance saying that Senator Brown and the Mayor were bad mouthing him and his visit.
He's sort of creating that because he's much more comfortable having a foil. He's not comfortable being the comforter in chief. He's not comfortable just going in and spending time with victims and not having a fight come out of it. The President saw that there are a number of people protesting against him in these local communities.
So he needed someone he can push back at. He pushed back at Joe Biden. He even pushed back at a Fox News anchor. And he also pushed back and fought against the Senator from Ohio and the mayor of the local community, in part because he's frustrated.
He spent hours on the plane watching all of the coverage of protests and people not happy that he was there and he wanted to have something to push back on and that's why he created the foil and spent so much time attacking local officials, because the President was not happy with how he was received, not necessarily in the hospital but with all of the protesters on the ground and that's part of the reason we saw that lashing out.
[19:10:07] BURNETT: Which is an interesting point, Toluse. And Molly, look, when the Mayor and the Senator said Trump was received well by the patients, the Mayor even said he was comforting, which you would think would be something that would make him feel very good. What is it that set him off?
MOLLY BALL, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I don't think we know exactly. I mean, he also tweeted about Vice President Biden speech, calling it boring. And as you pointed out, he's lashed out at various people, including some who didn't seem to deserve it. I think if anything is surprising here, it's certainly not that he's so thin skinned, that he seems to lack the self control to keep any of this to himself at any time.
But in this case, he seems to sort of be seeing ghosts. It's almost a paranoia that he's seeing attacks on him that, as far as we can tell, didn't actually happen, and it's just sort of divorced from reality in a way that I guess we've also become a little bit accustomed to. But the President and people around him are sometimes frustrated that he doesn't get more credit for speeches like the one with the teleprompter.
But this is the reason because everybody knows and he does have this consistent pattern of reverting to that nastiness and partisanship. The same nastiness and partisanship he was just decrying.
BURNETT: So, I mean, David Chalian, the other thing about these tweets are is Dan Scavino who's the Social Media Director, top aide to the President is traveling with him, he goes on Twitter after the President meets people who are recovering from being shot by a mass murderer in a hospital and refers to his boss and how his boss was treated with Rock Star, capital R, capital S, treated like a rock star all caught on video even though they say that this was not a photo op.
They all loved seeing their great president. Even at a moment like this, Dan Scavino is tweeting to the audience of one who's the guy sitting next to him on the plane, who needs to feel that he's a rock star and a great president. CHALIAN: Right. And by the way as we're discussing, Dan Scavino, his
word choice may be different but his account was backed up by Sherrod Brown, by the Mayor that he was well received.
BURNETT: Yes. They said that people were - totally.
CHALIAN: So his account is totally backed up by the people that the president then wanted to sort of smack back when he was on his way to El Paso. But clearly you are right, Erin, there is an audience of one mentality there and while they stressed on multiple occasions, this is not a photo-op we all understand how the President sort of perceives his presidency very much through how the camera captures it and portrays it and Dan Scavino is aware of that more than anyone else.
OLORUNNIPA: Well, this is a president who just a couple of days ago was talking about how angry he was that people were making these shootings about him, that this was just a crazy person who had nothing to do with him and he was unhappy that the linkage was being made between the President's own words about invasions and the manifesto. This racist screed that was put out by the shooter in El Paso.
But now the President seems to be wanting to make this entire visit about him. He wants this entire hospital visit that he's made to these two different communities to be not about the grieving communities not about the heroes and the people who were survivors in this case and even the people who are in mourning because they lost their loved ones.
He wants it to be about him, his fight against Democrats' partisanship. This is a pattern as we heard from this president where he likes to make things all about him.
BURNETT: And as Molly said, he likes to have that foil. All right. Thank you both or all of three of you, I'm sorry, very much as we look at the president live there in El Paso with those first responders. We are anticipating him to come out, perhaps speak again as he heads to Air Force One all during this hour.
Next, the Democratic frontrunner ripping into President Trump today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, FORMER UNITED STATES VICE PRESIDENT, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This president has fanned the flames of white supremacy in this nation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And Trump responded. Plus, a CNN exclusive, CNN learning the White House resisted attempts by the Department of Homeland Security to make domestic terror a high priority. Why? There were two words that they refused to use, they were white supremacy. And President Trump claims he is open tonight to stricter gun control laws. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Well, I'm looking to do background checks. I think background check is very important.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So will he follow through?
[19:18:07] BURNETT: New tonight, fanning the flames of hate. Former vice-president, 2020 candidate Joe Biden slamming President Trump's response to the mass shootings that left 31 people dead. Biden saying this on the campaign trail as Trump was flying from Dayton, Ohio to El Paso, Texas.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: He's both clear language and in code. This president has fanned the flames of white supremacy in this nation. His low-energy, vacant-eyed mouthing of the words written for him condemning white supremacists this week I don't believe fooled anyone at home or abroad.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Jessica Dean is OUTFRONT in Iowa City. Jessica, very strong words here from Joe Biden calling out the President's teleprompter reading on Monday when he did call out white supremacy. Of course, he hasn't otherwise but he did in that teleprompter speech clearly deliberate by Joe Biden, what is the strategy?
JESSICA DEAN, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Listen, Erin, this is the strongest rebuke yet we have heard from Joe Biden of President Trump. A senior Biden campaign officials saying this gets at the heart of why Joe Biden is running for president. They say this goes all the way back to when he got into this race.
He talked about Charlottesville how that was a turning point for him and that he really got into this race to make sure that in his words he could help restore the soul of America, because he believes that that is what is at stake here and that's what he carefully and forcefully laid out today in front of this crowd in Iowa. He even went so far as to go through former presidents going back to George H. W. Bush and what they've done in his words to live up to the office of the presidency and really unite Americans in times of trouble to rebuke hate and went all the way through President Obama and then simply said that President Trump in his eyes is not living up to that, that he's not up to the challenge.
And, Erin, this is the strategy that the Biden campaign has had from the beginning, which is to make this about Donald Trump.
[19:20:04] Look, we know that the last six to eight weeks have been a lot of the Democrats going back and forth at each other, but today it was all about Donald Trump and making the case to voters here in Iowa that something has to be restored, something that has been torn apart by President Trump has to be restored here in the United States, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Jessica, thank you very much. And OUTFRONT now Rob Astorino, a member of President Trump's 2020 Re-elect Advisory Council and former Clinton White House aide, sorry, Keith Boykin. OK, thanks to both.
So Rob, President Trump was clearly watching Biden's speech as he was flying to El Paso. He saw it on television. He tweeted that he was watching sleepy Joe Biden making a speech, so boring. "The LameStream Media will die in the ratings and clicks with this guy. It will be over for them, not to mention our country will do very poorly with him."
OK, should he just have stayed focused on his day and what he was doing and ignored Joe Biden?
ROB ASTORINO, MEMBER OF THE PRESIDENT'S 2020 RE-ELECT ADVISORY COUNCIL: Well, let me turn that around, shouldn't the media and more importantly shouldn't the Democrats and the leading candidate right now in the Democratic field Joe Biden who should know better, shouldn't they for a period of time not go on the attack, not fan the flames, not bring out things like white segregationist and white nationalists and supremacists and all of the stuff while the President is going to the two cities that were affected, meeting with family members.
Do you think the family members want to hear this nonsense from Beto O'Rourke and all of these other candidates who are doing everything political and nothing to actually heal what they're going through? They're ready to bury their loved ones and the Democrats are fundraising off this. They're calling on the white supremacists. Joe Biden of all people brings up George Wallace whom he received an award from in the 1970s.
I mean there is a period of time. You want to have these fights, that's fine. But this is a period where we should actually put the swords down and talk to the victims and care about them. Imagine if it were turned around, seriously just for a second if Obama or any other president were going to a place where we needed healing and the Republicans started all this kind of nonsense, what would the reaction be? They would be attacking Republicans in the media, right? Come on, Keith.
KEITH BOYKIN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE AIDE UNDER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: What can you say to what Rob just said?
ASTORINO: You can say you agree.
BOYKIN: You can say it's utter nonsense. I'm tired of having this discussion over and over again. We all know that Donald Trump is responsible for fanning the flames.
ASTORINO: And pulling the trigger as they've said? Is that correct? Well, literally Beto O'Rourke before the last body hit the ground was sitting there saying, boom, Donald Trump pulled the trigger and so are so many other Democrats. I mean, it is so out of bounds and nobody even cares about that anymore. That's the norm now.
BURNETT: So Keith, Biden --
BOYKIN: Are you finished?
ASTORINO: I'll go on, but I want you to respond to that.
BURNETT: I want to play something for you, Keith, but go ahead and respond.
BOYKIN: Today, the President of the United States within the past 24 hours attacked Beto O'Rourke. He's attacked the Ohio --
ASTORINO: He's responding to the attacks.
BOYKIN: Are you going to let me speak?
ASTORINO: But go ahead.
BOYKIN: He's attacked Beto O'Rourke ...
ASTORINO: Who called him what a white supremacist in the White House.
BOYKIN: ... are you going to let me speak? How do you create unity in a country when you have people who are working on behalf of Trump or speaking on behalf of Trump, Rob, who refuse to have a civil conversation but instead want to turn everything around to somebody else and don't want to address the issue. We're talking about the President of the United States, we're not talking about what other people do or say about the President.
Barack Obama spent five and a half years while a billionaire from New York lied about his birth certificate and he didn't go on TV every day or on Twitter every day and complain about it. He tried to be President where he brought the nation up. This guy brings us down ...
BURNETT: Then he just ignored, Rob.
BOYKIN: ... as I've said, he spent all day attacking people.
BURNETT: He said, "I am going to be the president today." Two Democrats in Ohio just said the victims were glad to see me and that I they were glad I came, but he slammed them.
ASTORINO: Keith just made my point, shouldn't we be respectful? Yes and it started with, it should have started with all of the Democratic candidates who Elizabeth Warren sent out a letter fundraising off this, OK, it's despicable.
BOYKIN: Donald Trump released a campaign ad today about his visit to Dayton.
ASTORINO: It's despicable.
BOYKIN: That was despicable.
ASTORINO: No, it was a tweet.
BOYKIN: It was a campaign ad. There was a campaign ad.
ASTORINO: It was a video of what he was doing there.
BOYKIN: Rob. Rob, I don't even know what to think of what you're saying right now because it's all lies. We know, let me just finish my - listen, I couldn't finish while you were doing your filibuster earlier today.
The Senator from Ohio Sherrod Brown, the Mayor of Dayton, Nan Whaley, Bernie Sanders, Beto O'Rourke, Elizabeth Warren, Shepard Smith, Fox News, The New York Times, the "LameStream Media" and CNN, those are the people who Donald Trump attacked just today on Twitter while he's supposed to be trying to unify the country after 31 people were shot and killed in El Paso and Dayton and you are going to sit here and tell me that the Democrats are responsible and not the President of the United States, where does the buck stop, Rob?
[19:25:06] I'm sick of having this conversation with you over and over again, you know better. This is ridiculous, why are we doing this?
ASTORINO: OK. Go back. OK ...
ASTORINO: ... viral moment, you just got it. Let's go back for a second.
BOYKIN: I'm not looking for a viral moment, I'm looking for some honesty from you. You know better than this.
ASTORINO: OK, you're getting honesty. I have not got any --
BOYKIN: Or maybe you don't know better than this. This is outrageous.
BURNETT: OK, Rob.
ASTORINO: Keith, I have not gone any honesty from the left.
BOYKIN: We're not talking about the left.
ASTORINO: Or quite frankly a lot of the media.
BOYKIN: We're talking about the President of the United States.
ASTORINO: I asked you, do you think it's appropriate? Do you think --
BOYKIN: What is his responsibility? Where does the buck stop, Rob?
ASTORINO: I asked you a question before, do you think it's appropriate ...
BOYKIN: You don't ask the questions here. Erin is the moderator. You won't even answer the question she asked.
BURNETT: All right. Pose your question, Rob, and then let's --
ASTORINO: OK, through the chair, may I ask a question, I asked you a question before, do you think appropriate that Elizabeth Warren sent out a fundraising letter in the middle of this? Do you think it's appropriate that ...
BOYKIN: What this does have to do with the President of the United States?
ASTORINO: Because it was the tone ...
BOYKIN: The President of the United States supposed to set the tone.
BURNETT: So Rob, here's my point to your question.
ASTORINO: And he did.
BURNETT: Here's my point to your question.
ASTORINO: He gave a speech in the Oval in the White House. He has gone to Dayton --
BOYKIN: And then he went out and started tweeting about attacking people, he attacked Barack Obama.
BURNETT: OK, hold on one second both of you. Hold on one second both of you.
BOYKIN: He attacked Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton ...
BURNETT: Hold on one second because you each have a very important question to answer.
ASTORINO: If he didn't go --
BURNETT: First of all, Rob, putting aside Democrats.
BURNETT: Shouldn't the President the United States set the tone he wants everyone else to follow, period, full stop.
ASTORINO: He did.
BURNETT: Except for that he didn't.
ASTORINO: He did.
BOYKIN: Rob, this is full of crap.
ASTORINO: And then he was viciously attacked by the left.
BOYKIN: This is full of crap.
ASTORINO: And the media ...
BURNETT: OK. OK, so that's not really answering the question. But you also, Keith, have an important question to answer.
ASTORINO: I did answer the question. He did set the tone.
BURNETT: Joe Biden who is the frontrunner came out today and I played part of what he said, but he also said things like this and I just want to play it quickly and ask you whether you think this is okay.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: Our president has aligned himself with the darkest forces in this nation. We have a president with a toxic tongue who was publicly and unapologetically embraced the political strategy of hate, racism and division. Our president has more in common with George Wallace than he does with George Washington. His incompetence, his immorality, his carnage stops with us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: He used the word carnage, four days after the mass shooting, putting all of those things together. Should Joe Biden have done that speech today on the day the President was going to visit victims?
BOYKIN: I don't know. I'm not here to attack or criticize Joe Biden.
ASTORINO: Come on, you attacked me for not - the answer is no.
BOYKIN: No, but ...
BURNETT: I'll give - at least, Keith is saying I don't know, that was more than he would say about Trump.
ASTORINO: No, I said before I answered your question.
BOYKIN: But let me just say this, I'm not here to attack or defend Joe Biden, but I will say this, I think that ...
ASTORINO: Keith, it was wrong.
BOYKIN: ... well, first of all ...
ASTORINO: It was wrong.
BOYKIN: ... I'm not sure whether it's wrong because I just heard that for the first time right now, I don't know really ...
ASTORINO: What else do you need to hear? It was inflammatory.
BOYKIN: ... in content. I don't think that anything that Joe Biden said in the earlier remark about Donald Trump fanning the flames is inaccurate and I don't see any lies in that part. But let me just tell you this, Donald Trump is the only President of the United States we have right now. It's not Elizabeth Warren. It's not Beto O'Rourke. It's not Joe Biden. It's not myself. It's not anybody else, but Donald Trump and the president has to set the tone.
Barack Obama did that. George W. Bush did that. Every other president in my lifetime has tried to set the tone, even when they were unfairly attacked, they tried to set the tone. This guy speaks with forked tongue. He gives one speech for 10 minutes and then we're supposed to forget about the four years of lies and racism and xenophobia and bigotry that he's responsible for. That is not right.
ASTORINO: The answer is no. It was inappropriate for them to be doing what they've been doing over the last four days. If they want to go on these attacks next week, go ahead.
BOYKIN: Then it's also inappropriate for Donald Trump to release a campaign ad?
ASTORINO: He is responding to what they were attacking him on.
BOYKIN: Donald Trump didn't start any of this. Donald Trump didn't start any of this. Give me a break. That's not true.
BURNETT: But, Rob, why does he respond? He went on Twitter today. By the way, after Sherrod Brown said it was good that he came to visit and the people were glad to see him. He criticized him on gun control.
ASTORINO: But he also went - no, Sherrod Brown also said other things.
BURNETT: He criticized him on gun control.
ASTORINO: And he could have said ...
BURNETT: That's a policy dispute, OK?
ASTORINO: Yes. And I think what he could have said is, "Today, is not the day. We're here in the hospital."
BOYKIN: Why does the President have to respond every time attack --
(CROSSTALK) BURNETT: OK. The President tweets, "I saw a failed presidential
candidate 0 percent Sherrod Brown and Mayor Whaley misrepresenting what took place inside the hospital."
ASTORINO: Yes, they did.
BURNETT: OK, what they said took place inside the hospital that people were very happy to see the President, that he was a comforter and they were glad he was there. So I don't know what he takes issue with, Rob, but it's hopeful it wasn't that.
BOYKIN: He takes issue as ...
BOYKIN: ... attention.
BURNETT: OK, hold on. Hold on. Beto O'Rourke, Beto slams the President, does the President need to come out and say he's now embarrassed by polling at 1 percent in the Democratic Party or by coming out on tape today and saying this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Well, Joe is a pretty incompetent guy. I've watched his interviews, I've watched what he said and how he said it, and I wouldn't have rated him very in the first place, but Joe Biden has truly lost his fast ball, that I can tell you.
My critics are political people. They're trying to make points. In many cases they're running for President and they're very low in the polls.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:30:02] BURNETT: I mean, Rob, at the least, can you admit, it's bizarre that he has to talk about polls so much? What does where people are polling in the Democratic Party to do with anything right now?
ASTORINO: Look, that was his response. Do I think he -- and I've said these things in the past -- do I think he should have taken the bait and responded to these? No, I don't.
However, you know, the media and certainly the presidential candidates and the left has been criticizing him unfairly in many ways, and attacking him. What if I called you a white nationalist and segregationist, are you going to sit there and take it? You're not going to.
BOYKIN: What about lying about someone's birth certificate? He just took it. Barack Obama was a man. He was a president of the United States.
BOYKIN: He didn't respond to every stupid lie that Donald Trump put out there. This fie is irresponsible and reckless and that's not the behavior we want from a president of the United States.
ASTORINO: You want to have the fights have those fights. But these last four days.
BOYKIN: You should have that fight conversation with him.
ASTORINO: These four days should be off limits and the Democrats have not made it off limits.
BOYKIN: You tell that to Donald Trump. No, you tell that to Donald Trump. Don't tell me where the Democrats are doing.
ASTORINO: Julian Castro, Beto O'Rourke, Cory Booker and the list goes on.
BOYKIN: None of those people are he needs to act like it.
BURNETT: As the president points out either none or one will be the president but there is only one president.
BOYKIN: Thank you.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much.
And next, breaking news, President Trump wrapping up his visit in El Paso. We will hear from one official who didn't want the president to be there. Does he think the president did the right thing like the mayor and the senator in Ohio?
Plus, President Trump insists his divisive rhetoric actually brings people together. So, how does he explain this characterization of migrants?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are cutting loose dangerous criminals into our country.
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[19:35:43] BURNETT: Breaking news, President Trump wrapping up his trip to El Paso as I speak. Moments ago, he just met with first responders. He also visited victims of the mass shooting. He visited with hospital staff.
Heading now back to Air Force One and then to Washington. We are keening an eye as he boards the flight.
There have been protests in El Paso during the president's visit.
Boris Sanchez is in El Paso. He's outside the Walmart where the massacre happened.
Boris, does the president think his visit went well today in El Paso?
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Erin, given what the president said at this regional command center where he stopped a short while ago, it appears he does think that this was a positive visit, saying that the respect, the admiration of the office of the president receives made it an amazing day.
We should point out according to the White House pool, there was somebody standing out with a large bed sheet that read "racist go home". That's generally the sentiment I've heard from people I talked to in El Paso. A sentiment that the president can't console the community in part because of the rhetoric used against immigrants.
This is largely an immigrant descendant community. Just behind me, there is someone on a microphone right now. A few minutes ago, they were deriding the president. Somebody walking around a Trump pinata, holding signs say, Trump go home. On some of the memorials, there are signs, asking this president essentially to speak out against white supremacy.
There is certainly a cynicism about this visit. People telling me earlier that they believe the president seeking a photo opportunity. We should point out before he left the White House, the president shot back at many of his Democratic rivals and even Republicans who were criticizing his visit, calling them opportunists looking for political talking points -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Boris, thank you.
And also on your screen, you can see the president's motorcade arriving at the airport in El Paso, just pulling up right now to Air Force One. And you will see momentarily as he boards Air Force One to head back to Washington, D.C. This is the second of two visits as I mentioned, been in El Paso visiting a hospital and first responders. And that came after a visit to Dayton this morning around lunchtime.
There he is. We'll just see as he gets out. He is with First Lady Melania Trump who has been with him at all the visits during the day.
Let me bring in Republican Congressman Will Hurd of Texas as we watch the president get ready to board Air Force One.
Congressman, obviously, you are on the Intelligence Committee, former undercover CIA agent.
Your district is adjacent to that of El Paso. Of course, you've got the longest border district of any in this country.
Do you understand why some people there, including friend, former congressman and current Democratic candidate for president, Beto O'Rourke, didn't want the president to come?
REP. WILL HURD (R-TX): I understand how they you've articulated that and the concerns that they've had, and some concerns people in the community have. But this was an opportunity for the president to be a uniter-in-chief. He needs to continue the rhetoric that, you know, that he started earlier this week and condemning white nationalism, terrorism. We got to -- we want to make sure we continue to see this.
And I think earlier, before he departed on this trip, he talked about wanting to strengthen the loopholes in the background check process.
So, I hope that some of the Democrats on the Senate side who aren't running for president work with the White House to try to work on that piece of legislation. I was one of eight Republicans that supported that in the -- when it passed the House of Representatives.
I also hope as we look in appropriating funds for -- the next fiscal year, 2020, that we make sure the Department of Homeland Security has enough money to focus on countering violent extremism, and violent extremism is more than just Islamic terrorism. It should be focused on white nationalist terrorists.
And we know -- you know, there was a study done last year by the Secret Service when they looked at 27 events, mass casualty events within the year, that someone being killed three times or more, three or for four more people killed in one of the events.
[19:40:01] And what they found was a majority of the -- three fourths of the folks people that were involved in the killing had exhibited some kind of statement that they were going to do something. And more than half of them had -- had other people report that behavior.
So what does this mean? This means that we have an opportunity to try to disrupt the radicalization process that many of these folks are going through.
BURNETT: So, let me ask you, because you just raised a lot of things, and I want to follow up on all of them. Just so everybody sees the president getting out of the Beast, his car and getting ready to head to Air Force One with Melania Trump.
So, Congresswoman, you bring up Department of Homeland Security getting what it needs and the fact that the great threat is from white supremacy linked domestic terror in the mass shooting incidents you talk about, mass casualty. We learned tonight at CNN that the White House fought the Department of Homeland Security for more than a year. DHS wanted domestic terror a greater priority.
The White House was focused on international jihad. They fought a year against mentioning domestic terror in their national counterterrorism strategy document. They ultimately added a paragraph. But this was a fight for a year to get it mentioned. You just gave the statistics.
Could this be significant? HURD: Well, it should. And I think -- let's focus -- a lot of times
what we have seen the last couple of days is focusing on the things that actually divide us rather than what unites us. I think you have seen many -- if not most of my Republican colleagues come out talk specifically about El Paso as being an incident of white nationalist terrorists. You had the president say that and use those words. You have federal law enforcement local law enforcement.
And so, yes, I think when we are back in session that we should be focusing on where is this money going, how do we appropriate it? Should CBP (ph), the way --
BURNETT: Are you worried the fight over words, the refusal to put it in as a top threat actually affected the Department of Homeland Security's ability to catch killers?
HURD: Well, I would said that the entity that would be responsible for catching these killers would be the local law enforcement but also the FBI. They would be the lead agency dealing with hate crimes. And I also note that FBI is overwhelmed with the number of tips that they get.
We have -- you know, one of the conversations that has been had over the last couple days is if you see something on social media take a screen shot, share it with local law enforcement, the FBI. We know people are doing that, because the FBI is overwhelmed with these things. So, where someone --
BURNETT: Do they need more resources from the Trump -- than the president has given thus far?
HURD: I don't think it's necessarily a lack of willingness to give the resources. I think it's just something that has ballooned. And what we also need to do -- you know, the volume of information that could be -- that is being provided right now is in the -- is petabytes, right? That's a big number, let's put it that way.
And so, we should be having conversations. Why don't we have algorithms that sit on the social media companies on their side to help identify that? The algorithm should be trained by federal law enforcement to help narrow the focus of the limited resources that we have in the FBI.
BURNETT: So can I ask you -- because when the White House added the reference to domestic terror to the document after this year fight, they did not use the words white supremacy, right? Those are the director of the FBI, Christopher Wray, obviously, in your role on the Intelligence Committee, formerly on Homeland Security.
BURNETT: You know that he testified that those words are the right words. White supremacy.
BURNETT: They did not use those words. You have said, Congressman, and very passionately that words matter.
BURNETT: Why do you think Trump's White House refused to use the words white supremacy when it is the greatest domestic terror threat?
HURD: Well, I can't answer that question because I was I wasn't involved in the conversations. I'm sure, we'll try to get to the bottom of this.
But the question is now going forward, the language that people are using now -- all right, the focus on trying to solve these problems now, I think this is important. That's what I'm going to focus on and work towards because we can help disrupt this attack cycle.
The Secret Service has a program where it's a behavioral threat, analysis, management program. And they've been using this for decades in order to identify these kinds of threats, investigate these threats, and potentially mitigate these threats. There is a piece of legislation that Brian Babin from Houston, who's a Republican, and Val Demings from Florida, who's a Democrat --
HURD: -- that has bipartisan support to make sure those tools are provided to local law enforcement.
[19:45:02] So, these are some of the ways we can make sure we prevent this happening.
BURNETT: All right. Congressman Hurd, I appreciate your time. And I look forward to having you on as many times as we can until obviously as we said you are not running for re-election. Thanks so much.
HURD: I can still come on after that, too, Erin.
BURNETT: Yes, you can. Thank you.
And OUTFRONT next, the 2020 candidates mounting one of the most aggressive attacks on President Trump. Do they risk going too far?
Plus, breaking news this hour, the president just wrapping up his visit to El Paso on Air Force One right now, as you see that is a live picture of the tarmac in El Paso ready for take off.
I'm going to speak to one official who is against the president's visit. But the president was there. So, has he changed his mind? Does he think Trump struck the right tone?
BURNETT: Tonight, the fight for 2020, Cory Booker slams Trump, saying the president is endangering American lives with hateful words.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It was sowed by those who spoke the same words, the El Paso murderer did warning of an invasion. It was sowed by those who spoke of an infestation of disgusting cities, rats and rodents. It was sowed by those who have drawn of an equivalence between neo-Nazis and those who protest them.
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[19:50:01] BURNETT: Booker joining other Democrats calling out President Trump in the wake of two mass shootings in which 31 people were massacred.
Former Vice President Joe Biden equating Trump with avowed white supremacist George Wallace, saying he has more in common with Wallace than Washington.
Beto O'Rourke is still spending time with grieving families after saying Trump is the most racist president this country had since Andrew Johnson and that he is responsible for the hatred and violence we're seeing right now.
OUTFRONT now, Democratic presidential candidate, former Maryland Congressman, John Delaney.
And, Congressman, I appreciate your time tonight.
Look, so many of your rivals are ratcheting up the rhetoric against Trump today. Bernie Sanders tweeting he's an overt racist and xenophobe. Biden saying he's fanned the flames of white supremacy, along with George Wallace and other comments.
Is this the right tone for today when Trump is visiting victims and first responders? Is it wrong or is it the right time because Americans are focused on it?
JOHN DELANEY (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Listen, I can't disagree with anything my opponents for the Democratic nomination have said that you just read. You know, the timing of it is always a difficult question for everyone, but the real question is what are we going to do going forward? Is the president going to change? Is he going to stop having a spineless attitude towards the NRA? Is he going to change his rhetoric and stop kind of putting out all this hateful rhetoric that he's been doing?
That to me is really the question that I think people, you know, should be asking themselves is how are we going to handle this going forward? There are things we need to do now, there is action we need to take now to ensure that the American people are safe.
And there is action that the president needs to take now. He needs to change his tone. He needs to dial down the noise and change his rhetoric and that is important now in the United States.
BURNETT: So, I want to ask you about going forward on gun control. It's something that you have taken on, but first to that point.
BURNETT: You know, Joe Biden said, talked about the president being low energy and vacant eyed as he read the prompter calling out white supremacy two days ago. Look, he's making it clear that the president doesn't get another chance, that his long history of comments and fanning the flames, as you Joe Biden puts it, there is nothing he can do or say that will change it.
Do you agree?
DELANEY: Look, the president has made clear how he feels on this issue, based on the kind of things he said since he's been the president of the United States and the kinds of things he said when he was running for president, talking about invasion, about infestations, about telling people to go back to their countries. This has been terrible hateful rhetoric.
And so, I think we all know where he stands on this issue. It would be better if he changed it. That would obviously be better for the American people if we had a president while he is still being -- while he is still the president, which people like me are fighting really hard for the opportunity to beat him in 2020. But until that moment, it would be better for the American people if he changed his approach, his rhetoric, that would of usually be better for everyone and I hope he does that.
BURNETT: Certainly, obviously, today, we didn't see that. He was at least slamming as many Democrats as he could, those who complimented him. On the issue of executive action --
DELANEY: He should lift up.
BURNETT: You've been obviously in Congress so you know about executive orders. He says he might do background checks by executive order. I understand talking to lawyers this would be complicated, it's not easy if you can do gun control through executive order, Barack Obama would have done it.
Do you think there's going to be any change on background checks, where the president take on Mitch McConnell?
DELANEY: I think it would be terrific if the president did universal background checks based on executive order. You have to remember, background checks are actually the law of the land except we have a massive loophole that's being exploited, right? So, actually, what we're talking about doing is closing the loophole.
The same thing with limitations on these military-style weapons which should not be on the streets of the United States of America. We passed a law actually on a bipartisan basis back in the '90s to get these off our streets, right? The American people support this. They support it back then.
(CROSSTALK) BURNETT: The president said there's not a political will for that. So, he's saying no political will for assault weapons.
DELANEY: Well, I think he's wrong.
There may not be the political will if your audience is the NRA, but there is the political will to do it if your audience is the United States of America, if your audience is mothers.
You know, in New Hampshire six months ago, Erin, I was talking to a young police officer in Manchester, New Hampshire, and he told me the most popular item in the elementary schools this past year was not some new kind of sneaker or not some new toy but it was bulletproof backpacks, made of Kevlar. Just think about that.
That's what American families are thinking they have to buy for their kids to go to school. And we've allowed this to happen. We've allowed ourselves to get to this place.
So, I think there is the will if you have the spine, and if you're willing to stand up to special interests like the NRA.
[19:55:05] BURNETT: All right. Appreciate your time. Congressman Delaney, thank you very much.
DELANEY: Thank you.
BURNETT: And next, I'll speak to an official from El Paso who didn't want president Trump to be there today. After seeing the president meet with victims and first responders, has he changed his mind?
BURNETT: Breaking news, President Trump just departing El Paso, Texas. When he landed, the president was greeted by a group of supporters and allies, all Republicans on the ground shaking his hand.
OUTFRONT now, El Paso County Commissioner David Stout, a Democrat.
Commissioner Stout, let me start with what today, you know, Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio said he wanted to meet with the president so he could to him about gun control, so he took this meeting and then afterwards was complimentary, putting aside the president's subsequent slam of Senator Brown.
Do you think Democrats who refuse to meet with the president, including your congresswoman, Congresswoman Escobar, missed an opportunity to have their voices heard by him?
DAVID STOUT (D), EL PASO COUNTY COMMISSIONER: Well, from what I understand, Congresswoman Escobar, I don't think she refused to meet with him. I think she asked for him to give her a call before he came into town, and he refused to do that. So, you know, that's what I've heard.
I do think that at some point, congresswoman and President Trump need to talk and they need to work this out. President Trump needs to reach out to her and apologize, I think, and tell her, tell us what he's going to do to make sure this never happens again.
BURNETT: So I know that you were very open commissioner, about not wanting the president to come to El Paso. Obviously, when he went to Dayton, again, I put aside the subsequent brouhaha between him and the Democratic leaders, they said they were glad that he came, the victims were glad that he came, and that he was comforting to them.
Do you think the president struck the right tone in El Paso?
STOUT: You know, I was not with him when he went to the hospital. I was not able to go to the 911 center where he was speaking, so I can't speak for any of the victims and how they felt with his visit and I'm sure that folks within law enforcement, I know that he was here thanking folks in law enforcement and first responders that were on the scene, I'm sure they were thankful for that. You know --
BURNETT: Do you think it's a good thing he tried to take on the roll of consoler and chief or no?
STOUT: It's hard to tell. I haven't seen pictures or heard from folks in the hospital. I heard some comments from folks that work in the hospital, some of them who are Mexicans were scared and getting stressed, you know, even though they legally felt stressed.
But, you know, I certainly hope that the victims felt that he visited and felt consoled but, you know, this community is in pain still, and, you know, I think the vast majority of the folks were not happy he was here.
BURNETT: All right. Commissioner Stout, appreciate you taking the time with your thoughts. Thank you.
BURNETT: And thanks so much to all of you for being with us, as always.
"AC360" starts now.