Return to Transcripts main page

New Day

Report Indicates Houston Police Chief Warned Travis Scott about Possible Unsafe Conditions in Crowds at His Concert; Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) Interviewed on Passing of Senate Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill and Republican Senatorial Election Strategy for 2022 Midterms; Interview with Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL); Hall of Famers Rip Aaron Rodgers. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired November 08, 2021 - 08:00   ET



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Joining me now to talk more about this is "New York Times" Houston Bureau chief David Goodman. David, "The Times" now reporting that Travis Scott got a warning ahead of time from the Houston police chief. Can you tell us about this?

J. DAVID GOODMAN, "NEW YORK TIMES" HOUSTON BUREAU CHIEF: Yes, so Travis Scott is a national name in rap, a musician known around the world, excuse me. But he's also a big hometown hero in Houston and he's got deep ties to the community. And in fact the police chief personally knows Travis, as does the mayor. And so as I understand, Troy Finner, the police chief, went to visit Scott in his trailer during the day on Friday as it was clear that the crowd there was getting, was rowdy, but earlier in the day, so not when the stampedes were occurring, but went there and sort of reminded Travis Scott that back in 2019 he'd also had an issue at his concert, and there had been some stampeding and some people injured, and as a kind of mentor, went to talk to the younger man and say this is the kinds of fans you have. They're very devoted, and just to be aware of that.

KEILAR: Is there a sense of what kind of impact that had? And I wonder because noted in the report, your report, is that, yes, Chief Finner knows Travis Scott, but that he also likes him, right. He sees him as this hometown boy who is there doing something that's really good for the community, for the economy. Is it possible that this was a warning that was sort of just more jovial?

GOODMAN: I don't think we know exactly how it was conveyed or how it was received at this point. But I do know that officials here have talked to me, at least, a lot about how, what Travis Scott was trying to do with Astroworld and what he was doing earlier in the week. He had been at an elementary school to open up a community garden he supported. His foundation does do some work in Houston. So I think there's a lot of -- the devastation is felt particularly close even amongst top officials in Houston because of this.

And the victims, too. People came from all over to go to this concert, but they also came from right here in Houston, and in fact one of the youngest victims, a 16-year-old, went to the high school down the street from my place in Houston. And so it really is something that's felt by the community at large. And I think there was this sort of sense that Travis Scott was trying to do good, and I think there was some defensiveness of him. And we'll see how that plays out in the investigation.

KEILAR: It's so upsetting with these young folks who have died in this and been injured. David, thank you for the great reporting.

GOODMAN: Thanks so much.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I want to bring in Noah Shachtman, editor- in- chief of "Rolling Stone." I really appreciate you coming in and talking about this. Travis Scott concerts, what's the history here?

NOAH SHACHTMAN, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, "ROLLING STONE": The history is a pretty violent one. Back in 2017 here in New York, Travis Scott begged a fan to jump off a second story balcony. That fan was luckily OK, but another fan says he was pushed off and was ultimately paralyzed at that show. And despite that Travis Scott talked lyrics about he needs to see injuries in the mosh pit. There's been other incidents in later years in 2019 and so on. And the warning signs on this one go way, way back unfortunately.

BERMAN: One of the things apparently he said from the stage, this time he wanted to see the ground shake with the crowd there. I guess it depend on what he meant by that, right?

SHACHTMAN: Yes, look, things like that, I want to see the ground shake, all that, that's all fine as far as I'm concerned. But what did happen was, as a previous guest, noted is the show was stopped three times. And it wasn't stopped and then stopped permanently. It was stopped and then resumed. And that's a problem because after the very first song, fans were chanting "stop the show, stop the show," and the show didn't stop. It went on for another 35 minutes or so.

BERMAN: What's not clear, at least not yet, is how much Travis Scott knew from the stage about exactly what was happening.

SHACHTMAN: Yes, correct, he didn't know. But again, there were warning signs, not just on Travis Scott's behalf, but just a month earlier at that exact same place in Houston, NRG Field, a rapper named Playboi Carti was scheduled to perform. There were early warning signs at that show that it was not going to be safe and the show was canceled at the last minute. At this show there were early warning signs way, way, way before Scott played early in the day that fans were rushing, certain areas, were rushing in without tickets, and it was going to be an unsafe environment. An A.P. photographer texted management to say, hey, this wasn't, something's not right here, something's unsafe. And yet the show went on.

BERMAN: Whatever he knew from the stage itself about what was happening below him down below him, he knew about his own history. He knew what had gone on at concerts before.

SHACHTMAN: Sure. And look, there's a long, great history in pop music of singers getting their fans riled up, and for them to have an ecstatic and raucous good time. But this took it, obviously, too far.


BERMAN: And look, there's a not great history at all at concerts. People have died in concerts in the past being stampeded, being crushed. This is something that there is an awareness of and that places like Live Nation that plan these big shows certainly have to be taken into account.

SHACHTMAN: Sure, and we'll see in the days and weeks to come as these lawsuits and investigations come out exactly what precautions were taken and what weren't. For example, most modern shows there's not just one big mass of people down at the front. They're sectioned off into various areas so precisely this sort of thing can't happen. We'll see if those precautions were taken.

BERMAN: Noah Shachtman, we appreciate you coming in. And congratulations on being editor-in-chief of "Rolling Stone," which is in and of itself and incredibly just cool thing.

SHACHTMAN: Thank you.

BERMAN: Brianna?

KEILAR: The Biden administration celebrating a legislative victory with the passage of a landmark $1.2 trillion bill representing the largest single infrastructure investment in U.S. history, and this wouldn't have been possible without the support of a number of Republicans, including these 19 GOP senators as well as 13 House Republicans who joined Democrats.

Joining us now is Florida Republican Senator Rick Scott. He is also the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Sir, thank you so much for being with us. With are seeing, as I mention, and you saw, and you're fully aware of how many Republicans joined Democrats to vote for this bill, they're getting blowback from within your party for voting to pass the infrastructure bill. Do you think it's deserved?

SEN. RICK SCOTT, (R-FL): I think here is what a lot of people are frustrated with. I think all of us would support real structure, roads, bridges, airports, and seaports. I do. I spent $85 billion in eight years as governor of Florida. But what I did, I did that while I also paid down debt, paid off a third of the state debt, and I cut taxes.

What we saw with this, we were promised that this was infrastructure. Less than half of this bill is roads, bridges, airports, and seaports. And we're promised it was paid for. It's not paid for. CBO scored it, that one bill by itself is a quarter of a trillion dollars of deficit. So this is not how we should be doing infrastructure. Let's do real infrastructure, roads, bridges, airports, and seaports. I think that's what people would like to be done at the federal level, and not waste money.

KEILAR: So the criticism of your Republican colleagues you think is warranted?

SCOTT: Here's what I hear from voters. They watch and they say we've got almost $30 trillion worth of debt. We've got gas prices are up over 50 percent, food prices up. This is all caused by wasteful government spending. Then they watch and they see a bill like this pass that has unbelievable wasteful spending.

KEILAR: So I wonder, then, are we going to see any Republicans bragging about infrastructure projects that they voted no on, because we did see that as well on the COVID relief bill.

SCOTT: I think people that support legislation, they should go out and explain why they did it. If they believe in it, they ought to brag about it. In my case --

KEILAR: No, no, I'm talking -- I just want to be clear, I'm talking, Senator. Senator, I just want to be clear, I'm talking about Republicans who did not vote for the infrastructure bill, but then may, as we saw with Republicans who did not vote for the COVID relief bill but then went out and bragged about provisions in it, can you guarantee that's not going to happen with Republicans, that they're not going to be bragging about stuff they didn't vote for?

SCOTT: Of course not. Let's think about this. There's probably something good in almost every bill that passes. That doesn't mean you support the entire bill. I don't support the bill. I don't believe this was a good use of federal money. If it would have been just real infrastructure and it had been paid for, I'd have been all in. That's what I did as governor of Florida. But I'm not going to go out and support wasted money.

But you can talk to every Republican to see what they're going to do. But I can tell you what, I didn't come up here to waste money. Republicans, Democrats historically have wasted money. I believe we ought to have a balanced budget. I believe we ought to reduce taxes. I'm not going to continue to support wasteful spending at the federal level.

KEILAR: You are, as I mentioned, head of the NRSC. You're in charge of getting Republicans elected to the Senate. I want to ask you about Sean Parnell who is your candidate in Pennsylvania and is now facing allegations from his wife that he strangled her and abused one of their small children. Is he still the right candidate?

SCOTT: We have -- as you know, we both have Republican and Democrat primaries across the country, and in Pennsylvania, we have both Republicans and Democrats have primaries, and so we'll see who comes out of the primary. Facts will come out, we'll find out exactly what people think. I think what ultimately happens is people are going to look at somebody's background and say is that the type of person they want, and also, are they talking about the issues that I care about.


KEILAR: But is that the type of person, sir, that you want? That's pretty extraordinary, right? You have someone whose wife is saying that they --

SCOTT: Brianna -- I'm not going to --

KEILAR: You have someone whose wife is saying that he strangled them, and that he left welts on their child. I think that's a fair question to ask you, if this is the right guy for this job.

SCOTT: Brianna, I'm not supporting or opposing people in primaries. I am the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. I'm going to help Republicans, help our incumbents, but help our Republicans to get through the primary. That's what my focus is. The voters of each of the states will decide who the right candidate on the Republican, Democrat side are. Then I'm sure the Democratic Senate Committee will be doing the exact same thing. They'll support their candidates as they get through the primaries.

KEILAR: The Virginia governor's race, is that the GOP playbook for the midterms, basically ignore Donald Trump?

SCOTT: Well, I hope the Democrats continue to do what Terry McAuliffe did. This morning ran his campaign and did two things.

KEILAR: But you don't have control over that. You only have control over, say, the Glenn Youngkin in this case. So I'm asking you as someone from the Republican perspective, because I'm pretty sure you're not advising Democratic candidates, is this the playbook for Republicans?

SCOTT: I think what Democrats are going to continue to do is talk about Donald Trump. I think Republicans are going to continue to talk about issues. Glenn Youngkin won his face because he talked about issues. And I think that's what's going to happen. What we're going to see is, just like in Virginia, Terry McAuliffe is going to say there was nothing about Critical Race Theory. We know it's true. Parents know their kid are being indoctrinated with Critical Race Theory in Virginia, and Democrats wanted to deny it.

KEILAR: It's not in the curriculum.

SCOTT: And so parents showed up because they don't like being lied to.

KEILAR: Just to be clear it's not in the curriculum in Virginia.

SCOTT: Brianna, here, let me read you a few things. In 2015, while Terry McAuliffe was governor, the Virginia Department of Education promoting incorporating a Critical Race Theory lens in education. You can still find it on the Department of Education's website. In February of 2019 --

KEILAR: It's not, it's not part of the --

SCOTT: -- a superintendent memo to the Virginia Department of Education promoting Critical Race Theory and the idea of white fragility.

KEILAR: It's not, it's not part of the curriculum.

SCOTT: I was there today. It's still there, Brianna.

KEILAR: I do want to ask you, just to be clear --

SCOTT: Brianna, wait a minute. Let's all agree. They were trying to indoctrinate kids, Terry McAuliffe denied it. It's still on the website. It is. This is happening. And I hope Democrats continue to say it's not happening, because parents aren't dumb. They can see it.

KEILAR: You're saying parents are dumb? Aren't dumb?

SCOTT: No, they're not. I think parents are smart. My parents didn't have much of a formal education, but they cared about what I learned. Parents are smart. They know --

KEILAR: I just want to be clear, Senator, I have to get clear, it's not --

SCOTT: The Virginia Department of Education promoting Critical Race Theory, and Terry McAuliffe said they didn't. I hope Democrats keep doing that all across the country.

SCOTT: Senator, fine. It's not part of the curriculum. I would like to move on with you.

I just want to be clear about something just about where you personally are on the big lie. We have you on today because you are in charge of Senate Republicans and trying to get them elected, but you personally voted to overturn election results right after the capitol riot on January 6th. Later you did say that Biden won fair and square. Are you comfortable with Republican candidates embracing someone, Donald Trump, who continues to lie about the election?

SCOTT: First off, let me be clear. Joe Biden is the president of the United States. We went through the constitutional process, and Joe Biden is the president of the United States. There are a lot of people that wish Joe Biden wasn't president, like probably a big majority of Americans right now. But Joe Biden is the president, and we're going to go on. What's going to happen in 22, people are going to say who do I want to be my senator and to be my congressman? Democrats are going to talk about Donald Trump, and Republicans are going to win elections.

KEILAR: But Republicans may also be talking about Donald Trump. Are you comfortable with candidates embracing someone who is lying about not just the 2020 election, because you say you don't want to talk about past elections, but is lying about future elections, ginning up unwarranted concerns about future elections?

SCOTT: Brianna, if you're a Republican, you should go after Donald Trump's endorsement. If you're a Democrat, you probably should go after Hillary's and Obama's endorsement. But if you want to win your election, you should talk about the border being secure, you should talk about jobs, you should talk about education, public safety. Those are things that you're going to win the election on. If you want to talk about people that want to talk about prior elections, you can go back and look at Stacey Abrams.


She's still talking about a prior election, and Terry McAuliffe had her up and campaigned with him.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR I'm talking about future elections. Donald Trump is ginning up concern about future elections. He says, "The elections are totally corrupt in our country." He said that just this last month, and he said, "If we don't solve the presidential election fraud of 2022, Republicans will not be voting in '22 and '24."

SCOTT: And Chuck Schumer goes to the floor of the Senate and keeps saying that the election laws in this country are unfair. All right, so Chuck Schumer keeps saying that all the time. Why don't you call up Chuck Schumer and ask him why he keeps saying that.

KEILAR: But, I am about you, sir. With all due respect, I am talking about your Republican candidates, which is your purview, right? This is about what you are saying to your Republican candidates?

SCOTT: Oh, I work with Democrats who are doing those.

KEILAR: Well, you need to have a plan, too.

SCOTT: We are one year out. I hope the Democrats continue what they are doing.

KEILAR: I am sure you have a plan for your candidates. You know, this isn't just about what Democrats are doing. Obviously, this is about what Republicans are doing. That's what you have control over. Are you okay with them embracing a candidate who is ginning up concern about future elections?

SCOTT: I think Republicans would be foolish not to want Donald Trump's endorsement, and Democrats would probably be in the same position with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, but I don't believe that wins you elections.

KEILAR: Well, but with that -- but Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are not ginning up concern about future elections and saying that if something isn't solved about a past election, that people are not going to vote. They're not telling people not to vote.

SCOTT: Look, of Democrats are saying that the election laws in this country are unfair. How does that not -- how is that different? They're saying that oh, this -- you know, what Florida and Texas and Georgia doing are unfair.

If you look at what Republicans are doing, the goal is a hundred percent participation, and zero percent fraud. But that is not what Chuck Schumer is saying about it on the floor. I watch it. I have to vote on this stuff he proposes that basically is a Federal takeover of our election laws.

Get rid of -- get rid of ID -- get rid of -- you know, allow ballot harvesting, allow same day registration, which all that's going to do is create fraud in the next election. That's why the Democrats are doing this.

They sit and do things all the time.

KEILAR: That's a different thing. Senator, that's different. They are -- they are questioning laws that will restrict the access to vote for many people. They are not questioning the integrity of elections. They are questioning vote access. Donald Trump is saying that elections are totally -- are totally corrupt in our country.

SCOTT: No, they are saying what is the right process? They are talking about the right process. You should have to -- you should have your show your ID. You should not be -- your signature has to match if you use -- if you do mail-in ballots. You should have same day registration. There shouldn't be ballot harvesting. That's not talking about the security of elections? Integrity of elections? There is no difference.

KEILAR: Well, Donald Trump, as you know, what he is saying, and this is an endorsement that many of your candidates have sought and will continue to seek is raising concerns about current and future elections. Right? This isn't an issue of the past, and he's saying that Republicans won't vote in 2022 or 2024 if basically there isn't this thing about 2020 kind of going his way. So, he is making the past about the future.

SCOTT: You know, what I like about what you're doing, keep talking about Donald Trump. If you look at if -- that's what everybody -- if the Democrats keep doing that, we are going to have a heck of a year next year. We've got one year out. We're way up in generic ballots --

KEILAR: But I'm asking you about Republicans.

SCOTT: People completely rejected the Biden agenda.

KEILAR: I am asking you about how Republicans --

SCOTT: But I what I want -- here's what I want. I want election security. So does every other Republican that I know. That's not what the Democrats keep proposing on the Senate floor.

KEILAR: But I am -- look, look, sir, I'm asking you what -- I mean, you invented an award to give to Donald Trump. You gave him the first Champion of Freedom Award or whatever from the NRSC. You talk about him, too. You court him, too. So it's not like you are just completely ignoring him, right?

This is something that Republicans are going to talk about.

SCOTT: Oh, let me tell you what I believe -- what I believe in is, okay, yes, but let's go back and look at what where we were.

I believe in supporting Israel. I went to -- and so did Donald Trump. Guess what? I went to the Senate floor, did a resolution and not one Democrat showed up to say Israel had a right to defend itself when Hamas was attacking them with rockets -- not one Democrat, all right.

Well, look at the Abraham Accords. Do I think those are historic? Yes. I think those are really historic. Having the best economy we've had in decades before COVID hit, I think that's pretty good for freedom.

Support and, you know, making sure we stand up against China. Now, none of these things are happening now. Biden doesn't stand up against China. Biden doesn't support Israel. He wants to get back in the horrible Iran deal that's -- all it's going to do is continue to allow them to get a nuclear weapon. So yes, I believe in the things that Donald Trump did. I absolutely believe in those.


KEILAR: Before I let you go, I just want to revisit what you said about infrastructure. You voted for the Trump tax cuts, which added about $2 trillion to the national debt or was expected to over the course of 10 years. Yet that is why you say that the Infrastructure Bill is something that should not be supported by Republicans. How do you reconcile that?

SCOTT: I was in the Senate the time the tax cut happened, but I can tell you what? I cut taxes and fees a hundred times as governor. My revenue skyrocketed and I paid off a third of the state debt.

KEILAR: Do you support -- sorry, you supported --

SCOTT: That's exactly what we want to do in the Senate.

KEILAR: You supported the tax cuts, which added to the debt. Why is it okay for --

SCOTT: I believe in tax cuts.

KEILAR: Why is it okay for Republicans to add to the debt, and it's not okay for Republicans and Democrats together to pass a bill --

SCOTT: I don't believe we ought to be adding to the debt.

KEILAR: But you supported something that did. You supported the tax cuts.

SCOTT: Brianna, I completely agree with you, I do not believe in adding to the debt. I -- yes, absolutely. Tax cuts in my case, what I've done in tax cuts, it grew the revenue.

KEILAR: But you supported the Trump tax, right?

SCOTT: I cut taxes a hundred times as Governor and fees --

KEILAR: You supported the Trump tax cuts.

SCOTT: My revenue skyrocketed and I paid off the state debt. I support -- I always support tax cuts. I am not raising taxes. I support an accountable government. We've got to stop wasting this money -- KEILAR: But that added to the debt.

SCOTT: $30 trillion for the debt. What happens when interest rates go up?

KEILAR: But that added to the debt? Just a very basic question -- that added to the debt, then how is that disqualifying --

SCOTT: No, it didn't. No, it grew the economy. Brianna, it grew the economy. Look at where the economy was. Wasteful spending -- wasteful spending is what is causing our problem here. Stop spending money.

Look at what's happening to our revenues. Our revenues are up. What's happened is Democrats can't stop spending your money. They spend money. It's unbelievable.

And Republicans have done it in the past also. I'm going to fight that.

I came up there to do what I did in Florida -- cut taxes, reduce regulation, grow the economy, make education better, fund the police. But what's going on up there is just wasteful spending. It has caused this ridiculous inflation that is hurting the poorest families.

I grew up in a poor family. I watch what is happening these families with gas prices up, food prices up, home prices are up, everything is up and these poor families can't afford it.

KEILAR: All right, I do just want to be clear, there were some kind of blase economic indicators even predating the pandemic, just to be sure. This was very much a mixed bag that we are seeing.

Senator Scott, I really do appreciate you coming on. Thank you.

SCOTT: It is great to be with you.

KEILAR: So coming up, Americans are sitting on piles of savings and they are quitting their jobs at record rates. So, why do they also feel like the economy stinks? Your reality check next.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And NFL Hall of Famers letting it rip on Aaron Rodgers.


TERRY BRADSHAW, HALL OF FAME QUARTERBACK: We've got players that pretty much think only about themselves and I'm extremely disappointed in the actions of Aaron Rodgers.




(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BRADSHAW: I'll give Aaron Rodgers some advice. It would have been nice

if he could just come to the Naval Academy and learn how to be honest.



BRADSHAW: Learn -- learn not to lie because that's what you did, Aaron, you lied to everyone.

We are a divided nation politically. We're a divided nation on the COVID-19, whether or not to take the vaccine and unfortunately, we've got players that pretty much think only about themselves and I'm extremely disappointed in the actions of Aaron Rodgers.

JIMMY JOHNSON, HALL OF FAME COACH: This is a team game. And in all honesty, I'm disappointed in his play on words for his explanation. I'm disappointed in some of his selfish actions.

HOWIE LONG, HALL OF FAME DEFENSIVE LONG: Putting all of that in jeopardy and possibly putting your teammates in jeopardy to me is selfish.


BERMAN: NFL Hall of Famers, I mean, some of the best ripping Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers after he defended his choice not to get vaccinated and telling the media in August that he was immunized against COVID.

Again, listen to this.


AARON RODGERS, GREEN BAY PACKERS QUARTERBACK: I didn't lie in the initial press conference. During that time, it was a very -- you know, witch hunt that was going on across the league where everybody in the media was so concerned about who was vaccinated and who wasn't.

I'm not, you know, some sort of anti-vax flat earther. I am somebody who is a critical thinker. You guys know me, I'm march to the beat of my own drum. I believe strongly in bodily autonomy.


BERMAN: Joining me now is CBS sports senior NFL reporter, Jonathan Jones.

Jonathan, I have to say I watch a lot of football on Sundays. I was struck by the force of what Terry Bradshaw and Howie Long and Jimmy Johnson have to say. I don't know what their politics are, but man, they came down hard on Aaron Rodgers.

JONATHAN JONES, CBS SPORTS SENIOR NFL REPORTER: They did and many around the league did, and they did so because he cost his team and he was -- he was intentionally misleading. And the fact is when he said he was immunized, he couldn't have been more truthful in using that specific term.

But there in the next sentence where he said, yes, those guys who decided not to get vaccinated, which then of course, puts it as though he were vaccinated. He was just using a synonym there. He was intentionally misleading. And due to NFL and NFLPA, the players union, their joint protocols, if you are unvaccinated, of course, the rules are different for you as a player and you put your team in jeopardy, simply, even if you don't test positive for COVID-19, you could be a close contact and be unvaccinated and miss a game like one of Aaron Rodgers' receivers.

And, of course, the Green Bay Packers were certainly missing Aaron Rodgers on the field yesterday against the Kansas City Chiefs and they just hope that he can return by Saturday with no symptoms and play on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks.

BERMAN: You hear these NFL Hall of Famers who are on the shows and you also are now beginning to hear from other teams looking at the Packers and saying hey, what was really going on there behind the scenes? There really does seem to be a growing frustration with what Rogers did in his saying around the league.

JONES: Oh, there is no question about that and NFL teams -- first of all, folks are hearing Aaron Rodgers say I follow the protocols everywhere, in the weight room and in the locker room, in the cafeteria on the team plane.