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Miami Dolphins Owner Facing Backlash Over Trump Support; Mississippi ICE Raids Targets Hundreds; Trump Brags About Crowd Size During El Paso Hospital Visit. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired August 8, 2019 - 15:00   ET



SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The child and his family had -- you know, he had gone to the fairgrounds. They were trying to have a good time.


SIDNER: I should mention this also.

The attorney for Brockway, the suspect, had said that his client did have a brain injury and has problems with impulse control.

Get this. He said that Brockway takes the rhetoric of President Trump literally and is angered any time he thinks someone's disrespecting the flag.

So, apparently, he thought this child was disrespecting the flag, and he attacked him -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Words matter.

Sara Sidner, thank you.

You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

We have new reporting about the suspect in this weekend's mass shooting in El Paso. We will get to those details in just a second, but first just a glimpse into what the president said to first responders behind closed doors during his visit to a hospital in the town that was in mourning.

While 22 families began to plan funerals and wounded survivors still lying in their hospital beds, the president of the United States said this to a room of emergency workers.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I was here three months ago. We made a speech and we had -- and what was the name of the arena?

That place was... (CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: ... right? Right. The judge is a respected...


TRUMP: What was the name?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was in the front row.

TRUMP: Come here.

That was some crowd.


TRUMP: We had twice the number outside. And then you had this crazy Beto. Beto had like 400 people in a parking lot. They said his crowd was...


BALDWIN: You heard him.

And just think. Young men, women children were trying to heal in hospital beds feet away from him, and he wanted to talk about himself and the crowd size at one of his rallies.

Monday, when the president addressed the nation, reeling off the deadly weekend in a prepared teleprompter speech, he called for political unity.

But, in the past four days, the president has attacked or insulted at least a dozen people or groups, either using Twitter or a microphone.

And in the hours between hospital visits in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, he couldn't stop himself from launching insults at 35,000 feet up, using Twitter against the former vice president, ripping media coverage, and turning the attention back to himself.

So let's start there with CNN's Kaitlan Collins, who was live at the White House.

And you have some new reporting about how Trump aides are viewing the visit.


You will remember yesterday we saw several of the president's aides come out defending his demeanor during those trips where we were in Dayton, Ohio, but also in El Paso, Texas, saying that local officials were mischaracterizing what happened behind closed doors when cameras were not in there, because the White House said they weren't going to let reporters into the hospitals while the president was visiting with those patients and their medical staff.

But now we're learning behind the scenes, not everyone back here at the White House thinks that visit was as successful as they were claiming publicly that it was. They're conceding that the president's behavior was not exactly what they were hoping for when the president was trying to strike this tone of being this consoler in chief yesterday.

They thought he spent too much time lashing out of those local officials after he left Ohio and was on his way to Texas. And, of course, the president was fuming not just about the coverage of that trip, but also at his own aides, because they didn't let the cameras into the hospitals where the president was visiting with those patients and medical staff, which we saw a little bit of that on that video where he's talking about crowd sizes.

But the president wanted the reporters and their cameras in the room. Now, officials defended not letting them come in, as because it's out of respect for the patients in that hospital. But the president was saying he didn't feel like he was getting enough coverage or enough credit for his trip there and for his response.

So what we're being told is that essentially the president spent that plane ride back from El Paso, Texas, here to Washington last night fuming about the response to that trip. But behind the scenes, his aides do not think, from the administration's viewpoint, that it was a successful trip at all.

BALDWIN: I want to bring in our colleague Ed Lavandera. He's in El Paso again today.

And, Ed, you were there yesterday. You were in the thick of it as the president was there and was visiting with victims and first responders.

What's your response to hearing now from Kaitlan that Trump aides maybe think that the visit wasn't so well-received?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we had a sense that it was going to be an awkward, tense visit on some levels.

We have heard like a mixed bag from victims and family members that we have been speaking with in the days leading up to the visit. Remember, all of these patients are being cared for at two different hospitals. And the president only visited one of the hospitals.

And there, it was kind of a mixed bag. I spoke with two men who were survivors. They had rushed to the scene to help rescue members of that youth soccer team, those children that were hiding under a car in the parking lot.


They told me that they welcomed the president's visited, and that they hope that they're -- by speaking to them, that they would have a message of unity for the president and for people seeing But we also heard from a number of others who said that they refused

to meet with the president. The family of Michelle Grady, the 33- year-old woman who was just outside of the entrance to the Walmart who was shot and wounded three times, she is undergoing a four- or five- hour surgery today.

Her family told us that they had no interest in meeting with the president. And we have heard that from several other people as well. So clearly not everybody inside that hospital was anxious to get face time with the president yesterday.


I just want to -- back to his behavior, Kaitlan, it's just wrong. And if we don't call it out, his behavior is normalized, right? So, in addition to an insult-filled week after calling for unity, what was that, Monday afternoon, he brings up crowd size at the hospital?

COLLINS: Yes, something that wasn't much of a surprise to people who know the president well or pay attention to his past remarks, because that's often something the president talks about.

And when he thinks of El Paso, he associates it with that February rally, the rally I was at, where, of course, the big story of that day was this showdown between the president and Beto O'Rourke. So that is what is on his mind when he's going to El Paso. That's what he associates El Paso with, along with that argument for the border wall.

So it's something he brought up. In that video, you can't tell what exactly the response is, because then the president starts talking about taking videos and photos with the people that he's speaking with at that hospital.

But, of course, this is a question about why the president is mentioning crowd sizes while he's visiting with these two cities, these two cities who are still in mourning, of course.

And certainly, as Ed is noting, there were people there that were happy to see the president, but, as we saw in Dayton, Ohio, just in front of the that bar where those nine people were gunned down over the weekend, there were people who also did not want the president there, in addition to his supporters, going back and forth.

And that was kind of a big takeaway for the day, because typically after a mass shooting, you're not seeing this kind of controversy over the president's visit. But that is something you saw very much on the streets of Dayton and in El Paso, where there were people who did not want the president there, along with people who thought it was just fine for the commander in chief to come.

BALDWIN: I was talking to Tara Setmayer last hour, and she was telling me the story about during the wars overseas with President Bush, Ed, that President George W. Bush was at Walter Reed, and he ran into -- he was speaking with a soldier who was pretty badly injured

And there was a mother who was really angry at the president, right? And, according to this story, President Bush stood there, and he took it. He let this mother just -- she lit into him. And then when they were boarding -- it was Dana Perino's story.

And when they were boarding back on Air Force One, he said to Dana essentially, wow, that mama was really mad at me, right?

But this point of the story was that that was a president -- and you can think of several on both sides of the aisle, right -- who knew something god-awful had happened to whether it's a soldier or a child in El Paso, and he took it, he took it. He didn't insult others or brag about crowd size, Ed.

LAVANDERA: Well, and, really, when you consider the scene inside of that hospital, this is just four days after this massacre, where you had emergency teams working around the clock, people literally hanging on and fighting for their lives.

There is one man who is going through extensive surgeries and still in critical condition. The family of Michelle Grady that I told you about, she's undergoing a four-to-five hour surgery today. These are doctors and medical professionals who are taking this very personally.

They say that, you know, they don't want to lose anymore. So they are in the care of these hospital professionals. They are doing whatever they can to make -- that is what is first and foremost on their minds.

And you're also walking into to a situation that is incredibly raw. I mean, these are people who -- with extensive gruesome wounds. In some cases, they're sedated. They are in medically induced comas, whatever the case might be.

These are these are people and families that are watching their loved ones hang on for their dear lives.


Ed, thank you so much for covering these men and women and shining a light on El Paso.

And, Kaitlan, it was -- I'm glad we were there in Dayton this week. Thank you very much.

Some calls for gun reform are growing louder after the shootings in both of those cities. Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan and gun safety group Moms Demand Action are leading a caravan of protests today.

And their destination is the Kentucky office of the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell.


And so they hit the road in Niles, Ohio, early this morning. They have stopped off in Cincinnati.

And Kristine Woodworth is joining me now. She is the Ohio chapter leader of Moms Demand Action. And so, Kristine, thank you so much for coming on. I know I said a

quick hello to you as we were both there in Dayton for a second there yesterday. And it's my honor to have you on.

This weekend's shootings became the 15th and 16th shootings in 2019 involving the deaths of four or more people. So why do you think these events, why this time might this put more pressure on Leader McConnell to do something?

KRISTINE WOODWORTH, MOMS DEMAND ACTION: Well, I just think, Brooke, that it's accumulation.

All of these events have accumulated on top of each other. And I think people have really -- have really had it. Moms Demand Action has been on the ground working on this issue for five years. And we have built an infrastructure and the tools that people can use.

And so, this time, when these events happen, there's somebody for people to reach out to. There's somewhere for them to go, and we can bring them into our organization and put them to work tomorrow, today on gun violence prevention.

So I think that amplifies all of our voices.

BALDWIN: It seems that, in the aftermath of any of these tragedies, the calls to write elected officials grow louder.

But what do you say to someone who's made the phone calls, written all the letters and feels hopeless?

WOODWORTH: I have been that person from time to time. It's easy to feel hopeless, because we don't see things necessarily changing or changing as fast as we'd like them to.

But we are making a difference. Things are moving. And, right now, there's a groundswell of voices calling for things to change.

We have had a lot of successes with Moms Demand Action at the state level over the past few years. When we turned the House of Representatives in 2018, we were able to get a background check bill passed at the federal level for the first time in -- since Manchin- Toomey bill.

That bill is sitting on Senator McConnell's desk ready for him to bring it to the Senate for a vote. And that's what we're asking him to do today with this Caravan of Change.

BALDWIN: You mentioned background checks.

"The Washington Post" reports that, after President Trump publicly expressed support for background checks earlier this week, that the NRA chief executive, Wayne LaPierre, actually called the president to tell him it would not be popular among Trump supporters.

And CNN confirmed the conversation happened. So I'm curious if you think, just in your five years with Moms, do you

think the NRA has been weakened? Do you think Wayne LaPierre has the president's ear in the same way he has in years past?

WOODWORTH: I think -- honestly, I think we have the NRA on the run a little bit.

The majority of people, including gun owners, including NRA members, stand with us on background checks. Wayne LaPierre may not agree, but most of his members do. And that's why we need the Senate majority leader and we need President Trump to listen to us, to listen to the people, instead of to the special interest groups.

BALDWIN: Kristine Woodworth, thank you very much with Moms Demand Action. Thank you.

WOODWORTH: Thanks for having me.

BALDWIN: You got it.

Still had here on CNN, sources telling us that the White House has pushed back on efforts by Homeland Security officials to make threats from white supremacists and domestic terrorists a greater priority. We will dig into why.

But, first, heart-wrenching videos of children crying for their parents after the largest ICE raid in history in a single state. Immigration officials say more than 300 people have since been released. And CNN just spoke with some of them today. So stand by for that.

You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.



BALDWIN: We're back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

Federal prosecutors call it record-setting. It is the largest immigration raid in one state ever, with 680 people arrested. The 2020 Democratic presidential candidates call it something else entirely, evil, says Bernie Sanders, inhumane, says Elizabeth Warren.

Pete Buttigieg calls it a policy disaster, while Cory Booker calls it moral vandalism.

No doubt they are all thinking about these precious children. They were the ones left behind after Homeland Security arrested undocumented workers at seven sites in six cities in Mississippi.

ICE says the operation was a year in the making after a major investigation which used informants at food processing plants, according to an official.

But this 11-year-old girl, all she knows is that her dad was taken away from her.


MAGDALENA GOMEZ GREGORIO, FATHER DETAINED IN ICE RAID: Governments, fill your heart. Let my parents be free with everybody else, please.

Don't leave the childs with crying-ness and everything. I need my dad and mommy. My dad didn't do nothing. He's not a criminal.



Listen to another child, a 12-year old, as she asks for her mother. You can hear her weeping in this clip recorded by a woman just there on the scene.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please, can I just see my mother, please?



BALDWIN: CNN's Dianne Gallagher is in Mississippi there covering the aftermath now of this raid.

And, Dianne, the girl you can hear pleading for her mother, at least, were they reunited?

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Brooke, I actually just got done speaking with her mother about an hour-and-a-half ago at their home.

Her mother was released last night. It turned out they put her on a bus that released her at a different plant in the middle of the night about an hour away from her home, but a family friend was able to take her daughter with her to go pick her up. They're together now.

But I'm going to be honest. They're scared. They're reconsidering their options. That little girl is a U.S. citizen. And that is, in part, according to her mother, why they let her go. She was one of roughly 270 people, according to ICE, that were let go once they were processed after being detained.

She was from this particular site right here behind me. She's scared, though. She doesn't know what this means for her next. She says she knows she can't go back to her job here at the chicken plant, someplace that she has been working to support her family. And her daughter is frightened for her to leave the house at this point.

It truly has affected them in a way that she said she didn't expect would be. She'd had a bad feeling for a while. But she didn't think it was going to be like this, with all of these people from this community being rounded up together.

She talked about being in that processing center, everybody pushing them into dividing them in different areas. And she and the people that she was divided off to, she said, got to go home. She doesn't know what happened to the other people.

We know that roughly 30 individuals were released for humanitarian reasons. Now, that could be that both they and their spouse were detained and there was a child at home. They may have been pregnant or nursing, according to officials.

But that's not even half of the people who were detained yesterday, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Glad you're there. Glad you're talking to these families. Please keep these stories coming.

Dianne Gallagher, thank you very much.

I want to turn now to someone who used to work for ICE. Elliot Williams served as assistant director in Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He was also a deputy assistant attorney general.

So, Elliot, nice to have you back.


BALDWIN: On the point of these kids, because that's just what I keep coming back to, do you think this administration calculated, thought about the fact that all these kids would just be left alone?

WILLIAMS: I don't know, because we know that they deliberately separated parents from their kids earlier in the administration.

And so it's hard to see that the care of children, many of whom are U.S. citizens, mind you, and I believe, as one of the little girls talked about here was, I don't think that was really a factor.

I think a big issue here with this, this entire enforcement operation, they have identified that it -- or they have said that it was building support for a big criminal case they were working on. But they could have done that without arresting 600 people.

And what they could have done, a far simpler way to go about it, if they wanted to truly target these employers, was audit their record- keeping, look at the documentation they have, if that's what they wanted to do.

But it seems that this wasn't really to build a criminal case. It was to frighten more people and keep demonizing immigrants. And that's sort of what the effect has been. And, look, they have succeeded, if that was their goal.

BALDWIN: Mm-hmm.

A bit more on what we know. Actually, do you -- a bit more on what we know. CNN has learned that ICE will release a number of detainees from these raids because of child care issues. So we don't know the number of children who are now without their parents. But what happens to the kids?

Where do they go?

WILLIAMS: You mean kids -- I'm sorry. Kids who've been separated from their...

BALDWIN: The kids who have been separated, where do they go?

WILLIAMS: Perhaps if they have another individual who can care for them in the family, they would go to them. If they don't have any other individual, they might go into the custody of Department of Health and Human Services.

The problem is that, as we know from the past couple years, Department of Health and Human Services doesn't have a spectacular record of keeping track of children in its custody. And so this is -- this is the face of all of this.

And, again, they have a tremendous amount of discretion in terms of how they carry out their enforcement priorities. This was the whole point in the Obama administration of attempting at least to put in some guardrails on how enforcement actions were carried out.

It seems that this has been done with the goal is to do this all with this hatchet and not a scalpel.

BALDWIN: Elliot, thank you, Elliot Williams.

Coming up next: the billionaire owner of the Miami Dolphins and the fitness chain SoulCycle getting major backlash after he agreed to host a high-dollar fund-raiser for President Trump -- how he's responding as people threaten to boycott his companies.



BALDWIN: You may not know the name Stephen Ross, but you sure know some of his brands, Equinox, SoulCycle, Miami Dolphins.

Now some of those brands are being targeted with boycotts after Ross planned this top-dollar fund-raiser in the Hamptons for President Trump. And when I say top dollar, we're talking tickets costing up to $250,000 a pop.

Now, there has been massive backlash online, because people are canceling memberships and calling for others to do the same.

Stephen Ross says -- quote -- "I always have been an active participant in the democratic process. while some prefer to sit outside the process and criticize, I prefer to engage directly and support the things I deeply care about."

He goes on: "I have known Donald Trump for 40 years. And while we agree on some issues.