Return to Transcripts main page
More Devastation Brought By Hurricane Dorian; Texas Gunman Purchased Gun Easily In Private Sale; Harrowing Stories By Storm Survivors; Dorian Expands Size As Tropical Storm Conditions Hit Florida; Walmart To Stop Selling Handgun Ammo; Vice President Mike Pence Stays At Trump's Doonbeg Resort Hours Away From Official Meetings. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired September 3, 2019 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Yes, I've been in Marsh Harbour several times. And I got to tell you, you can't even recognize it right now. We'll see what happens when that water finally backs out of there.
It is good to hear that the United States has been responsive and on it and helping from even before the storm. The prime minister said he could not ask for anything more.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Yes. Listen, I think that's great. I hope that we can continue to do that. I don't want to pat ourselves on the back too soon because there's a lot of help that's needed for there. And you saw the people who are doing the rescue -- the rescuing earlier. Many of them or most of them were just civilians who were going out on jet skis in their own boats.
CUOMO: Right. They haven't been able to get there yet.
LEMON: To get there, right.
CUOMO: But the prime minister did say the U.S. Coast Guard has been instrumental in doing assessment.
LEMON: Of course.
CUOMO: You know we got American veterans on the ground there with Team Rubicon.
CUOMO: You know, Jake Wood friend of ours here at CNN he has his organization there. We're going to see a lot more and credit where credit is due, but a long way to go.
LEMON: Yes, a long way to go. But you know the U.S. still not out of the woods. You know --
CUOMO: No, not at all. I'm just saying we're just dealing with what we know already.
LEMON: We just did what we know. Yes.
CUOMO: The unknown is very scary. And we're going to be telling this story certainly for the rest of the week.
LEMON: Yes. And I'll be telling stories on the show and we'll be talking to people who were there. Chris, I'll see you. Welcome back. It's good to have you back at work.
This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.
Here's our breaking news. We're just talking about. It's Dorian. Beginning to move out of the Bahamas tonight. And paralleling the East Coast of the Florida.
The storm expected to pick up speed. Watches and warnings in effect from Florida all the way to North Carolina. There are fears that there could be four to seven feet of life-threatening storm surge in the Carolinas. That's including Charleston. And that could happen by the end of the week.
South Carolina emergency management division warning anybody in evacuation zones tonight to leave. And leave immediately. And the president is tweeting that he'll sign an emergency declaration for North Carolina tonight. Dorian growing in size as it's being felt in Florida, where it's expected to get dangerously close tonight with very, very heavy rain and potential, and the potential for flooding.
I want you to just take a look at this. This is the outer band menacing St. Augustine Beach, Florida. That's earlier today. Look at that picture. It's incredible and this time lapse video that we're about to show. We'll put it up now was created by NOAA using satellite imagery showing the storm from Friday until today. Look at that.
We're just to beginning to understand the terrible toll of Dorian in the Bahamas where it is a strongest storm ever to make landfall. This is a graphic demonstration of the power of this hurricane on the great Abaco Island. Destruction as far as the eye can see. Those are the pictures we were just talking about. And you're going to see more coming out of the Bahamas.
That is just unbelievable. Homes, businesses, absolutely flattened. The Red Cross says 13,000 homes have been destroyed or damaged in the Bahamas. And the human cost is stunning. The prime minister of the Bahamas saying tonight that at least seven people have been killed. There are fears that the toll will go much higher than it is now.
The residents of Freeport telling stories that are absolutely heartbreaking. One man says his wife drowned right in front of him in their flooded kitchen. He still hopes to recover her body.
And I want you to look at what happened as CNN's Patrick Oppmann talked to private citizens using boats and jet skis to rescue their neighbors.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: These people are going out and pulling people from their houses, from on top of their houses and saving the lives. Look, there's a little, a little baby here. A boy there they're covering up and protecting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: One of those rescuers talked about finding his own brother but being unable to find his brother's wife.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First what we found was my brother. He was clinging onto a tree. And he made out safe but we are unable to locate his wife at the moment. We hope that she's OK. But the rescue goes on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: There are more stories of survival in this ferocious storm. Earlier, Freeport resident who sheltered in his office with his brothers, a friend and five dogs said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL HYNES, BAHAMAS STORM SURVIVOR: We were expecting something a lot -- we were expecting something that was not what we're getting. I mean, sorry I'm trying to find words here. I'm just about to break down. But it's truly just -- there's no words. It's very hard to describe what's going on. I mean, we have been through hurricanes. Like we moved here in 2000. Nothing compares to what we went through just in the past two days.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: And look at that. Others forced to flee their homes as the flood waters rose. The warning is still holding. This storm is massive. It is unpredictable. And if you're anywhere in its path or anywhere near its path, you need to keep a careful eye on the forecast. Don't let your guards down.
We've got all the latest throughout our next two hours and all night long here on CNN. Our correspondents are out across the storm zone tonight. And with the eyes of the world on the Bahamas, how is President Trump reacting?
Well, CNN asks the White House whether the president called the prime minister of the Bahamas. But we have had no response to our request for comment. The Prime Minister, Hubert Minnis saying this tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did President Trump called you?
HUBERT MINNIS, BAHAMIAN PRIME MINISTER: Personally, no. Not personally.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Well, that as Jeffrey Byard, acting FEMA administrator said this to New Day today about media coverage of Hurricane Dorian.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFFREY BYARD, ACTING ADMINISTRATOR, FEMA: I want to thank the media for being just an outstanding partner. That is our biggest challenge right now, is making sure that these citizens are still taking Hurricane Dorian very, very seriously.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: I want you to compare that to the president railing about the media simply for reporting the fact that -- and the fact that his claim Alabama was likely to be impacted by Hurricane Dorian is not true.
The National Weather Service even corrected the president. But he insisted against all the facts that the news reports got it wrong. They didn't.
And we've got new and disturbing information tonight about the gunman who killed seven people in a Texas shooting rampage over the weekend. A law enforcement official tells CNN that the gunman purchased his weapon in a private sale which does not require a background check.
So, the question is, would closing the private gun sale loophole prevent shootings like this? And does Congress have the will to do something? It doesn't sound like it. The Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he won't put any gun bill on the Senate floor unless President Trump assures him, he'll sign it.
That as Walmart says it will discontinue the sale of certain kinds of ammunition and discourage customers from openly carrying firearms in its store.
In the wake of the mass shootings in El Paso, Walmart last month -- at an El Paso Walmart last month that killed 22 people, Walmart CEO sent a letter to Congress today demanding lawmakers do their part to stop gun violence.
Will our leaders, will our president finally take this true American carnage seriously? Will they finally do something? Maybe they could start by listening to Carla Byrne. You heard her powerful plea. She was right here last night on the show just days after her brother, Joe Griffith was shot to death in his car as he sat at a traffic light with his wife and kids. They were on their way to have a family picture taken. Listen to what she says.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARLA BYRNE, JOSEPH GRIFFITH'S SISTER: I ask everybody right now to look at their loved ones, look at their spouse, look at their significant other. Look at their children, their brothers, their sisters. Look at their family members. Because they could be next.
I have never ever thought that I would be standing here today talking to CNN in my town because my brother was slain. It could happen to any of us and we have got to start taking action together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: She's right. It could happen to any of us. The question is, will we do something to stop it?
The devastation in the Bahamas from Hurricane Dorian just beginning to become clear. And we're just beginning to hear the stories of those who lost loved ones. We'll go there, next.
LEMON: The picture of the destruction spread by Hurricane Dorian across the Bahamas really stunning. Look at this. The death toll now stands at seven. The prime minister says that number is expected to rise.
On the island of great Abaco complete devastation. Homes are obliterated, flood waters spread as far as the eye can see. I'm going to speak to a storm chaser. The storm chasers as a matter of fact who shot that video in just a moment.
But I want to begin with CNN's Patrick Oppmann. Patrick is in Freeport in Grand Bahama Island, an area also ripped apart by Dorian.
Patrick, hello to you. You are witnessing local residents risking their lives to save others. You've also spoken with people who are going through unimaginable grief. What are they telling you?
OPPMANN: It's amazing, Don. In hurricane force winds today people who are just volunteers, came out with their boats and their jet skis. They donated gas, they donated life vests. And they went out to do what no one else is doing right now. They went out to save their friends, their neighbors and even complete strangers. It was just incredible.
But we also have to bear in mind that these people these brave volunteers were able to save dozens but there's still hundreds out there. One man that they did save, his name is Howard Armstrong. He is alive but only has the clothes on his back. We talked to him and he is lost just about anything a human being can lose.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOWARD ARMSTRONG, BAHAMAS STORM SURVIVOR: It came over the roof. I would imagine 21 feet at least. We were doing all right until the water kept coming up and all the appliances were going around the house like a washing machine. That's probably I got hit with something in there. And my poor little wife got hypothermia and she was standing on top of
the kitchen cabinet until they disintegrated. And then I kept with her and she just drowned on me.
OPPMANN: I'm so sorry.
ARMSTRONG: I know. I know. So.
OPPMANN: How did you get out?
ARMSTRONG: I got out. I had a big boat anchored in there. I'm a crab fisherman. And I have a 40-footer on a mooring which stayed there. So, I didn't even think it was there. So, I had got out of the house after my wife drowned. And because you couldn't be in there anymore. And I had no tools to chop a hole in the roof in the ceiling. So, I saw my boat was still there. And I swam. I took a chance and swam out to it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OPPMANN: Howard Armstrong has lost everything but he still has hope, Don. He hopes that his wife's body can be recovered. Rescue workers obviously said that they need to focus on the surviving, the people who were still alive out there. But they are also hopeful that eventually they can recover all the bodies of the lost. The people who did not survive Dorian's damage and wreck on this island.
LEMON: You know, Patrick, an official is telling CNN nearly 50 people have been rescued by U.S. Coast Guard. Have you seen any signs of coast guard helicopters? Or anything like that.
OPPMANN: Yes. You know, we have not seen any sign of any organized relief or rescue other than these volunteers. It's amazing individuals, Bahamians. But tonight, when we got back to where we were working, we saw a Coast Guard helicopter. It appeared to be a Coast Guard helicopter flying over the skyline. And it gave us a lot of hope. Because there are so many people in need of rescue.
Hopefully now that the skies appear to have cleared, that Dorian is continued onto the United States towards United States. That will give the Coast Guard and Bahamian rescue workers the opening they need to start getting people out of this very, very dire situation, Don.
LEMON: Patrick, I know it's been a really long couple days for you. And we completely understand that you have seen some horrific things and you have been working really 24 hours. I want to ask one more question though before I let you go.
The island in the Bahamas -- the islands in the Bahamas are so close to sea level.
LEMON: The storm stalled for days. We see the pictures there. But can you just tell us how widespread the damages? Can you put that into perspective for us?
OPPMANN: It's amazing. Remember, Don, this island is considered a high ground. And yet most of this island by the time Dorian finished with Grand Abaco was under water. The highest point of land here is 30 feet high. The storm surge was over 20 feet high. We're talking about hundreds of homes. Whole neighborhoods.
Where I reported today that was a bridge. It was supposed to be over the water. This bridge was under the water. The airport is under water. People's homes, their cars. Everything they have is under water. The flooding here is just something not to be believed.
And I don't think as much as we have seen, Don, I don't think we've seen a lot. I think there's a lot more out there and we're going to try to get it and show you all as the days go forward. But it's just hard to get to it because of the damage because of the high water. And because of everything this storm has done.
It's the most powerful storm to ever hit this island and it's going to take this island and other islands in the Bahamas years to recover. For people like Howard Armstrong they will never recover what they lost.
LEMON: Patrick Oppmann, thank you, sir. I appreciate your reporting. I want to get to the phone lines now. And joining me now is Nassau -- from Nassau is Brandon Clement. He is a storm chaser who shot the video showing the catastrophic damage on Great Abaco.
Brandon, thank you so much. We have been looking at this video that you captured it's absolutely devastating. Tell us what was going through your mind when you saw this destruction.
BRANDON CLEMENT, STORM CHASER: Well, I got some pretty harrowing text messages from the first responders that were going in. Had contact with them. The last text message for it comes from down was from a guy again Great Abaco. He said lost our house. Me and my wife are trying to find shelter. The wife is holding a baby (Inaudible).
So, you start hearing stuff like that. It makes you understand what you're going into. And having done this for a long time I kind of had a pretty good idea. So, we got to the top and expect to see the stuff you see with the Hurricane Michael, Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and Hurricane Irma in the Virgin Islands.
And it's exactly what we got. Complete devastation from, I'm not going to say from top to bottom (Inaudible). The southern half. Some areas are OK. But once you got about midway up, from that point north it was just complete destruction. Even the well-built homes and newer construction with the 150 miles per hour building codes didn't fare well.
Some had slight damage. But many of them had complete roofs missing and significant damage. Even though it's homes that were made to withstand the worst probability. Not the worst possibility, but the worst probability. But the probability for (INAUDIBLE). We had 185 miles per hour cat five sit on the top of an island for 18 hours.
LEMON: Yes. So, you shot this earlier today. By the time you shot this, I'm just wondering where there still people on the roof or anyone waiting to be rescued? Or had that part played out already?
CLEMENT: The water had already receded most places. There were still definitely places that were flooded. But it wasn't the type of situation it was the night before. There were plenty of people that were gathered around especially the remaining well-built structures that were had the least damage. Had crowds of people in front of them.
There were so many structures that are complete losses. So, everybody else had nowhere else to go. So, we did see some of that. We saw looters, we saw people already trying to clear the streets and, you know, we saw people trying to get out by the airport but it was so flooded there's really no point.
You know, people -- one guy was outside a cell phone tower, I think he was trying to keep gas in the generator out there to keep that one tower that was working going. So, you saw signs of life of people trying to recover. But it's a pretty dire situation. Just because of the island, no airport available. So much debris almost (Inaudible). And helicopters and you had big waves so you can't get in by sea. So, it's pretty much cut off. So tomorrow you should start seeing some bigger scale operations trying to move in.
LEMON: Brandon, our reporter on Grand Bahama Island saw local residents carrying out rescues on small boats and jet skis. Did you see any of that on Abaco Islands, on the Abaco Islands?
CLEMENT: No, no. By the time we got in there the storm is moving so slow. That by the time I was able to get in there the weather was calm enough to bring a helicopter in. The water had already -- are still -- winds have shifted so it pushed the water back out.
So, most of that had already taken place. You know, I get into one part of Great Abaco. They call it the mud. It's like one community there. It's a lot of homes that you can't tell there were homes there. It just looks like a bunch of building materials or put in a big grinder and just thrown around the ground. It's just completely gone.
So, I mean, there's probably some search and rescue I would think to be done in that area. As well as many others that were affected by the surge.
LEMON: You know, it's interesting as to what islands it hit because I've been speaking to people who are on Harbor Island, Eleuthera. There was damage but nothing like what we're seeing on Abaco and free -- Freemont.
CLEMENT: You know, it's hard to say. I've never been there before.
LEMON: Freeport, excuse me. CLEMENT: They were flying in 70-mile-an-hour wind or 60-mile-an-hour
wind flying straight line and bouncing from one place to the other as fast we go based on gas. So, it's hard for me to track exactly where we were the whole time. But yes, it was definitely barrier islands. The Great Abaco definitely took the biggest brunt of it.
LEMON: Yes. So, you're going to go to Grand Bahama Island tomorrow. What have you heard about the extent of the damage there? Are you going there?
CLEMENT: Yes, I'm trying to get to Grand Bahama tomorrow morning. I have heard it's going to be very similar. The storm actually sat there a little bit longer, surge got a little bit higher. But the wind feel of the storm was actually bigger at that point. Even though it wasn't quite as strong because it weakened when it moved over but it was still very powerful.
So, I'm expecting to see many of the same thing. And you know, the harder hit are the more populated areas where you'll see debris leaving where one house pieces will come off and hit the next and make pieces go down. You know, it's like seeing a tornado. I expect to see much the same. And then of course your surge levels that are really high. You see cars and trees and all piled on top of each ore where that surge maxed out.
LEMON: Yes. I don't know if I've done my job and ask you all the questions that I could. So, will you tell me what do you want people to know who are watching who have not witnessed this up close?
CLEMENT: I want people to know that this is the power of nature. I see it and I hear it every time. I know as soon as I get on the ground tomorrow, I'm going to hear the same things I heard in Michael. The same things I heard in Maria. The same things I heard in Irma. I'll never say again what I hear from people. They told us to leave. I thought I had been in storms before. But this was different. This is what everybody is going to tell me.
So whenever, if you're ever in the situation and you're in mandatory evacuation. Please leave. It's no point in staying. If you get hit like this there's nothing you can do. You're just going to be miserable. No air-conditioning, no light, no power. So just understand that.
And then for everybody just looking from the outside in, think about what you can do to help these people. Because this is going to take an international effort to rebuild the Bahamas and it's going to take years and they need your help.
LEMON: Brandon Clement, he is a storm chaser. And he captured this unbelievable video earlier today. Brandon, thank you so much. We'll talk to you soon.
CLEMENT: All right. Thank you.
LEMON: Be careful. Thank you.
We have a lot more on Hurricane Dorian. As the storm expands and as its moving dangerously close to Florida. We're going to have a live report from the ground there, next.
LEMON: The National Hurricane Center warning that Hurricane Dorian is expected to move dangerously close to Florida's East Coast tonight through tomorrow morning.
CNN's Drew Griffin live for us in Titusville, Florida. Drew, hello to you. The National Weather Service is warning this storm is still really dangerous. A spokesperson for the county sheriff says that people should not let their guard down. I'm wondering if Titusville still preparing for the worst right now?
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Well, they certainly have been preparing for a week. This has been so slow in arriving, but Don, tonight it hasn't fact arrive. Certainly nowhere near the strength of what hit the Bahamas, but tonight, I mean, steady, 39, 40 miles an hour wind and this is inland. There are gusts much higher than that out on the coast. I don't expect it to get much worse than this. As it skirts up the coast. Because of the distance that Dorian is from the land.
But still, this is pretty good strong winds here. Some power outages already being reported. Probably not going to see a huge amount of storm surge away from the coast. Some coastal erosion. But I think Florida really at least this part of Florida feels a sense of relief. That this storm is finally moving in the direction that it was forecast to move up and away from this coastline. Still pretty bad though. It's going to be a rough night here in Titusville.
LEMON: With that said, let me ask you, Brevard County earlier issued a mandatory evacuation order, Drew. Where does that stand right now?
GRIFFIN: Yes. It's still in place. In fact, it was such a nice day, that the emergency officials had to remind people that that order was still in place. They want you to stay put. People were getting antsy after days of waiting, they've boarded up their homes. The beaches are mostly empty. The evacuation has been pretty well complete.
They don't expect to lift that probably until late tomorrow as this passes. They'll check the bridges. Make sure everything is OK. I don't expect tremendous amount of damages from this quite frankly, Brevard County. Unless we see a tornado, but otherwise I think that by tomorrow this time, this will be a passing storm here in Central Florida.
LEMON: Well, let's hope so. Thank you, Drew Griffin in Titusville for us. I want to head over to Rosa Flores, now live in Daytona Beach. Rosa, hello to you. Daytona Beach as you know, hammered by Irma back in 2017. What are you seeing on the ground? ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, right now we're
experiencing winds of 28 to 29 miles per hour. We have seen some of the outer bands of hurricane Dorian. They have been windy, they have been wet, but they have been brief.
According to Volusia County officials, the worst of the storm that we are expecting will probably see between 3:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. That is when they're expecting between two to four inches of rain. They expect a storm surge of four to seven feet.
Now this island where I'm standing on is on mandatory evacuation. So are all the low lying areas in this county. Now, Don, one of the things that we have been seeing here of course is that a lot of people are feeling fatigue. They are not evacuating or some of the people that have evacuated are coming back to the beaches. Taking photographs. That of course is what officials are telling people not to do.
Now, there is one story that stands out Don, because we met this afternoon. A retired U.S. Marine, who decided not to evacuate. But here's why. There are six senior citizen ladies on his block and this marine has one noble mission. He is saying that he is not leaving these women behind. So we're hearing a lot of these neighbors here helping neighbor's stories. Even before Dorian hits.
LEMON: You see the worst of Mother Nature and the best of human nature often in these situations. Rosa Flores, in Daytona Beach, Florida for us tonight. Rosa, thank you very much. And we continue to bring you the latest on hurricane Dorian throughout the show. But we're also getting new details about the west Texas shooter obtained his gun despite failing a background check. Those details next.
LEMON: We're learning more about the gunman -- how the gunman that killed seven people in west Texas this weekend got a hold of the weapon he used. Joining me now, CNN's Van Jones and Josh Campbell.
Josh we're going to start with you, because we know the gunman previously failed a background check when he applied for a gun. But you're learning how he was able to get one anyway. He got around that background check. What do you know?
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yes, Don, law enforcement source telling me that the subject involved in this west Texas shooting obtained this AR-15 type assault rifle through a private sale. Which didn't require a background check. This was first reported by ABC News.
Now, throughout the country there are some states that do require background checks even in a private sale. Texas is not one of them. So, obviously that is a new development. Something that is a great interest to investigators, he's the genesis of his purchase of that weapon. We're also told that he attempted to purchase a weapon in 2014. But actually failed a federal background check going through that process, nevertheless he was able to obtain this weapon which he used to cause mass carnage there in Texas.
Now, of course, this is now coming to light -- spotlight in this issue of this loophole. We heard just the president recently saying that background checks wouldn't have stopped any of the major mass shootings. I think he said for the last seven years. However in this case this loophole. This private sellers, if you buy from a private party in certain states you don't have to go through that background check to determine whether or not you are able to purchase a weapon, Don.
LEMON: Interesting. So, you're speaking background checks, a universal background check would have or would not have prevented this?
CAMPBELL: Well, certainly could have prevented the purchase of this weapon which was used in this attack. Now, we don't know if this person would have been able to get his hands on a weapon in some other way. But if there was a universal check system in place, at least the way he obtained this weapon through a private seller, he would have had to go through that background process. The very same process that he failed when he attempted to purchase a weapon in 2014.
LEMON: Got it. Thank you, Josh for clarifying. So, then for years we have heard politicians who, you know, talk about, they argue about the closing of the gun show loophole. It would prevent most of these mass shootings. But I just want to -- does this case show the consequences of inaction here?
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it does. And also, you know, every speed bump matters. If you're trying to speed through a neighborhood.
JONES: Every speed bump matters. You know, if somebody is determined they may go forward. But when you think about that, the idea that somebody who failed a federal background check was still able to legally purchased a gun in America.
How does that make any sense? It's literally insane. And people say, well, listen, we don't want -- we want people to be able to sell the gun to their next door neighbor. Their best friend or whatever. We don't want to turn people or selling guns, you know, to their friends and into criminals.
Well, listen, the price that got paid for us leaving this loophole in place based on this kind of abstract theories is paid in blood by human beings right now and none of us are safe tomorrow. Listen, no law is perfect. No is going to prevent every crime. But laws matter. Speed bumps matter. Roadblocks matter. We need more not less. And you can do all this without running afoul of the second amendment at all according to the U.S. Supreme Court.
LEMON: Well, you say without running afoul, because most people in this country believe in the second amendment.
JONES: Of course. I do too.
LEMON: Same here. And the thing is, so -- when people say, well, these are different stories. You have this and the background check, whatever. There's one common denominator here. And that is access to guns. That is the common denominator in all of it whether it's mental health, whether its background checks, whatever. There's one common denominator.
JONES: We have crazy people all around the world. We have mental health issues around the world, we have video games around the world, we have teenagers around the world. We're we have in the U.S. uniquely is -- we're just a wash in guns.
LEMON: Yes. Josh, Walmart announcing today that in response to the shooting in El Paso, that left 22 people dead at one of their stores last month. They are going to stop selling handguns. And short barrel rifle ammunition. Along with some other in-store measures that we have up on the screen. If you want to know look up on your screen right now. Walmart also sending letters to President Trump, leaders in Congress calling for action on common sense gun safety measures. Do you think we're at a tipping point right now when you see this?
CAMPBELL: Well, it's interesting, Don, because this is the same type of action that we have seen in the past by companies like Dick's Sporting Goods. Now when you look at Walmart, a major corporation, I think the question is yet to be seen whether this is altruism or just good business.
You know, again they are calculating that this decision will not hurt them in the long run and we know that as far as gun purchases, Walmart only constitutes about 2 percent of market share for gun sales. But 20 percent of ammunition sales. And they indicated today they expect that amount to go down drastically. As far as the makeup of sales across the country of ammunition.
But again, the question remains, you know, what is the long term here? And regardless of the motivation, I think the fact that they are at least ridding their stores of the same type of ammunition that was used in this types of AR-15 style rifles. Even though the rifles are out there making it harder to obtain the ammunition is sure to please, you know, those who are in favor of the stronger gun control measures to stop the kind of massacre that we saw there in west Texas.
LEMON: van, I want to read, this is what the NRA said about Walmart's decision. The strongest defense of freedom has always been our free market economy. It is shameful to see Walmart succumb to the pressure of the antigun elites.
OK, talking about the antigun elites, but maybe what's actually happening here is Walmart is listening to its own customers. And listening to the American people. Who want changes and not only in the store, but in society?
JONES: And they're listening to their actual employees.
JONES: This started with employees saying we are getting gunned down in our store. With ammo purchased in our stores. So, you know, listen, if you believe in the first amendment -- second amendment. If you believe in the first as well. I believe that Walmart is doing both. I think it's responding to a consumer pressure. I think also when the government is just completely ham strung.
You know, Scalia, the most conservative justice ever said you can do background checks. You can regulate. You can do all this stuff. Literally the case that says every individual has a right to guns that case says the government has a right to regulate those guns as well. So, there is no reason for us not to try stuff, to try some of these regulations.
And if the government won't do it, employees of companies can put pressure on their corporation and the corporations should listen. And if the -- honestly, if the NRA thinks it's going to be able to win this argument by name calling. Call people elites all you want to people are tired of funerals.
LEMON: Yes. I think it's interesting that the argument is always, people are trying to take your guns. Because you know, in America that is never ever going to happen.
JONES: Have one gun per people.
LEMON: Stop it, get over it. It's not going to happen. Thank you both, I appreciate it.
Vice President Pence going hours out of his way to stay at a Trump property while he is Ireland. We are going to tell you who is paying for it. Here's a hint, look in the mirror. Next.
LEMON: Vice President Mike Pence making quite the commute to official meetings while in Ireland. That is because he is staying at a hotel almost 200 miles from where the meetings were scheduled to take place. And it's not just any hotel. It's a resort owned by his boss, President Trump. That is right. Pence is staying at the Trump International Golf Links and Hotel in Doonbeg, on the West Coast of Ireland, despite having meetings today in the country's capital on the East Coast in Dublin.
The trip is 181 miles, requiring an hour-long drive, plus a 40-minute flight on Air Force Two each way. That is the equivalent of coming to the United States to meet with the president and staying not in Washington, D.C, but in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Pence is defending the decision to stay at Trump's resort, citing his family connections to the village where the hotel happens to be located. His great- grandmother was from there and a distant cousin currently owns a pub in town. This is what he had to stay about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you have a chance to get to Doonbeg, you'll find it's a fairly small place, and the opportunity to stay at Trump National in Doonbeg to accommodate the unique footprint that comes with our security detail and other personnel made it logical. We checked it with the State Department. They approved us staying there, and I was -- I was pleased to have the opportunity to return to that family hometown.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So there you have it. The vice president is staying at the president's hotel to accommodate his desire to see where his family came from, even though he is abroad on U.S. Business. And it turns out President Trump suggested that Pence should stay at his property during the trip. That is according to Pence's chief-of-staff Marc Short.
Well, tonight according to Maggie Haberman of the "New York Times," his office just put out a new statement contradicting Marc Short and saying it was solely the decision of the vice president and the president did not direct him to stay there. Short also told reporters that President Trump did not offer to comp the costs of the stay in Doonbeg. I wonder why.
Could it be that Trump's resort in Ireland has never made any money? Possibly. According to "the Washington Post," Trump paid almost $12 million to buy the property in 2014 and invested $30 million into renovating it. And this, Doonbeg has never reported turning a profit, losing more than $1 million every year from 2014 to 2017. That is according to Irish corporate records. Money always on the president's mind. Just last week he claimed without any proof that he was losing billions as president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'll tell you what. I've spent -- and I think I will in a combination of loss and opportunity, probably it will cost me anywhere from $3 to $5 billion to be president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So would a trip from the vice president and all his supporting staff help Trump's bottom line? Mike Pence said, there is a unique footprint that follows him when he travels abroad, and that means there is a need to put up lots of people, staff, security, officials, and on and on. Pence will personally foot the bill for his mother and sister, who are traveling with him to see his native Ireland, but all those other people, that is a lot of rooms at the Trump hotel. And when it comes to the official purpose of visiting Ireland, today's
talks between Pence and Irish officials, including the Irish Prime Minister, who happens to be gay, the White House wants you to know that Pence is totally cool with it. White House aide Judd Deer tweeting out last night, for all of you who still think our V.P. is anti-gay, I point you to his and the second lady's schedule tomorrow, where they will join the Prime Minister and his partner for lunch. OK?
So as governor of Indiana, Pence signed the religious freedom restoration act, which allows businesses to cite religious freedom as a legal defense. Critics say it opens the door for individuals and businesses to discriminate against people of the LGBT community.
He opposed gay marriage. While in Congress, Pence voted against the repeal of don't ask, don't tell. His wife Karen, who is traveling with him this week, took a job earlier this year at a Christian school that bans gay students and parents. Earlier this year, our own Dana Bash pressed the vice president on his views of gay people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PENCE: All of us in this country have the right to our religious beliefs. I'm a bible-believing Christian.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: And that is belief that being gay is a sin?
PENCE: My wife and I are bible-believing Christians. We cherish our faith. We put our trust in God's word as do 10's of millions of Americans.
BASH: And the idea of it being a sin to be gay?
PENCE: Dana, I'm a bible-believing Christian.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: That wasn't the answer to her question. He wouldn't even answer the question. And now the White House wants you to know that Pence was in a room with someone who is gay. For most people in 2019, the ability to have lunch and meeting with the head of state of another country who happens to be gay, a meeting and a lunch, that is part of your job. It isn't cause to publicly brag about it, but when you have to travel by car and plane, 181 miles out of the way to do it, maybe it is.
We are tracking hurricane Dorian as it gets dangerously close to the Florida Coast. The brand-new forecast is next.