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Trump Says He Scrapped Secret Camp David Meeting with Taliban; Thousands Living in Rapidly Deteriorating Conditions; Republican Presidential Candidate Bill Weld is Interviewed About GOP Plan to Ditch Primaries in Show of Support for Trump; WaPo: NOAA Official Warned Staff Not to Contradict Trump; Father Spreads Message of Compassion to Teen Students. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired September 8, 2019 - 07:00   ET





UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: U.S. President Trump says he has scrapped a secret meeting with Taliban leaders at Camp David.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why would you want to let presidential prestige unless you're absolutely persuaded that this was going to be a done deal?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This would give them a boost of political legitimacy that they don't deserve.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Grand Bahama right now is dead, is dead. And now this makes it worse.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The shelters are horrible. All of them are horrible. Everyone have to fight for their own food.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I haven't seen a government official yet to come to give us a bottle of water or to see what is going on.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN NACHOR: Good morning to you.

Our top story, the president scrapping talks with Taliban a day before a meeting was happened on U.S. soil at Camp David. That's after the Taliban took credit for attack killing an American soldier and 11 people in Afghanistan.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: That soldier, 34-year-old, Sergeant Elis Angel Barreto Ortiz, was brought home last night. He was killed by a car bomb at a checkpoint near NATO headquarters in the U.S. embassy in Kabul.

BLACKWELL: Well, now, Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee who also served in both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom while serving in the Air Force is blasting President Trump.

PAUL: He tweeted this: Never should leaders of a terrorist organization that hasn't renounced 9/11 and continues in evil be allowed in our great country. Never, full stop.

So, with us now, CNN chief international correspondent Clarissa Ward.

I want to talk to you about that, Clarissa, because inviting the Taliban leaders on to American soil days from the 9/11 anniversary, that is clearly one of the things that really, not just has him questioning what is going on, but many others.

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIOAL CORRESPONDENT: I think a lot of people were flabbergasted to wake up this morning or turn on their computers or their phones late last night and find out the news that it would be conceivable on the week of the 9/11 anniversary, Taliban officials will be coming to Camp David to sit down with President Trump, as well as Afghan government figures, President Ghani to sort of announce or held a new peace deal.

And part of the reason other than obviously the memory of 9/11, other than deep, deep skepticism about the Taliban's sincerity is the fact that many feel, Christi, that this deal has been ramrodded through without the proper checks and balances, without the proper preconditions, without the guarantees that a lot of people would like to see from the Taliban committing to work together with the Afghan government -- committing to protect women's rights, committing to stop attacks on civilians, things of this nature that had not been presented as preconditions of many people felt kind of skewed the deal in the Taliban's favor and giving them all of the kind of leverage without extracting the kind of concessions from them that people would like to see, Christi.

PAUL: All right. Clarissa Ward, thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Joining us now, CNN White House reporter Sarah Westwood.

Sarah, in addition to what heard from Clarissa there, we also know that President Trump blasted his predecessor from talking to the Taliban and now he's potentially or he wanted to do the same thing face-to-face on U.S. soil.

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right, Victor, and we haven't heard much from the White House or the State Department since the president blasted out those surprising series of tweets yesterday. But the bottom line is the Trump administration was negotiating with the Taliban over a period of many months, even though in 2012, President Trump criticized his predecessor doing the same thing.

Here is his tweet from seven years ago. While Barack Obama is slashing the military, he's also negotiating with our sworn enemy, the Taliban, who facilitated 9/11.

Now, of course, we know that President Trump's long-term goal was to withdraw the troops from Afghanistan and something that he talked about on the campaign trail and we have heard him talk a lot about it before. And the preliminary deal that the special envoy to Afghanistan, the lead U.S. negotiator said he agreed to in principle about a week ago would have involved bringing thousands of American troops home in exchange for the Taliban meeting and certain conditions.


Obviously, the fate of that deal now extremely unclear in the wake of this bombing. Sources tell CNN that even though President Trump did go out and cancel the meeting yesterday, that there are new dates under discussion for another potential summit with the Taliban with Afghan leaders. Sources also say that was it the White House and the State Department that pushed for the cancellation of that meeting, not the Afghan government.

So, it remains to be seen whether the Taliban leaders will ultimately find their way on U.S. soil to continue these negotiation, Victor and Christi.

PAUL: All right. Sarah Westwood, we appreciate it so much. Thank you.

We want to talk to you about what is going on in the Bahamas today because they are rapidly deteriorating conditions.


PAUL: Of course, because of Hurricane Dorian. There are efforts under way to move evacuees but hundreds need to get to safety and there are much-needed supplies, water, food, medicine, that are being brought in but Bahamian officials say the situation has developed into a, quote, humanitarian crisis.

BLACKWELL: Forty-three people, that's the official number of those killed, but officials expected that number to rise dramatically as thousands are missing.

CNN's Paula Newton reports from Marsh Harbour, one of the hardest hit settlements.


PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is an area of Marsh Harbour called the Mud. We've spoken about it many times, and that's because as you can see, it took the brunt of Hurricane Dorian. You can only imagine the terror of people who are living here.

They don't have an estimate as to how many people were here or how many people managed to get out alive. But, I mean, look at this. There are family belongings strewn everywhere. It is impossible to make out even where the homes were and where they stood. The issue is that they do not know if victims are still buried

somewhere under all of this debris. We spoke with morticians who have been hired by the Bahamian government to come here. Also a canine team from the government who is looking for body. They told me that this is a difficult job and it will be very, very tough to search this entire area thoroughly and that will still take a few more days.

That might be another reason why we don't yet have an accurate -- an official death toll. The government says, itself, and admits, look, the death toll will rise and rise sharply. We just don't have an estimate yet.

The people who were living here, a lot of them were Haitian migrants, and the other tragedy is here that those who did it make it out alive are now afraid to go to Nassau, and why? Some of them were here illegally and they are afraid of being deported bark to Haiti. The Bahamian government says they should fear that, but, of course, getting information out has been very difficult.

It will take a very long time to even clear this area so that it's safe even to walk through anymore. And the government is trying to be realistic what the challenge is ahead and being very blunt about what it's going to take to even find the victims and then identify them.

Paula Newton, CNN, in Marsh Harbour, in the Abaco Islands.


BLACKWELL: The worse of the damage from Dorian is in the Bahamas but there's damage in the U.S., as far north as Canada, with heavy wind pounding Nova Scotia.

PAUL: Here is a look at the strength. That is a construction crane in Halifax basically just crushed. A witness tells the CTV News in Canada, the crane, quote, kind of split in half on impact, along with a lot of damage.

There are downed trees. Wind and rain from Dorian left more than 300,000 people without power across Nova Scotia over this weekend.

CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar is with us now.

Is Dorian still a tropical storm? I'm amazed that we are still talking about this literally seven days later.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I know, it's still here. Yes, it has transitioned to post-tropical. But I want you to understand, it's still a very strong storm. Sustained winds are 80 miles per hours, so it's the equivalent of a category one hurricane. It's still lashing at portions of Canada even extreme northern Maine still getting some impacts from this storm before it finally will move off.

But it made its fifth, yes, count them, five. Three landfalls in the Bahamas and One in the United States and just made its fifth landfall yesterday over portions of Nova Scotia. At landfall, it was 100 miles per hour. This ties with the second largest landfall ever in Nova Scotia, again, the strongest in 1963.

Now, this storm finally coming to an end, this is good news. But it's the peak of tropical season. Guys, we've got other storms to keep an eye on for. We've got this section here, this cluster of storms to the north of Leeward Island has only about 20 percent chance of developing into something, but the concern here isn't whether or not it becomes a tropical storm, it's where it's headed because regardless of whether it gets name or not it's headed back to the Bahamas and the last place strong to severe thunderstorms at this point in time.


Victor and Christi, we are also keeping an eye on this cluster here which has about a 40 percent chance of development and something. So, we'll obviously keep an eye on all of these systems over the next couple of days.

PAUL: Good heavens. All right. Allison, thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Some states are getting ready to ditch their Republican primaries, but President Trump is not the only Republican running for president as you know. Former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld is challenging the president and calls the move unfair, undemocratic. We will talk with him next.

PAUL: Plus, don't do it. The warning sent to workers at the country's top weather agency hours after the president claimed Hurricane Dorian would hit Alabama.

BLACKWELL: And using life stories to teach lesson. One father's mission to inspire kid to be kind in schools across the country.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do something nice for someone else and let someone see you doing it. You know, you don't realize how you're affecting other people. You can make an impact.



PAUL: Fourteen minutes past the hour.

And Republican officials in several states, South Carolina, Nevada, Arizona, considering cancelling their presidential primaries even though other Republicans are vying for party's nomination.


This is a move expected to be made official in the next few weeks.

BLACKWELL: But, of course, not everyone agrees with that, saying it shows that the president has a steel grip on the GOP establishment. Former Governor of Massachusetts Bill Weld is one of the Republicans running against the president. PAUL: Governor --

BLACKWELL: Thank you for being with us this morning.

BILL WELD (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hey, Victor and Christi, a pleasure.

PAUL: Thank you so much, Governor.

I wanted to ask you, you have said cancelling the primaries amounts to an unconscionable anti-Democratic effort to silence President Trump's opponents. Are you talking to -- having conversations with, meeting with any of the state leader to try to make some changes here and keep those primaries alive?

WELD: No. I think they will make their own decisions and, technically, they can do so. I'm just having a hard time figuring out what the president and the Republicans in Washington are scared of, having other voices heard. He even tried to cancel the New Hampshire primary which is the very famous first in the nation primary and it's the source of a lot of New Hampshire's clout in this country is that they do have that primary and the Republican state committee, at the urging of Washington and the national committee, said, let's cancel the primary, let's not have a primary in New Hampshire.

Well, that -- that failed for one a second, that kind of felt like a lead balloon put that is the extreme case. Beyond a certain point, if they try to cancel all of the primaries, I think it raises the question, what are they scared of? On one hand, they say they are insuperable and no one has any choice but to vote for the president, he just doesn't want them to vote because he doesn't want any contest.

And, you know, we have three people now. I think Mark Sanford from South Carolina is likely to get in. Joe Walsh from Illinois is already in. I'm already in. So, it's not like there's no competition. In the past when these primaries have been cancelled by state parties, usually nobody else was running.

BLACKWELL: All right. So, let me ask you this. You ran for the libertarian party, on the libertarian ticket back in 2016 as the V.P. nominee. Some of the Republicans who don't exactly love the president or the hectic nature of administration and love what he is doing with judicial nominees, and what Leader McConnell is doing there.

You said -- they like it because of the social issues and implications on issues like life and abortion. When you were running in 2016, you said this to an interviewer in "Slate."

I have run as a Republican many times but I always carried the Republican Party position on social issues on my back as a 300-pound monkey. I never agreed with the social issues approach of the Republican Party.

So, you won't win the Republicans who love Trump. How do you expect to win the Republicans who tolerate the president because they -- he protects they believe this 300-pound monkey that you don't like. WELD: Well, Victor, I'm the same guy I've always been and always had

the same positions. I've always been a pro-choice on the issue of reproductive rights. I think what the president and some of the southern states, Alabama and Georgia, are trying to do now by saying if a woman is literally raped, she has to carry the rapist child to term no matter what she and her husband want.

This is completely unconscionable and I still don't agree with their position on that, and I don't know why the two-thirds of the people in the New Hampshire Republican Party who agree with me for example shouldn't have an opportunity to express that by voting.

BLACKWELL: Is this a campaign to win or is it a campaign to wound?

WELD: No. I'm in this to win. I'm a two-term governor and elected with 50 percent and re-elected with 71 percent. There were no Republican governors in my state for 20 years before I was elected and then after me, there was four in a row. So I think I've helped the Republican Party a lot over the years. I've registered as a Republican when I was 18 years old.

So I'm in this and I've had much more foreign experience than a number of the other people running for president. So, I've said for sometimes I think I could start Monday in that job. I spent a lot of time hanging around the White House in both the Bush administrations, even Bill Clinton who was a Democrat, and, you know, I've got things I want to do, like no more trillion dollar deficits and no more denying that climate is an issue in the world, which the president just has his head in the sand on so many issues. I think we do need fresh leadership in Washington, D.C.

PAUL: So what is your strategy to beat the president?

WELD: Strategy in a word would be to enlarge the electorate that is voting in the Republican primary, so I'm focusing on the 20 crossover states that allow independents and Democrats to take a Republican ballot and vote in the primary and I'm saying even to Democrats that if you don't agree with the president, you can vote against him twice. First, vote for me in the Republican Party primary, and then vote for whoever you want in the general.

[07:20:06] So I think you're going to see a lot of millennials who understand they will be crushed by the deficit and by climate denial. A lot of women who don't agree with the president's position on social issues, if they come in and vote in the primary, I'm not sure the president wins any primaries at all so I need a larger electorate and that is the strategy.

BLACKWELL: Governor Bill Weld, thanks for your time this morning.

PAUL: Thank you very much.

WELD: Thanks, Victor. Thanks, Christi.

PAUL: Now, you heard Bill Weld say he's not the only Republican taking on President Trump. How Joe Walsh's campaign has found help in an unusual place and what President most likely, some say, won't be too happy about it.

BLACKWELL: Plus, thousands of hurricane survivors are homeless in the Bahamas, still trying to get away from all of the destruction. Our next guest's family fled divested Abaco. We'll talk with him about what they are facing in the aftermath now that their homes were destroyed.


BLACKWELL: More than 1,400 evacuees from the Bahamas are safely in the United after surviving Dorian's devastation. A cruise ship brought them to the port of Palm Beach yesterday, and for many of them, getting on board the ship was the first chance to have some air- conditioning and hot food and a shower.

PAUL: Joe Roetz from CNN affiliate WSVN is in South Florida and he spoke with some of the evacuees about what we are going through.


JOE ROETZ, WSVN REPORTER (voice-over): An overnight trip ending days of unrest.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Feels great. Feels great, actually.

ROETZ: Relief. More than 1,100 Bahamians exiting the Grand Celebration Saturday morning after getting a free ticket to the United States. Linnell Andrews (ph) arriving her twin boys who aren't even a year old yet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't have no power, we don't have any water, so you have to do what you have to do actually. And I'm a mom, so I have to put their needs first and that's why we are here.

ROETZ: Ambulances on stand by at the port of palm beach to assist those needing medical attention once off the ship. Bahamians arriving now getting a better idea of what they escaped from.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not only the damage, the loss of life when is far more important. It is really, really -- it's a sight to see.

ROETZ: So many losing everything to Hurricane Dorian's wrath, seeking sanctuary on Bahamas Paradise cruise lines Grand Celebration.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Unbearable. The conditions are unbelievable. There's feces everywhere. Some places, there's (INAUDIBLE)

ROETZ: The ship, the first major liner to dock in Freeport days after the devastating storm. Volunteers unloading upward of a hundred tons of supplies for the people still water and power and running water across the island.

At the same time, desperation to get on the cruise ship while in Freeport. Thousands lined up for hours. Family members handing over children not knowing when they will be seen again. Relatives leaving loved ones like Cameron Knowles (ph) now bound for his brother's place in Georgia.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had to leave my parents down there because I know I could of probably squeezed through the crowd and she was like just get on board. I don't have a backpack on because all our clothes are washed up basically.

ROETZ: Once on board, hot meals and showers, air-conditioning. A chance to relax and have the things people too often take for granted.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first thing what I did when I came on board I got something told to drink. Ice cold lemonade is the first thing I did. After that, we all got something to eat.

ROETZ: Still, for those arriving, a fresh breath, a break and a chance to look forward.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In the 30 years I've been on this earth, that was the baddest that we have experienced.


BLACKWELL: Some of the evacuees say they will be staying with family and others with friend in the United States and others want to get back to their homes in the Bahamas as soon as possible.

PAUL: Yes, but there are so many people still in the Bahamas. Think about how you would be living. You're in limbo. You don't know what to do next. You don't have a home.


Jonathan Pinder's family lives on Abaco. They survived the storm, but they're now in Nassau after one of the family's homes, all of the relatives, their homes demolished.

Jonathan is here with us now.

Thank you for coming in. And I wonder, what was it like for you? You said that your uncle's home survived 120 years of these storms. But this one took the home out. Talk about what you've learned about this. This is before and after here and what you're hearing from your family.

JONATHAN PINDER, FAMILY FLED TO ABACO AFTER THEIR HOMES WERE DESTROYED: So absolutely. I mean, the Bahamas has a very strict building code and for a storm that can take a home that survived 120 years worth of hurricanes, kind of lets us understand the magnitude of the storm in the Bahamas.

Thankfully, none of my family members were in that house when it disappeared but a lot of them lost everything, a lot of shells of houses. You know, you only can see the structural remains of those houses. People have lost everything in Abaco, as well as Grand Bahamas is in a really dire need right now.

PAUL: And no connectivity has been real issue down there. How long did it take for you to hear from your family members? Is everybody OK?

PINDER: Absolutely. So, everyone is okay right now. A lot of them are recovering but I know it took up to three or four days. A few family members who we considered missing because we weren't able to hear from them but it was up to three or four days.

You know, that was a very long period of silence. It's hard to focus on university studies, anything outside just knowing that it's possible that some of your family members may not be. But I'm very fortunate because all of my family members who were alive and I know a lot of friends who aren't as lucky as I am.

BLACKWELL: Yes, the prime minister says that there no way that Nassau can absorb the thousands of people who have come from Grand Bahama, who've come from Abaco.

Your family is now in Nassau. What's next for them?

PINDER: Well, I mean, that completely up in the air. You know, a lot of the family islands definitely rely on the businesses that they have. Those family members have lost those businesses. They have lost those homes.


So the next step, a lot of them aren't sure. Those who are able to go to the U.S. are going to try to. But for my family, you know, it's up in the air right now. It's very unlikely in the short to medium term, you know, tourism will come back to those islands right now. So, you know, what do they do?

BLACKWELL: And that was a business that your family was in, tourism?

PINDER: A variety of businesses, but yes. But, you know, tourism is the main source of revenue down there.


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: So, what -- have you talked to your family to find out what surprised them about this storm? Because they clearly chose to stay.

PINDER: Absolutely. So, I mean, you have to understand when the storm was coming, no one expected what had happened and, you know, Abaco and both Grand Bahama are not strangers to hurricanes, but I think that Dorian really showed us like the effects that climate change is having on these hurricanes and the fact the winds were up to 220 miles per hour.

You know, some of my family members shared with me that when the hurricane came, they felt the pressure change in their ears. You know, some of them lost their roofs within the first hour and a half of the hurricane and these are houses that are built to stand to last these hurricanes. So, completely devastating.

BLACKWELL: Yes, nine hours from when one side of the eye hit land until the other side exited land that category five was over Abaco.

Let me ask you, what does this mean for you? You're here in the U.S. for schooling. Does this change anything for on your short to medium- term future?

PINDER: For me, I think that like a lot of other Bahamian citizens in the United States, we will do the best we can. I don't think that my parents or my family would appreciate me, you know, putting off my education to go back home even though that may be what I would love to do. But I think we are going to do what we can and done what we can.

We have mobilized between different states and different schools to try to see how we can bring relief to the Bahamas and support in as many ways as we can.

PAUL: You know, I want to show if we could some of these pictures again that were popping, because all of the pictures we have are pictures of your homes or your family's homes. So, when you look at these where they are now at the state they are in, what memories do you have there? And do you think they can be rebuilt?

PINDER: No. I think that Bahamians are very resilient people, so we will rebuild, and that is something we are very supportive of each other and get there. It will take some time. But, you know, I know the summers that I would spend with, you know, my great grandmother and grand aunts and uncles in those houses, the memories that we had, and just to understand that, you know, everything has been lost, personal items. All of our livelihoods and all of the memories in those houses have all been wiped away.

But, you know, it's good to see that some of them are still standing. I think it's a bit of a ray of hope.

BLACKWELL: Yes, we heard from a man in that story who said, all he had was his backpack because everything else was destroyed.

Jonathan, thank you for coming in. I know being there several days, the difficulty in communication and the period of not knowing is the most difficult. But as you acknowledge, are fortunate that you now know that your family members are all safe and alive. Thank you so much for being with us.

PAUL: Thank you. And best of luck to you.

PINDER: Thank you.

PAUL: Keep in touch with us. We want to make sure everything goes well for you.

PINDER: Will do. Thank you.

PAUL: Absolutely.

And I know that we all watch these pictures together and we feel like we don't know how to help but we want to, we want to make that easy for you. Not just people in the Bahamas but here in the United States, there's a lot of help needed. Go to our Website,

BLACKWELL: When we come back, a note to all staff. NOAA sends a directive to employees, warning not to contradict the president over his edited, annotated storm track for Hurricane Dorian.

April Ryan, she's with us next.



BLACKWELL: New this morning, "The Washington Post" is reporting that a top official at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, told its staff members on September 1st not to contradict President Trump. That memo came nearly a week before NOAA backed the president and his claims that Alabama was going to be impacted by the hurricane, by Dorian. "The Post" says staffers were told not to provide any opinion and to only stick with official National Hurricane Center forecasts.

According to the report, a NOAA meteorologist said the memo came after the National Weather Service office in Birmingham contradicted president. A memo sent September 4th after the president showed a hurricane map, you remember this one, doctored with a sharpie, showing a little half circle that included parts of Alabama. That meteorologist told "The Post", quote: This is the first time I've felt pressure from above to not say what truly is the forecast.

Joining me now to discuss, April Ryan, White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks and CNN political analyst.

Good Sunday to you, April.


BLACKWELL: Happy Birthday to you. Let me do that off the top.

RYAN: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Chapter 52 for you. But let me --

RYAN: Yes, chapter 52. Woo!

BLACKWELL: Here is the story.

RYAN: Yes.

BLACKWELL: These storms, as we have learned, are matters of life and death. These storms for families who don't have a lot of money and then go stack up on water and food and fill the tank and could be budget-busters.

Your reaction to what we are seeing from "The Post" reporting of this message to NOAA, don't contradict the president?

RYAN: You know, Victor, this is really sad. I was in the Oval Office Wednesday with that pool spray with the president when he had the sharpie on the resolute desk and that outdated picture.

It is sad when you have someone of that authority who is -- it's more than sad. It's deadly -- when you have someone of that authority who doesn't have accurate information to disseminate to the people that he is actually looking over, protecting and serving.

You know, where are the whistle-blowers at NOAA? This is not a time to sit back and say let's hold our top. This is about lives. This is about humanity. This is about trying to help people who are in the path or telling people who aren't in the path you're OK, but those who are in the path, you've got to move to safety or shelter in place or do something.

And, you know, I -- Victor, I just can't help but thinking about the severity of storms, as we look at what happened, or what's happening in the Bahamas.


I think back to Katrina. You know, I was there 14 years ago in the Bush administration when they were dealing with to do or not to do, you know, states' rights issues. This is a real issue. You cannot play with people's lives, particularly farmers and people in urban areas along the path who are trying to figure out their lives.

This is a matter of life and death. This is not a matter of a sharpie. This is more than just a sharpie moment. NOAA needs to really figure out what they are going to do.

Are they going to help or hurt by trying to support a president who is wrong?

BLACKWELL: We watched the president commit to this line of -- that he was right day after day when provably he was wrong.

Let me move to another thing here. Former congresswoman and now 2020 candidate Joe Walsh who is running against the president, he told our Fredericka Whitfield yesterday that George Conway, husband of senior counsel to the President Kellyanne Conway, George Conway is advising his campaign.

Just eight weeks ago, George Conway wrote an op-ed in "The Washington Post" and he acknowledged that the president is a racist. Now if this is true, George Conway is now supporting Joe Walsh who tweeted this.

RYAN: Right.

BLACKWELL: To say that it's racist to call Haiti a shithole is like saying it's racist to say Chicago has a violence problem. Haiti is a shithole, and it's run by blacks. The violence in Chicago is all black on black. Those aren't racist statements. They're just facts.

So, if Conway said the president is racist, why would he back this man?

RYAN: Is it hypocrisy for George Conway? That's the question. Do you just want Donald Trump out so bad you don't care who it is?

I mean, what is the difference between Walsh and Trump? Nothing when it comes to issues of race. The nation screams about race now. Now.

But do you really care about it when it comes down to it? You want Donald Trump out? Why? Because of the violations of the emoluments clause or because he's having the G7 in Doral, in Miami, or is it because he is morally inept? He talks about race. He talks about taking a knee.

I mean, what is the difference between Donald Trump and Joe Walsh? Joe Walsh talked about Stevie Wonder taking the knee. He's talked about Barack Obama. He has apologized. But still, if he's still saying these things, there is a racial problem for Walsh and if Conway is supporting him, it's hypocrisy.

You know, Conway has to really figure out how he is going to navigate these quarters. You can't say one thing and big op-ed and support a man who many people thinking is walking around without a hood on his head.

BLACKWELL: That was -- that was striking.

April Ryan, thank you so much for being with us.


RYAN: Look, chapter 52, you get more now.


BLACKWELL: Chapter 52 -- before people start tweeting me. April created the hashtag. I didn't come up with chapter 52 to talk about being 52.

RYAN: I am now 52 years old and happy! Yes!

PAUL: Happy birthday!

RYAN: Chapter 52. Thank you, Christi.

BLACKWELL: Thank you, April.

RYAN: Much love! Bye-bye.

BLACKWELL: 2020 candidates roll out ambitious new proposals ahead of another Democratic debate this week. Jake Tapper talks to Senator Amy Klobuchar and Secretary Julian Castro about their pitches to voters. That's on "STATE OF THE UNION WITH JAKE TAPPER" today at 9:00 Eastern, right here on CNN.

PAUL: A simple act of kindness you think doesn't mean anything? Well, one father says his son who has autism has experienced a few moments that has taught his dad some important lessons. And listen to this, teenagers are listening to him. He is with us, next.



PAUL: Listen. This is an incredible story of human kindness. An autistic high school student spent a lot of time alone because people didn't accept him. He was sad and depressed and one day, two of his classmates show up on his doorstep on Halloween and say, hey, can we take him trick or treating with us? It changed his life.

His father is taking that story to middle and high school students across the country and talking about how showing up makes all of the difference.


DAVID FLOOD, YOUTH MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER: Do something nice for someone else and let someone see you do you're doing. You know, you don't realize how you're affecting other people. You can make an impact.


PAUL: Youth motivation speaker David Flood is with us now.

David, thank you so much for taking time to be with us.

You talk a lot about your son Justin in your speeches. You say he's kind. He's compassionate. He's caring, but he doesn't understand where he fits in.

You say that and I think that resonates with an awful lot of people, young and old alike.

FLOOD: Absolutely.

PAUL: Go ahead. Well, what do you see from students when you start that conversation about how it feels for them and what they need to do?

FLOOD: So, Justin's autism, Christi, is just what I call the on-ramp to the highway of kindness for me to talk about kindness. But any child who's suffering with, who doesn't speak the language, who might have special needs, who is new in the school, who is transgender, who is trying to find themselves, whose parents are divorced, whose father -- any kid who is marginalized or adult, but especially kids now days, you know, we have become very bad models for kids and it's incumbent upon us to talk more about respect and compassion in schools, without a doubt.

PAUL: So, how have you seen these stories expand from teenagers to adults? How does it affect them? Because I watched the videos, the videos are spectacular. And you can see these kids are intensely listening to you.

[07:50:02] FLOOD: In the workplace. You know, I speak -- I'm very emotional. I make a joke that I cry more than a group of babies in an onion factory watching "Grey's Anatomy." I'm very emotional. I've been called an emotional dad.

You shouldn't read the posts on Facebook, Christi, but a man said I was emotionally challenged. And I thought, yes, I'm emotionally challenged because emotion connects, emotion connects with people. And, you know, as Mother Teresa said -- I don't know when she said it, but it's still applicable today, we've forgotten that we belong to each other. We've forgotten that we belong to each other.

PAUL: You did have one particular speech talking about showing up and you told that Halloween story. What at the end of the day do you want the take away to be for us to encourage us to show up?

FLOOD: Just have your radar turned on high to be aware when someone around you is in pain or suffering. And certainly kids and everyone has to go through some pain and suffering in their life to grow, but that doesn't mean that we can't go through it with them and walk through that pain with them. We don't have to do it for them, but we can do it with them.

PAUL: And look people in the eye. You say one of the -- go-to, you look them in the eye and you see yourself in them, is that it?

FLOOD: Two lost things in our society now are handshaking and eye contact. Everything is about the phone. Just look me in the eye. You know, Donald Walsh (ph) says if you look someone in the eye for nine seconds, you can't help but fall in love with them.

So, it's so important to make eye contact with people and shake hands and show up. Just show up. It's very simple.

PAUL: David Flood, thank you so much. We appreciate your kindness.

FLOOD: I'm humbled that you have me on, Christi. Thank you so much.

PAUL: Happy anniversary to your wife. I hope you gave her more than this, being on TV for Sunday.

FLOOD: I have shirts for you in Victor. I'll send them to Atlanta.

PAUL: Thank you. I'll wear it proudly.


PAUL: We'll be right back.



BLACKWELL: Veganism is a growing trend among elite athletes, but can it benefit the average athlete. In this week's "Staying Well", you see how going vegan helped a one-time weekend runner improve his endurance to go the distance.


MATT FRAZIER, VEGAN ATHLETE: I'm kind of a recreational athlete. I'm a guy who with the help of a plant-based diet managed to do some neat things athletically.

I had gotten really excited about the idea of qualifying for the Boston marathon. To me, as a non-runner, that would be amazing if I could do that. I missed the qualifying time for my first marathon.

So, over the course of five or six years, I really started learning as much as I could about running, learning how to avoid injuries and a big part of all that was my diet.

It seemed like the people who are actually achieving the most as far as athletes went, they doing it on a 100 percent plant-based diet. I decided that I was going to go for it. I started this blog. There were 500 people following me in this quest to qualify for the Boston marathon, which I did six months after I made this diet change.

BRITTANY VERRAS, DIETITIAN, EMORY UNIVERSITY: Plant-based diet gives us the best access to a wide variety of nutrients and fiber, and those things really help reduce fatigue and they increase oxygen and blood flow to muscle. A lot of people worry about protein on plant-based diets, especially if they're an athlete. People like to go protein crazy, but that's a mistake. We eat too much at one time, our body can't process it. We end up either storing it as fat or getting rid of it.

The best sources of plant-based proteins will be soy, tofu. You can also get it from beans, lentils, legumes, peas.

FRAZIER: I got to run 50-mile, I can run 100-mile. The diet helped me with these things. I just feel like it's one of the best decisions I've ever made for my health.


PAUL: Thank you so much for sharing part of your time with us. We hope you make good memories today.

BLACKWELL: "INSIDE POLITICS" with Dana Bash is up after a quick break.