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Trump Meets With Teamsters In Attempt To Win Their Votes; Trump & Biden Battle For Labor Union Endorsements; U.S. Warship Has Close Call With Houthi Missile In Red Sea; City of Memphis Releases New Video From Night Of Tyre Nichols' Deadly Police Beating; Super Bowl Ticket Prices Hit Record Highs. Aired 2:30-3p ET
Aired January 31, 2024 - 14:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Today, Donald Trump is back in the city he loves to hate and hates to love. Right now, in the nation's capital, the former president is addressing members of the Teamsters Union, which represents an estimated 1.3 million workers.
It is Trump's latest attempt to drive a wedge between President Biden and organized labor, one of the president's most loyal constituencies.
Union households, a traditionally Democratic voting bloc, backed Biden by a wide margin in the last election, according to CNN exit polling. That included the endorsement of the Teamsters Union who also backed Hillary Clinton in 2016.
CNN's Kristen Holmes is closely following the Trump campaign for us.
Kristen, is Trump confident he can win over organized labor or at least enough workers to put a dent in Biden's support?
KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is all about the rank-and-file members, Brianna. I don't think anyone is under the impression that Donald Trump will win over organized labor as a whole. His tenure in the White House showed he was not a pro-labor president.
But this is about picking up those rank-and-file workers and those working-class voters, something that Donald Trump has shown he can do.
When I talked to a senior adviser, they said, look, we don't want to cede any ground in any demographic to Joe Biden and that's why we are going after Teamsters as well as union workers.
Here's what Donald Trump said about his meeting with the Teamsters today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Stranger things have happened. Usually, a Republican will not get that endorsement. For many years they only do Democrats. But in my case, it is different because I have employed thousands of
Teamsters. I thought we should come over and pay our respects.
And as you know, a big part of the voting bloc votes for me, a very big part. Some people say more than 50 percent. Nobody knows the exact number is but some say more than 50 percent of the Teamsters vote for me,
So we had a very, very productive meeting, I think, with a lot of Teamster representatives upstairs. OK?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: As you said, the exit polls we have shows that union households broke for Joe Biden, not for Donald Trump as he implied there. Obviously, we do not have the breakdown of Teamsters versus other unions.
But again, this is an attempt to drive a wedge between Joe Biden and the voting bloc.
He also mentioned a bunch of other topics, Brianna, that I want to quickly note.
He talked about the border. He said any Senate Republicans considering voting for the border deal should not do that. Then he tried to backpedal and say it was not about politics, that he just wanted a good deal at the border.
He also said that if he was in office, that he would not allow Japan to purchase U.S. Steel, something he hasn't said before.
One thing that he notably did not answer, actually, two things he notably didn't answer. One, he was asked specifically about conversations about a 60 percent tariff on Mexico, something that we have heard. He did not answer that.
The other thing he did not answer is what he would have done in retaliation for the three soldiers, three troops that were killed. He kept saying over and over again it would not have happened if he was in office.
Again, a lot of this ended up turning into a general election speech, talking about what he intends to hit on, which is crime, the economy, talking about inflation and immigration.
But overarching, it's part of a larger strategy, not just of Donald Trump but of his campaign, to reach into several districts that Joe Biden won, several different voting factions and try to siphon off voters.
And one of those factions, one of those voting blocs those union workers -- Brianna? KEILAR: Yes. Just a fact check, Iranian proxies did kill U.S. servicemembers during his term. In fact, after he took out Soleimani. And that is actually part of the important facts that have to be considered as the Biden administration is figuring out what they're going to do here.
Kristen, thank you so much for bringing us that report. We appreciate it.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: Let's discuss all of this with CNN senior political analyst, Gloria Borer.
Gloria, great to see you.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Good to see you.
SANCHEZ: This battle for union workers, Joe Biden describes himself as the most pro-union president ever. Does Trump really have a chance to swing those large numbers?
BORGER: Scranton Joe, right, that he calls himself.
Look, it is divide-and-conquer. That's what he wants to do. His point is, well, the leadership may not be with me, but there is new leadership at the Teamsters and maybe I can get some of the rank-and- file if I cannot get the leadership.
There was a member of the executive board that was furious that the leadership met with Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago and sent a letter calling Trump a scab.
But he is not going to give up one vote in one of these battleground states, so called Blue Wall, where labor is really important, like Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania. Those are key.
And Biden has the advantage with labor there. There is no doubt about it. But I do think they will not give up.
SANCHEZ: Those three states were key for Biden in 2020.
SANCHEZ: Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan, as you mentioned. They went for Donald Trump in 2016.
SANCHEZ: Will 2024 ultimately come down to who wins those three?
BORGER: It could.
SANCHEZ: And could he win without them?
BORGER: Let's say it would be very uphill to win without those states. I think you have to win at least one or two of them. I think both of these candidates know that. These are key states.
And, of course, labor is so important. Look at a state like Michigan where labor is key. Hillary Clinton lost Michigan and that was a big problem. And she was told at the time that you need to pay more attention and she did not and she lost it.
So these two candidates are not losing any time paying attention to labor.
SANCHEZ: A fateful decision to not go to Michigan in the last few years.
BORGER: Oh, yes.
BORGER: Very fateful.
SANCHEZ: I am curious to get your perspective on how well Donald Trump does with working-class voters. Because stepping back and looking --
SANCHEZ: Yes. Looking at his life and his lifestyle, it seems counterintuitive that he would have such appeal.
BORGER: Right. Somehow, the Democratic Party has evolved into the party of the elite for some voters. They see it more as a party for the wealthy and that is a total turnaround.
Donald Trump has portrayed himself as somebody who cares about the working man, even though he lives on Fifth Avenue in a gilded apartment, and says, your grievances are my grievances. It is all about grievance.
If you have complaints about the way your life is going, then I am your person because I am a victim, too.
And if you feel victimized by this economy or you feel victimized by the Democrats, you don't think they have done enough for you, I am going to fight for you because I feel your pain, as Bill Clinton would say.
And this is how he succeeds. He's a populist candidate. He does very well that way. That is a big, big part of his appeal.
SANCHEZ: Gloria, we have to leave the conversation there. Always appreciate the perspective. Thanks.
KEILAR: We have some breaking news. A U.S. warship in the Red Sea has had what officials are calling an unusually close call with a missile that was launched by Houthi militants in Yemen.
Let's get to CNN Pentagon correspondent, Oren Liebermann, with more on this.
This is actually, Oren, correct me if I'm wrong, the closest that a Houthi attack has come to a U.S. warship?
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: That is correct. We have seen a number of these attacks, nearly 40 at this point, if I'm not mistaking, attacking international shipping lanes and that includes attacks directed at U.S. warships.
In this case, the "USS Gravely," an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, that was operating in the Red Sea. We knew from U.S. Central Command that it intercepted a cruise missile on Tuesday.
We now know, having spoken to four U.S. officials that the missile closed to within one mile of the "Gravely" before it was shot down. That is the closest a Houthi attack, be it a ballistic missile or cruise missile or drone, has come to a U.S. warship since attacks began late last year.
The system that was used to shoot it down the cruise missile is known as the CIWS (ph), the close-in weapons system. It is one of the last layers of defense on a destroyer.
In previous instances, these launches, these attacks are intercepted at a range of eight miles or more using interceptor missiles. The fact that it got this close is an indication of the fact that it got through somehow other layers of defense that failed to intercept this cruise missile.
And then was shot down with a close-in weapon system, which, I should point out, is an automated machine gun that was able to track and shoot it down still out of range of one mile.
This underscores, of course, how fraught the situation is as the Houthi attacks on international shipping lanes continues. This is what the U.S., the U.K. and others have warned about in these ongoing attacks.
And again, it underscores the threat, not only to U.S. warships, which the Houthis have said are now a target, but also to other vessels operating in that region, one of the world's most critical waterways.
KEILAR: Oren, there was also an incident where the U.S. shot down a missile after this had happened. So this morning, a missile, as it was preparing to launch from Yemen, is that right?
LIEBERMANN: This was not a missile that was shot down in the air. The U.S. struck a surface-to-air missile. That is a type of missile, almost an interceptor used to shoot down something in the sky.
The U.S. saw, according to Central Command, that one of these was about to be launched by the Houthis and proactively struck that surface-to-air missile before it was launched. These are known as the more dynamic strikes. These are when there is a
target that poses a threat at the last second or in that final window, the U.S. will take the shot essentially and strike these.
In this case, it was a surface-to-air missile. We have seen some of these in the past, in addition to larger attacks the U.S. has carried out against Houthi targets in Yemen. Some of those where the U.K. has joined in an attempt to disrupt these ongoing attacks on international shipping lanes.
KEILAR: Yes. Obviously, a lot of activity you are keeping your eyes on there, Oren.
Thank you so much for the very latest from the Pentagon. Oren Liebermann.
And we will be right back.
KEILAR: New details are emerging about why Memphis police say they pulled over Tyre Nichols the night that several officers brutally beat him to death.
The city of Memphis released some new video that captured an officer telling several others that Nichols was initially caught speeding.
The video also shows one of them talking to his Nichols' and asking them questions after their son's beating.
CNN's Isabel Rosales has fully reviewed the tape.
Tell us what else you saw here.
ISABEL ROSALES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, this is 48 videos in total that have been newly released, covering about 21 hours. It is dashcam traffic, body camera footage.
In one of the videos, we see Rowaughn Wells, Tyre Nichols' mother, speaking with officers on the night of Tyre Nichols's beating. She is remarkably calm.
Officers are telling her something must have been inside the system of Nichols. And she just can't believe what they are telling her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: He was fighting hard, too. It took three of us and he still got away.
ROWVAUGHN WELLS, TYRE NICHOLS' MOTHER: Are you serious?
UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: Yes, ma'am.
WELLS: OK. So they say he's on something. This is my son --
WELLS: -- and I'm not going to take for him. If they are wrong, they are wrong. But my son does not drink.
That is not my son.
WELLS: That's what I am saying.
UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: I believe something was in his system because he had unbelievable strength.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROSALES: Brianna, contrary to what police officers were telling RowVaughn Wells, a toxicology report shows that Tyre Nichols had a minimal amount of alcohol in his system, below the legal limit, and also chemicals associated with marijuana, not something that would indicate unbelievable strength -- Brianna?
KEILAR: Yes. Isabel, thank you for bringing that to us. We appreciate it.
Lawmakers grilling big tech CEOs on Capitol Hill about the risks that their platforms pose to children. We will take you back up to Capitol Hill ahead.
SANCHEZ: Tickets to this year's Super Bowl are said to be the most expensive in history. The average ticket is nearly $10,000, a significant jump from last year.
CNN's Nathaniel Meyersohn is here to break down the prices.
Nathaniel, it is not just the Super Bowl. The price for sports tickets generally seem to be up across the board.
NATHANIEL MEYERSOHN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They are up across the board, Boris. And I think the next time your Miami Dolphins come up to New York to play my Giants, you're going to have to pay for the tickets, because these prices are just out of control for a regular-season game.
People are spending about $630 just to go to a typical, regular-season game. It increased from $292 in 2003, and that includes parking, food, and a souvenir.
[14:55:07] So regular, everyday fans are being priced out of these regular-season games.
SANCHEZ: What is behind the rise in prices, Nathaniel?
MEYERSOHN: So, it is a trend that economists have dubbed Fun-flation. People wanting to spend more on fun activities, live events, particularly post-pandemic.
Then we are seeing a lot of fees for these ticket resale platforms like Ticketmaster.
We also have interesting trends of stadiums being built with fewer seats. So you have fewer seats, higher demand, and that is just pushing up prices and putting these games out of reach.
SANCHEZ: Given how the Dolphins did in the playoffs, Nathaniel, I think I'm going to get some tickets to my couch for the next season.
Nathaniel Meyerson, thanks so much for breaking the numbers down for us.
Stay with CNN NEWS CENTRAL. We are back in just a few minutes.