Return to Transcripts main page

CNN News Central

Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO) Discusses Israel-Hamas War; Trump Skips GOP Debate To Hold FL Counter-Rally Instead; Tentative Deal Reached Between Union, Las Vegas Casinos; National Zoo's Giant Pandas Head Back To China. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired November 08, 2023 - 13:30   ET



REP. JASON CROW (D-CO): But, ultimately, you have to bring to bear humanitarian aid, political solutions and diplomatic solutions to undercut the ideology of these terrorist organizations and remove all of the base of its support to end terrorism.

That is the lesson of our 20-year war on terror that, frankly, we have still yet to learn, that I think we could help Israel learn here in this instance as well.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: So would you say Israel's stated goal of eradicating Hamas in Gaza is unrealistic, point blank?

CROW: Well, you can use the military to contain and to suppress it. But unless they actually have a humanitarian component, we mitigate civilian casualties and we engage in diplomacy, you'll never fully wipe out Hamas. I believe that very, very ardently.

And listen, every time you do a bombing mission or precision strike and civilians get killed, you create more terrorists. Right? The anger and the animosity that comes out of those strikes oftentimes multiplies your problem.

So you can't just go after one Hamas commander and, if you end up killing civilians in the process, you're actually creating more problem than you're solving.

So we have to choose a different path. There's a way of doing that with a surgical sustained counterterror operation. But it's a little bit different path than what we're seeing right now.

BROWN: But very quickly, because we're running out of time, unfortunately, and it's a double-barrel question here.

You tweeted, "This should not have happened. I have fought wars in crowded cities when civilians were present. It changed our plans. Terrorists often use humans as shields but that does not change your obligations to protect civilians, period."

So does Israel need to do a better job of listening to these warnings? And how do you actually avoid civilian deaths when Hamas uses these civilians as human shields and their tunnels or ambulances?

CROW: Well, one thing I want to make clear right now is the significant difference between Hamas and Israel.

Hamas is a terrorist organization that specifically targets civilians. They're preventing civilians from leaving Gaza. They're using them as human shields. They're building their command centers under hospitals. They are specifically targeting and using civilians.

Contrast that with Israel, that tries to avoid civilian casualties. But these are hard situations. These are hard militarily. You can always do better. And I've been pushing to do better.

So there are situations where I think, given my experience, sometimes you make a decision not to strike a target.

Even if there's a legitimate military objective or commander on site, if there are civilians present, you avoid and you find a different way of doing it because it is so important to protect innocent lives in combat.

In pursuit of your larger long-term goal of safety and stability and humanitarian rights that you sometimes defer shorter-term objectives in the process.

BROWN: All right, Congressman Jason Crow, thank you so much.

CROW: Thank you.

BROWN: Well, as his Republican opponents hit the debate stage, former President Trump is rallying for Hispanic support on the campaign stage. More on this strategy, up next.



BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: He won't be at the debate, but former President Donald Trump will be taking a different stage tonight. He's courting voters at a counter-rally in the predominantly Latino city of Hialeah.

Hialeah's like 95 percent Hispanic. It's notably my hometown.

A CNN poll shows that Trump currently carries 46 percent of the Latino vote among registered voters. That's a big jump from 2020 when that number was only 32 percent.

CNN national correspondent, Kristen Holmes, is in Hialeah for us.

And, Kristen, President Biden's poll numbers, he's still in the lead, but in the single digits. And he won among Latino voters in the last election by some 30 points. So this is significant ground for Trump.

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this is a really critical voting bloc to Donald Trump. We know that he is going to give a speech that focuses on Hispanic voters.

You talk about 2020. Well, even then he had made a significant amount of traction among Hispanic voters than what we saw back in 2016 and far more turnout.

Now, Biden's still got the majority, but Trump's team really believes that they can make inroads with Hispanic voters.

And I did speak to a number of people here. Obviously, no surprise that everyone here is an avid rampant supporter of Donald Trump.

Many of the voters I spoke to were even wearing his mugshot on a shirt, wearing shirts that say, "never surrender." Obviously indicating that Trump's legal woes are not having any impact on their support.

But this is really part of a larger strategy that Trump's team is taking to try and find different voting blocs outside of Trump's traditional base that they think are going to be critical.

Not only in 2024 in a general election should Trump be the nominee but also in the primary here in Florida. That is something they are watching carefully.

We know they're actually going to launch ads on Hispanic media, television and radio, all targeting Hispanic voters that they believe are going to eventually help them.

And one other thing I'll note is that, yesterday, Trump actually also taped an interview with Univision that's going to air tomorrow. So another thing to keep an eye on.

This, again, part of a larger strategy as they eye the general election, trying to figure out what blocs of voters outside of Trump's traditional base they might be able to siphon away votes from.

SANCHEZ: Kristen, I hope you enjoy your time in Hialeah. I'll try to get one of my primos, one of my cousins, to take you to some pastelillos. Some lovely pastries down there.

Thanks so much, Kristen. Appreciate the reporting.


Still to come on NEWS CENTRAL, a breakthrough in Vegas. Hospitality workers reaching a tentative deal with Caesars. But the threat of a major strike in Sin City is not over yet. Details from Vegas in just moments.


BROWN: Vegas on edge. We are just two days out from a possible labor strike at several Las Vegas casinos. But there may be some progress in negotiations.

This morning a tentative deal has been reached between the Culinary Union and Caesars Entertainment to avert a potential strike. Now, this does not cover nine other casinos where workers could still walk out Friday.

CNN business correspondent, Vanessa Yurkevich, joins us now.

What do we know about this potential deal, Vanessa?

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS & POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: So early this morning, the Culinary Union announced they had reached a deal after 20 hours of straight negotiations between Caesars and the union.


That means that 10,000 workers who work at Caesars will not be heading to the picket lines by the union's deadline of 5:00 a.m. local time in Vegas. That deadline on Friday.

However, the union still needs to come up with deals with Wynn and MGM. They represent about nine hotels on the strip and 25,000 workers.

If those workers were to head on strike on Friday, that would be the largest hospitality strike in U.S. history. So there is some pressure now on Wynn and MGM, who are negotiating over the next two days, to try to come up with a deal.

Number one, because a lot of business could shift between those two brands to Caesars because they have a deal in place.

And also because, Pam, you have Formula One coming to town, to Las Vegas. That's a huge money maker for the town.

And a lot of people are saying that, yes, while casinos at these properties, MGM and Wynn, may remain open, the hotels are probably not going to be fully staffed. So people might not want to stay at a hotel where there's no housekeeping, no bartenders, no servers.

Now, we don't know specifics about the tentative agreement or negotiations. But one thing the union has been talking about for many weeks now is that one job should be enough.

Signaling that a lot of the negotiations and a lot of these deals that are trying to be worked out, Pam, center around wages, making sure these folks who work at these hotels and casinos can support their families on one job, the job that they have at these different hotel chains -- Pam?

BROWN: All right, Vanessa, thank you so much.

When we come back, packing up the pandas. Three of them are on a FedEx flight to China as a 50-year program at the National Zoo ends. We're going to speak to Jeff Corwin about that, up next.


[13:51:36] BROWN: It is an unbearable day for zookeepers in Washington, D.C., not just for zookeepers, but really for all of us who love going to see the pandas. Right now, the beloved giant pandas are on a 19-hour flight back to China.

SANCHEZ: Nineteen hours.

BROWN: That is a long time. I don't think I could do that.


BROWN: -- the pandas are going to it.


BROWN: The three took their final stroll through the zoo this morning before being towed away in FedEx shipping containers and boarding that flight. It ends more than 50 years of so-called panda diplomacy at the National Zoo.

Joining us now, wildlife and conservation expert, Jeff Corwin.

Hi, Jeff!

So I think one of the big questions today, of course, is, how are these pandas able to make it through such a long flight? Like, what typically happens to prepare them for a trip like this? What accommodations are they going to have on this flight? We all want to know.

JEFF CORWIN, WILDLIFE & CONSERVATION EXPERT: Well, good afternoon, guys. I'm delighted to be with you.

But it's sort of a heartbreaking day today.

Pandas have always been a part of the American national history landscape. People from around the North America have gone to incredible places like the Atlanta Zoo or to our National Zoo to witness these incredible ambassadors to wild China. And now they are going away.

But they will survive this journey. No box has been left unchecked. Every "I" has been dotted, every "T" has been crossed to ensure that they will arrive back to their ancestral home, safely, well fed.

And probably ready to continue their 19-hour-long nap. Because pandas love to sleep.


BROWN: Just like me.


SANCHEZ: A 19-hour flight, I feel like you have to take a nap. I hope they're getting, like, some bamboo, some -- BROWN: Yes.

SANCHEZ: -- refreshments while they're waiting.


SANCHEZ: Yes. We're looking at the crate right now that they're getting shipped in. And so --


CORWIN: They're getting the ultimate all-you-can-eat Asian buffet on their way --


CORWIN: -- to China. All the bamboo, all the carrots, the sweet potatoes to their heart's content.


CORWIN: They will be well fed when they arrive home.

But it is a sad day, because we think they're a part of our legacy. But in fact, we never owned these pandas. The pandas, they always belonged to China.

And we knew that this day could come. With these very complicated political times and the adversity we have globally, China decided to take them home.


SANCHEZ: So on that note, what does that mean for -- conservation --

BROWN: Conservation.

SANCHEZ: -- efforts in the United States and education, as well?

CORWIN: Boris, we can have that conversation on conservation all you want.



CORWIN: And it means a lot, actually -- I even blew it. I thought I could pull that off.

The truth is, it's kind of heartbreaking. Pandas, at zoos, generate a lot of revenue. And a lot of that revenue goes to conservation. And the lion's or panda's share of that conservation goes into protecting pandas, which are incredibly endangered.

There are incredible challenges in trying to restore panda habitats. There are a lot of issues with infertility with wild pandas. A lot of their habitat is gone.

So that revenue stream, the tens of millions of dollars raised every year, for people who want to go see a panda, that money goes away.


BROWN: Yes. I'm so sad, too, because I love going to the zoo to see the pandas. Taking my kids to see the pandas.

I remember, every time a baby panda was born, it was this huge deal, right? Like when I was in local news here in Washington, they would go all out with that.

And it is, it is really sad. And it also, you know, marks the end of this like, this symbol, right? This symbol that these pandas represented of diplomatic ties between the countries, right?

CORWIN: Absolutely. This literally, it's been like a fig leaf. It was a panda and some bamboo passed forward from the premiere of China to President Richard Nixon. His wife was there, Pat Nixon, to welcome the pandas to the National Zoo.

And again, with so many generations born here in captivity at our nation's zoos, you would think they would be a part of our legacy. But in fact, they were contractually always borrowed.

We literally leased these pandas. Every year, we paid a lease for them. And now they go home.

But, yes, hopefully, we'll be able to see pandas come back. But now, Pam, if you want to take for family to go see wild pandas, you'll have to go to Mexico. Because those are the only pandas that are here in the new world.

And the --


BROWN: What about Atlanta? I thought they were at the Atlanta Zoo, too?

CORWIN: Oh, yes -- that's correct. Atlanta still has their pandas. But their lease is coming up pretty soon. Hopefully, they'll be able to work that through.


CORWIN: But the other thing I want to remind you, Pam, is millions of people visit zoos every year. Zoos are the ultimate opportunity to learn about nature.

And even though we may not have our pandas there, our National Zoo, our beautiful National Zoo and the Atlanta Zoo has so much to offer. You'll miss them, but maybe you'll go witness some other incredible creatures.

BROWN: Good point. Positive point on there, Jeff.

SANCHEZ: Yes. Jeff Corwin, appreciate the conservation conversation. Got it!


BROWN: You did it! You can sleep well tonight.


Jeff, thank you, again, for being with us.

Stay with CNN. We'll be right back.