Return to Transcripts main page

CNN This Morning

Remembering Baseball Great Willie Mays; Trump Walks Back Milwaukee Remarks; Sen. Alex Padilla (D-CA) is Interviewed about Immigration; JD Vance Possible VP. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired June 19, 2024 - 06:30   ET





WILLIE MAYS, FORMER AMERICAN PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL PLAYER: When I first came to New York City, I had - they gave me a name. He called me "the Say Hey Kid." And I like to present a shirt to you that says, win one for the Gipper. And I think everybody -


MANU RAJU, CNN ANCHOR: And that was Willie Mays rubbing elbows with President Reagan in 1984. Everything about "the Say Hey Kid" was special. The why he moved. The way he played. And, of course, the way he impacted society. Willie Mays, widely considered one of the greatest baseball players of all time, has died. He was 93. His son Michael says he passed away peacefully and among loved ones.

Listen to President Obama described how he was influenced by Mays while he was awarded the Medal of Freedom to "the Say Hey Kid" in 2015.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: A few years ago, Willie rode with me on Air Force One. I told him then what I'll tell all of you now. It's because of giants like Willie that someone like me could even think about running for president.


RAJU: For those who never had the privilege of watching Mays play, here is his most memorable highlights from the 1954 World Series, and it's simply known as "the catch."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a long drive way back in center field, way back, back, it is - oh caught by Mays.


RAJU: Just remarkable.

And let's bring in CNN sports analyst and "USA Today" columnist Christine Brennan.

Christine, great to see you this morning.

So, as you process and assess the impact that Mays hayes - Mays had on America and on baseball, what do - what do you take away and what impact would you say he had?


CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: Manu, he, of course, started in the Negro Leagues. He - Willie Mays entered Major League Baseball in 1951, which was only four years - four years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier. So, Mays was coming into a league and a country that in many ways still did not want to accept him. And there were places when they would go to Chicago where he couldn't stay in the same hotel as other members of the Giants because, of course, of his race.

And to think what he did over the course of two decades in terms of not only the amazing play, you know, one of the greatest, if not the greatest. You had to watch everything he did. Five tool player. Whether he was running the bases and his cap falling off, tracking down that Vic Wertz flyball over the shoulder in the 1954 World Series, at bat, 660 homeruns. Everything he did was spectacular. And he was bringing America along with him, saying, whatever you thought of someone like me before, you are going to have a different view now. That was remarkable.

And I have to tell you, as a girl growing up in Toledo, Ohio, I'd played baseball with the boys in our neighborhood. And it was at the end of Willie Mays' career. But when we were up at bat, Manu, we were there -- Mickey Mantle, maybe a little bit of Al Kaline because Detroit was so close, but also Willie Mays.

So, he had such an impact on kids around the country who would never see him play in person but just wanted to emulate this amazing baseball player.

RAJU: And, of course, he was one of the very first black players to play in the league and at a time - you know, Jackie Robinson, of course, broke the color barrier, but that was a time when very few Americans had TVs and could watch him play. Willie Mays later, many more Americans watched him play. That's why he had such an impact.

I do want you to listen to this exchange that he had with Larry King about playing baseball versus football.


LARRY KING, TELEVISION HOST: Baseball always come easily to you?


KING: It did?

MAYS: I never had a problem with baseball. My best sport with football, basketball. My last sport was baseball.

KING: You were a better football player?

MAYS: Yes. Yes. Much better.

KING: Much better?

MAYS: Quarterback. Yes.


RAJU: And this is someone who had 660 career home runs, batted more - average, career average, more than 300. I think it was a 302 career batting average. Better at football?

BRENNAN: Well, I think we're very lucky that he went to baseball because at the time, as you know, Manu, in the 50s and 60s, baseball was our national past-time. It's still called our national past-time, but it really isn't. Now, of course, it's the National Football League, it's the NFL.

But back then it was baseball. So, he came to Americans, whether it was the radio, or, as you said, TV, he came to Americans on the - on the - you know, the great platform of Major League Baseball and this incredible passion we had for the game, often played during the day. You know, the World Series games, kids bringing transistor radios in to listen in study hall. Those were different days for baseball. And so I think we're very fortunate that way.

And a very, very cool little statistic, or a little anecdote. One of his teachers at Alabama was Condoleezza Rice's mother. And she told him, if you ever have to get out of school to maybe go practice or go to a game, let me know because you're going to be a baseball player. And so a wonderful little footnote to history.

RAJU: Yes.

BRENNAN: But a lot of these great athletes were good in other sports. But my goodness, it would have been so different for him in football.

RAJU: Yes.

BRENNAN: And thankfully, again, he had baseball and, of course, that was a gift to America.

RAJU: Yes, no question about it. What a life. What an impact. Christine Brennan, thank you.

And now, turning to this.


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT AND 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I love Milwaukee. I was the one that picked Milwaukee, I have to tell you. I was the one that picked it. These lying people that they say, oh, he doesn't like Milwaukee. I love Milwaukee. I said, you've got to fix the crime. We all know that. You've got to make sure the election's honest. But I'm the one that picked Milwaukee.


RAJU: All right, Donald Trump making a campaign visit to the crucial swing state of Wisconsin yesterday and essentially clarifying his remarks he made about the RNC host city. He called it horrible just a few days ago. Democrats, of course, had since piled up - put billboards all in the Milwaukee area highlighting Trump's comment. Some Wisconsin voters, however, seemed to shrug off the whole thing.


SALVATORE PURPORA, WISCONSIN VOTER: I wish that it wasn't said. But there's probably a reason why he said it and didn't explain himself.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You're cutting him a break about it?

PURPORA: I would. Yes.


And you agree that its horrible?

DON JAGER, WISCONSIN VOTER: It's - needs improvement.

MIRIAN CROSS, WISCONSIN VOTER: It's irrelevant. It's really irrelevant to the larger issues at hand.

TUCHMAN: So you don't think it's a big deal?

CROSS: I think it's an nothing burger.


RAJU: And nothing burger, Mo?



Look, I don't think people in Milwaukee, a city that Democrats need huge turnout, are going to love welcoming Donald Trump after he says things like this. You know, "The New York Times" reported that he wasn't even planning to stay in Milwaukee for the convention, that he was actually planning to stay in Chicago until this whole brouhaha.

You know, if he's not even willing to stay there, that's not going to be helpful there. So, I think you're going to see Democrats have a lot of fun with this around the Republican Convention and use it moving forward. It's not just that he called it horrible though, right? You heard even

there, as he was trying to clean up, glean into the election fraud argument, the big lie once again, saying that, you know, there are a lot of cheaters in Milwaukee. He can't let go of that. And that's not going to help him if he wants to flip Milwaukee his way this time either.

RAJU: And if you - just to - on that comment about winning Wisconsin, the former president talked about what happened in 2016 and his version of what happened in 2020.


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT AND 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Do you remember in 2016 we won, and then we did much better here in 2020, but they, you know, left things happen. And then in the end we won.


RAJU: They didn't win in 2020. Is that the kind of thing he should be talking about?

BRYAN LANZA, FORMER DEPUTY COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, TRUMP 2016 CAMPAIGN: Listen, I think Trump can make the case that he's going to win in 2024. I mean the elections are always going to be about the future. The number one issue that - that Milwaukee, Wisconsin, cares about is inflation. It's the economy. It's inflation.

So, you're right, billboards like this are going to have minimal impact. The voters themselves are saying it's a nothing burger. They want to know what Joe Biden's done with inflation. I mean inflation has devastated the middle class, the working class in Wisconsin for nearly 36 to 40 months. And Joe Biden is a - has a zero impact on reducing inflation in any of those times. That has a huge impact more than a billboard -

RAJU: Sure.

LANZA: More them him saying he doesn't like Wisconsin.

RAJU: But, you know, yes, he can talk about inflation, but then Trump says things like that, which distracts from his message.

ALEX THOMPSON, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, "AXIOS": Absolutely. He did this last - this last weekend too. He went to a black church. He had like a decent event. And the next event he goes to and he just completely goes off - you know, talks about 2020, 2020. 2020. His aides know this. And the thing is that they can't - he can't help himself. The fact is that, you know, he - I think he probably convinces himself that, well, this makes me look like a winner. You know, I'm sort of manifesting reality and the power of positive thinking, blah, blah, blah. But really it's that he's upset that he lost. And the, you know, there's no one that can tell him to stop.

RAJU: Yes, they've tried. He doesn't listen. All right, ahead, a strict new cell phone ban for students in one of the nation's largest school districts. Plus, Democratic Senator Alex Padilla of California is here to join me.




JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Two weeks ago I did what Republicans in Congress refused to do, I took action to secure our border.

Today I'm announcing new measures to clarify and speed up work visas.


RAJU: President Biden unveiling an executive action that will shield certain undocumented spouses and children of U.S. citizens from deportation. The action could offer protections to hundreds of thousands of people while - by allowing them to apply for lawful permanent residency without leaving the country.

Now, this sweeping election-year move aimed at appealing to key Latino constituencies in battleground states like Arizona, Nevada, and Georgia, all will be critical to Biden's reelection in November.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: These couples have been raising families, sending the kids just church and school, paying taxes, contributing to our country.

But living in the United States all this time with the fear and uncertainty.

This action will allow them to file paperwork for legal status in the United States, allow them to work while they remain with their families in the United States. And let's be clear, this action still requires undocumented spouses to file all required legal paperwork to remain in the United States.


RAJU: All right, joining me is a man who was standing with the president at the White House yesterday, California Senator Alex Padilla, a Democrat.

Thank you so much for joining me this morning.

SEN. ALEX PADILLA (D-CA): Absolutely. It's good to be here on set with you.

RAJU: On set and not being chased in the hallways.

PADILLA: Exactly.

RAJU: I'm sure it's much more comfortable here.

So, about just immigrants, the politics of this. The way voters see Trump versus Biden right now about handling the issue of immigration, 52 percent Trump - support Trump, believe he's doing a better job, versus 41 percent for Biden right now when you look at - that's pretty much consistent with other national polls.

How much of a political risk is this, taking this action, at this time for the president?

PADILLA: I honestly don't think it's a risky move. You know, there's that an old adage, the best politics is good governance. This is good governance. You know, the numbers, when it comes to polling on immigration, I think, are also misleading because immigration is so complex. A couple weeks ago we were talking about and debating, you know, how best to better secure the border. You know, that's one element of it.

What we talked about yesterday is that people who may or may not be coming to the United States, we're talking about a university of people who have been in the United States, at least ten years is the criteria announced by the president, but really on average more than 23 years. These are our friends. These are our neighbors. These are our coworkers. And clearly members of families, along with United States citizens. That's why it's the mixed status family sort of descriptor that is being targeted here. People that have been here for many, many years, have been working, paying taxes, raising families, et cetera and are American in every sense except for the piece of paper. It's best - in the best interests, not just for them, their families, their communities, but for us as a country and our economy to give them these legal protections and a way to work lawfully and improve the economy.


RAJU: I mean the question is, of course, does this change how voters view about his - taking some of these actions, including some Hispanic voters. This is - if you look at exit polls from 2020 until the current public polling right now, Biden versus Trump, 65-32 in the 2020 exit polls among Hispanic voters, 52-47 now, public polling. Why is - why has Biden struggled with Hispanic voters?

PADILLA: The - again, polls are polls. The only poll that really counts is in November. There was a lot of people whose names were rattling before the 2020 general election. And President Biden did extremely well with -

RAJU: Your knees aren't rattling now?

PADILLA: No, we just have work to do because we have a compelling story to tell, not just on immigration and the - and the thoughtfulness of yesterday's announcement, but on other issues that Latinos care about, like the economy, like public safety, like access to healthcare, like addressing climate change, on and on and on. And, guess what? It's showtime. And we've got debates coming up. We've got political conventions coming up. We have the - the campaign outreach coming up. And we're going to see a good turnout in November.

RAJU: But, I mean, I hear this a lot from Democrats saying, you know, we have to message better. We did - tell the voters about what we did and the like. We're in June of the election year. Why hasn't that not happened yet?

PADILLA: Because we're still delivering. You know, we're still delivering and the work product, including yesterday's announcement. Hey, I have to tell you, having been in the room, it was so powerful to think that hundreds of thousands of families are breathing a sigh of relief and crying tears of joy because there is a pathway just to legal protections in the short-term, but potentially to naturalization and the long-term. That is huge. And when you really talk to people, as I do, not just throughout California, but as I travel the country, most people know somebody. They may think of somebody who works in the restaurant that they frequent. Maybe it's the people who are picking the fruit and vegetables that end up in our grocery stores. Maybe it's the mechanic. Maybe it's a fellow engineer. you have immigrants, including undocumented immigrants, working in so many different sectors of the economy. Most people know somebody. When you humanize it that way, a policy like yesterday makes all the sense in the world.

RAJU: I want you to react to how Trump has been talking about - one of the things he's talking about is deportation, a mass deportation program for people who are here illegally.

This is the crowd at his Wisconsin rally just yesterday.


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT AND 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have to send Joe Biden's illegal aliens back home where they belong. We have no choice. We have no choice.

CROWD: Send them back. Send them back. Send them back. Send them back. Send them back.


RAJU: They were chanting "Send them back."

And if you look at national polling on the issue of a program to deport all undocumented immigrants, this is from a recent poll that came out, CBS News poll, 62 percent favor that idea versus 38 percent who oppose it. Your reaction to the fact that it seems like to be an overwhelming majority (INAUDIBLE).

PADILLA: Look, after eight years of Trump, I'm really shocked that his core base followers would react the way they did at his rally yesterday. Of course not. But again, being out and about talking to people in your breakdown yesterday's (INAUDIBLE). So what it really means, this is not a universe of people that are just now seeking to come to the United States, who just came to the United States. These are long-term residents of the United States who happen to be undocumented. The contrast is this, under Trump, it's going to be chaos. You know, mass detention and mass deportation versus Joe Biden, who is securing the border. The numbers of folks approaching the border are way down in recent months because we've engaged our partner in Mexico.

But in the meantime, being just compassionate to the people who have been here, been contributing to the success of our country, worked in so many critical jobs during the pandemic, right? That service and sacrifice is not lost on the general public.

RAJU: I do want to ask you about the last executive action that he took, Joe Biden did, turning away people, asylum seekers, trying to what they say is shut down the border, taking actions that you don't like. Were you supportive of that first executive action by the president?

PADILLA: Look, as you know, I had issues with the initial executive order trying to deal with the border itself.

RAJU: Was he move - did he move too far to the right and it was -

PADILLA: Well, I mean, I thought it was incomplete. Politically for the first time, it was an enforcement oldie strategy as opposed to a balanced strategy which coupled enforcement with some relief. We finally saw the relief yesterday. So, I'm happy about that.

But the big part that's missing is engagement, not just with officials in Mexico, but other countries in Central and South America, because this migration issue is not a southern border of the United States issue. It's a hemispheric issue, which requires a hemispheric solution.

Again, tell me who's going to do a better job of that post-November. I think it's President Biden all the way.


RAJU: All right, Senator Alex Padilla of California, thank you so much for sharing your views. Appreciate it.

PADILLA: Thank you, Manu.

RAJU: Yes.

And we're 54 minutes past the hour. So, here's your morning roundup.

Outgoing Boeing chief Dave Calhoun facing bipartisan criticism at a Senate hearing after he admitted to and apologize for the company's retaliation against whistleblowers.


DAVE CALHOUN, CEO, BOEING: I apologize for the grief that we have caused. And I want you to know we are totally committed in her memory to work and focus on safety for as long - as long as we're employed by Boeing. So, again, I'm sorry. (END VIDEO CLIP)

RAJU: Now, Boeing is under intense scrutiny after a series of safety mishaps earlier this year.

And the Congressional Budget Office hiking its estimate of the U.S. budget deficit by $400 billion on Tuesday. The bulk of it was blamed on the Biden administration's proposed student loan forgiveness program that could take effect this fall.

And Justin Timberlake arrested on Long Island and charged with driving while intoxicated. Police say he performed poorly on a field sobriety test after refusing a breathalyzer. This is surveillance video of Timberlake's vehicle moments before he was pulled over. Court documents reveal he drove through a stop sign and then failed to keep on the right side of the road.

And students in America's second largest school district will no longer be able to use cell phones during the school day. The Los Angeles school board voting 5-2 in favor of the ban, which takes effect in spring of 2025. In recent polls, 72 percent of high school teachers said cell phone distraction is a major problem in the classroom.

All right, turning now to this.


SEN. JD VANCE (R-OH): If Trump picks up the phone and calls you, the first sort of thought you have to have with yourself is, not just could I be vice president, but could I stand ultimately in the big chair?


RAJU: And that was Ohio Senator JD Vance, a top Trump VP contender, confirming the answer is yes if the former president asks him to be his running mate. And Vance says Trump, though, has not made that phone call. But, over the weekend, a group of nearly 2,000 conservatives at a right-wing conventions said they wanted him to be VP. The Ohio senator also walking back his past criticism of Trump with this mea culpa.


BRETT BAIER, FOX NEWS HOST: You've said, I've never - I'm a never Trump guy. Never liked him. Terrible candidate. Idiot if you voted for him. Might be America's Hitler. Might be a cynical a-hole. Cultural heroin. Noxious and reprehensible.

SEN. JD VANCE (R-OH): I think the simple answer is, you got to respect the American people enough to just level with them. Look, I was wrong about Donald Trump. I didn't think he was going to be a good president, Brett. He was a great president.

A lot of people didn't think Trump was going to be a good president and a lot of people were happy to be proven wrong.


RAJU: Your reaction to that?

THOMPSON: I mean he clearly wants the job, right? The - JD Vance is a - is a base pick for VP. I mean he gets along really well with Trump. They're interpersonal. You know, he's very good friends with Donald Trump Junior. You know, Tucker Carlson likes him. He is the person you would pick of you're choosing a MAGA candidate. You're doubling down on that message of MAGA change, if you will. You know, people like Marco Rubio, they're more of like an establishment translator. They're there to reassure people in the suburb, saying, hey, you know, I know you're a little nervous about this guy, but, you know, see, he's not that crazy.

RAJU: Yes.

Bryan, do you think that he is the best choice for Trump?

LANZA: MAGA change is coming. I definitely do. I think, you know, Trump -

RAJU: You definitely do think Vance is the best.

LANZA: Oh, absolutely. It - first of all, he can articulate the message better than anybody else because he believes it. You know, Rubio sounds inauthentic. All those other people, they sort of sound like they're faking it, and they are, because they don't believe in the economic message of Donald Trump. They don't believe in tariffs the way Donald Trump has done it. JD Vance believes it. So it's - for him, it's a second language and he is - he is sympatico with President Trump.

You know, I hope - I hope it becomes the MAGA change ticket, and we'll know soon enough.

RAJU: So it - how do the Democrats view this? Do they see him as the - the running mate - potential running mate that they're most concerned about, least concerned about?


RAJU: Who are they most concerned about?

ELLEITHEE: Yes, look, I think JD Vance is sort of doubling down on MAGA. It is a signal - if he is the pick, it is a signal that the Trump campaign doesn't actually want to reach out to independents that they believe the best way to win is to gin up the MAGA base and that he's the guy that can do that.

This is a guy who just this week doubled down not only on the 2020 election lies, but doubled down on the fake electors schemes that are getting so many Trump allies in trouble across the country. So, I think if he is the pick you will see the Biden campaign lean even more into the anti-MAGA message that they've been pushing. [07:00:00]

LANZA: Listen, I would add, you know, JD won the swing - the independent votes in Ohio, which was a swing state. He won the suburban votes in Ohio in a swing state being the MAGA candidate. So, if that is the Biden's response is like, lets double down on MAGA and show how dangerous it is, JD actually has a history of appealing and winning the independent vote when it matters, and the suburban vote. And if he can extend that to other states that are nearby, which is Michigan, Pennsylvania -

ELLIETHEE: But that's a big if.

LANZA: It's a devastating massage.

ELLEITHEE: Taking the national is a big, big leap.

LANZA: We'll know soon enough.

RAJU: Right.

ELLEITHEE: And we've already seen a lot of resistance to that message.

RAJU: All right, well, we're out of time, but we will continue the debate I'm sure as they walk into the green room.

All right, thanks to our panel. Thank you for joining us. I'm Manu Raju. "CNN NEWS CENTRAL" starts right now.