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CNN This Morning

Trump Mocks Biden's Stutter; Biden Draws a Red Line for Israel; Netanyahu Vows to Defy Biden's Red Line on Rafah. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired March 11, 2024 - 05:00   ET



KASIE HUNT, ANCHOR, CNN THIS MORNING: It's Monday, March 11th, right now on CNN THIS MORNING. President Biden and Donald Trump campaigning in Georgia ahead of Tuesday's primaries there. Trump drawing some outrage after he mocks the president's stutter.

A red line for Israel. President Biden calling for an end to violence in Gaza, but Prime Minister Netanyahu not backing down. And Republican Senator Katie Britt backtracking, trying to explain her much maligned response to President Biden's State of the Union.

Right, it's 5:00 a.m. here in Washington, a live look at that beautiful Capitol Dome on this first Monday under Daylight Savings Time, it's a little darker for all of us early risers, good morning to you, I'm happy to have you with us, I'm Kasie Hunt. We're going to get into politics in just a moment. But let's take a quick look at last night's Oscars.


AL PACINO, AMERICAN ACTOR: Here it comes. And my eyes sees "Oppenheimer".


HUNT: That understatement "Oppenheimer" blew away the competition last night, winning seven awards, Cillian Murphy won for best actor playing J. Robert Oppenheimer. He is the first Irish-born actor to win an Academy Award.

Emma Stone with one of the biggest upsets of the night, winning best actress for her role in "Poor Things", she beat out Lily Gladstone from "Killers of the Flower Moon", she would have been the first Native American winner.

And a little later, we're going to show you Ryan Gosling singing "Is Ken" and John Cena naked? How is that for a tease? But let's get first to politics because right now, Georgia is on a lot of minds. The state is going to play a pivotal role in deciding the nation's next president in November even though Donald Trump and President Biden have all but sealed their party's nominations.

It did not stop them from campaigning at dueling rallies in this critical purple state less than a 100 miles apart, with Trump trying now to claim he wants to bring together voters from all parties. He was -- did it in his own unique way.


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT AND 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: To all Americans, whether you are a Republican, an independent or a disillusioned Democrat of which there are many, all you had to do is watch that horrible State of the Union. That was the worst president in history, making the worst State of the Union speech in history.


HUNT: If there are disillusioned Democrats, President Biden is hoping his messaging about Trump's vision for the U.S. is enough to get them back on his side.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: But we all know Donald Trump sees a different America. An American story of resentment, revenge and retribution. That's not me, that's not you!


HUNT: And of course, Georgia is far from just any state on the primary calendar. Less than a year ago, Trump and over a dozen of his allies were indicted on state charges stemming from alleged efforts to overturn his 2020 defeat there.

What role this and other -- and Trump's other legal cases are going to play in November is of course, a huge question looming over this entire campaign. Joining me now, national politics reporter for "Axios', Sophia Cai. Sophia, good morning, it's great to see you.


HUNT: Excuse me. What do you make -- what was your take-away from especially the darkness of Trump's rally in Georgia?

SOPHIA CAI, NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER, AXIOS: I mean, look, that segment you played with Trump, for the first time that I'm hearing this cycle explicitly appealing to voters in the middle, he could not help in the middle of that, but to bash Biden.

And so, it really -- you know, you wonder if that is a sincere appeal to voters at the middle. And I think, you know, that is where the story is in North Carolina. The exit polls showed that 78 percent of voters could not commit to voting for the eventual Republican nominee, Trump. I mean, that is his biggest issue as you move ahead here.

HUNT: Right, for sure. Sophia, let me show you a little bit of what Senator Raphael Warnock, senator from Georgia had to say to my colleague Jake Tapper over the weekend when he was asked about this question of third-party voters, right? And what role they might play in this race. Watch.



SEN. RAPHAEL WARNOCK (D-GA): At the end of the day, this is a binary choice, and the question is, do you want the America of January 5th that sent its first black senator from Georgia, its first Jewish senator from Georgia to the United States Senate? Or do you want the America of January 6th, pushed forward by a president who continues to advance the big lie about the election and about hiding that lie.


HUNT: That of course, "Meet the Press", my mistake. Senator Warnock there basically making -- he's been -- he's a surrogate for the Biden team there, right? Saying, look, this isn't just a referendum on President Biden.

CAI: Yes, I mean, I think they're trying to make it about the future of the country and democracy, whereas, you know, President Trump seem in Georgia bringing up the Georgia student who was killed, MTG, Trump ally at the State of the Union forcing Biden to, you know, say the student's name.

And Biden kind of taking her up on that. And so, there's different sets of issues that each of these candidates and their teams are really trying to emphasize in the lead-up to the general.

HUNT: So, speaking of Laken Riley; the nursing student in Georgia, President Biden was asked over the weekend whether or not he regretted using the term illegal, which he used in response to Marjorie Taylor Greene. He did say that he should have used different language. Let's watch what the president had to say.


BIDEN: An undocumented person, and I shouldn't have used illegal, I should have -- it's undocumented. And look, when I spoke about the difference between Trump and me, one of the things I talked about in the border was, but -- is the way he talks about vermin, the way he talks about these people polluting the blood.

I talked about what I'm not going to do, what I won't do, I'm not going to treat any of these people with disrespect. Look, they built a country.


HUNT: And then let's also take a look at, you know, Donald Trump obviously -- seems to have seen this because he addressed it on stage. Watch.


TRUMP: That Joe Biden went on television and apologized for calling Laken's murderer an illegal. He didn't want to call him illegal --


TRUMP: He said he should have called him an undocumented, not an illegal, and he wanted to apologize.



HUNT: This is really becoming like such a central issue, perhaps defining this entire campaign. What was your read of why President Biden decided to approach it this way?

CAI: Look, I think one of his biggest weaknesses in this election is, he's not strong enough on the border. He's not strong enough in general. That's one of the biggest criticisms. And he knows the importance of rhetoric. He's been doing this for decades.

You know, to his point, he noticed it's Trump's rhetoric. I don't actually think that his use of the word "illegal" was a mistake. He addressed it on the spot. He did take his time walking it back, but he was asked during the day -- I mean, it was only when he sat down for another interview that he said, look, like I should have used this set of language.

But I think he was trying to make a statement. He's trying to say, I take this seriously. And here's where I am.

HUNT: Sophia, let me talk to you about your -- some of the reporting you had out over the weekend, your reporting on changes at the Republican National Committee in terms of installing kind of new staff to run, try to ride the ship, frankly --

CAI: Yes --

HUNT: Since it's been kind of hemorrhaging money. What do you -- what have you learned?

CAI: Yes, so, we reported this weekend that Chris LaCivita, Trump's co-campaign manager, who is also going to be COO at the RNC is bringing in his number two, Sean Cairncross, and he's a former RNC executive who is known for his being good with money.

And so, he's you know, really bring -- being brought back here to do the books, to kind of go through these line items, figure out what is necessary to turning out voters and what's not in crossing out everything else. And that kind of gives you a sense of what the priorities are at sort of that middle to high level of what's next for this new RNC team that's coming in.

And it's coming at a time when Trump started Laura Trump as well as Michael Whatley; the former North Carolina chairman. They were just elected last week, and so, this week, I think the expectation is, some of these people will start coming into the building in D.C. and making these changes. HUNT: Remolding it in Trump's image?

CAI: Yes, exactly.

HUNT: Sophia Cai, thank you very much for being with us this morning. All right, coming up next here, President Biden's red line for Israel. Will Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu simply ignore it? Plus, wildfire crews working desperately to -- sorry, wildlife crews working desperately to free a whale beached off the coast of Florida -- oh, dear.

And Congress is set to vote on banning TikTok, effectively banning TikTok in the U.S. The lawmaker who wrote the legislation joins us live on CNN THIS MORNIING. That's just ahead.



HUNT: This morning, Israel says it will push ahead with the offensive in Rafah, Gaza, despite President Biden's warning. In an interview with "MSNBC", the president said that invading Rafah where more than 1.5 million Gazans are sheltering would be a quote, "red line".

And he said Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is hurting Israel more than helping by failing to limit civilian casualties. Here's what Netanyahu had to say about that.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER, ISRAEL: Well, I don't know exactly what the president meant. But if he meant by that, that I'm pursuing private policies against the majority, the wish of the majority of Israelis, and that this is hurting the interests of Israel, then he's wrong on both counts.



HUNT: All right, CNN's Scott McLean is live in Istanbul with more on this. Scott, good morning. Biden says he'd never fully cut Israel off. I mean, what consequences might they be able to impose or willing to impose, should Israel invade Rafah?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think, Kasie, you have put your finger precisely on the issue here. And that is that, President Biden answered the question saying that yes, an Israeli ground invasion of Rafah would be a red line for him, but he didn't identify precisely what, if any consequences there would actually be.

Because he followed it up by saying, as you mentioned, that he would never cut Israel off of all weapons, never leave them without an Iron Dome, anything like that. And so, clearly, none of that was perceived as any kind of a threat by the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who very swiftly yesterday, in this interview with "Politico" and the German outlet Bild, said that, that offensive in Rafah will press ahead.

And this is despite plenty of countries in the international community warning that this would be a catastrophe, including some of Israel's closest allies. The United States, for its part, has said that any incursion of Gaza should not take place until there is a credible plan to evacuate the 1.3 or 1.5 Palestinians -- million, excuse me, Palestinians, who are currently sheltering in that area with really no safe place to go.

And given the humanitarian crisis there, given the fact that people are on the brink of starvation and dehydration and malnutrition, you have people according to the Hamas-run Ministry of Health, who have died already of these really preventable things.

And when it comes to aid, you know, this -- you know, these dueling interviews seemed to expose this rift that we've seen between President Biden and Prime Minister Netanyahu. When it comes to aid, the U.S. has continued to urge the Israelis to do more to get more aid in faster. That hasn't really happened though.

And so, the U.S. is resorting to what should be pretty embarrassing air-dropping aid on a territory controlled by its closest ally as well. And one of the things -- to very quickly mention as well is, the U.S. has also been preaching for calm when it comes to the northern Israeli border with Lebanon, and even in this interview, Netanyahu didn't rule out the possibility of expanding military action on that front as well. Kasie?

HUNT: All right, Scott McLean for us live in Istanbul, Scott, thank you very much for that. And coming up here, Katie Britt backtracking. The Republican senator trying to defend her controversial State of the Union response. Plus, a spaceflight doubleheader. Two launches in one night, we'll show you those.



HUNT: All right, 21 minutes past the hour. Here's your morning roundup. Non-essential personnel evacuated from the U.S. Embassy in Haiti because of the rising violence. The operation conducted by the U.S. military. The embassy remains open.

Wildlife crews are racing to free a beached sperm whale off Venice, Florida. But officials say they're unable to reach the whale due to dangerous water conditions and that hope is fading. And --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And lift off of Falcon 9, go Starlink, go SpaceX.


HUNT: SpaceX completely a double-launched Sunday with two missions within four hours of each other in Florida and California launching Starlink internet satellites. Starlink is SpaceX's broadband mega constellation. It beams internet service to people around the world.

And a big sign that the Hollywood blockbuster is back. 'Oppenheimer" dominated the Oscars last night, Robert Downey Jr. also won the best supporting actor Oscar for his role in "Oppenheimer".


ROBERT DOWNEY JR., AMERICAN ACTOR: I'd like to thank my terrible childhood --


DOWNEY JR.: And the academy in that order.


HUNT: It is his first Oscar, more than 30 years after he was first nominated. But Ryan Gosling likely stole the show with his performance of the Oscar-nominated song, "I'm Just Ken" with an assist from Slash.




HUNT: All right, let's get straight to our weatherman and resident Ken --


HUNT: Derek Van Dam. Derek, good morning!

VAN DAM: I am just so glad that Gosling called me for a bit of singing tips and tricks before he went and did that performance, because he nailed it along with Slash --

HUNT: Don't worry, don't worry, Derek. You're enough. OK?


VAN DAM: I'll bring it --


HUNT: What have you got for weather?

VAN DAM: To look at the weather forecast. Yes, all right -- oh, man, if I just had perfect hair like him, that's all. Wind advisory, that's the big deal. But the reason this is a big deal is because if you're traveling out of the major east coast cities, you might have an impact at the airports, right?

So, we're talking gusts over 55 miles per hour for some of our most populated areas along the eastern seaboard. So, take note, maybe plan a little bit of extra time, call the airport or look at your app, see if this -- if your planes are taking off on time, because this will be a gusty day across the northeast yesterday were impacted by these strong winds, and even some squalid snow bands that moved through that drop visibilities rather quickly.


In fact, we still had some of that remnant snow shower activity mainly for northern New England. That's where we have Winter weather advisories -- by the way, we could still pick up over a foot of snow across Upstate, New York into Vermont, New Hampshire. We've already clocked in over a foot for some locations.

A storm not bringing snowfall really to the coastline, but nonetheless, the winds will be the major impacts here. And then we say goodbye to the cold weather, and we warm things up. Look at this by the middle of the week, yes, that's middle 70s for Raleigh, even Boston and New York, you'll get to the upper 70s.

Got to mention this. Fire weather forecasts, we, of course, have been paying a lot of attention to the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandle, critical fire weather conditions in and around Amarillo, it does improve though through the week. Kasie, is that enough Kenergy for you?


HUNT: You did great, Derek. Thank you very much for that. I'll see you later on --

VAN DAM: All right, have a good day --

HUNT: Next hour. Have a good day. All right, coming up next here, Donald Trump mocking President Biden's speech impediment. Plus, the president's campaign strategy is coming into sharper focus. That's coming up!