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New Day Saturday

Russian Officials: Three Killed In Explosion On Kerch Bridge; Herschel Walker Denies Woman's Abortion Allegations; Long Lines Stretch For Hours At FL FEMA Disaster Recover Center; NYC Migrants Go To Florida To Help With Hurricane Clean Up. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired October 08, 2022 - 08:00   ET



JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: And when it comes to diagnosing breast cancer early, most women choose to start their regular mammogram screenings around age 40. But of course, it is important to talk to your doctor about what's best for you and your own personal breast cancer risks.

Back to you.

AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: Jacqueline Howard, thank you.

And "New Day" continues right now.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to your weekend. Good morning. This is your "New Day." It's Saturday, October 8th. I'm Boris Sanchez. I'm thrilled that you're with us. I'm also thrilled to share with you that we have a new official co-anchor Amara Walker.

WALKER: Oh me?

SANCHEZ: Good morning and congratulations.

WALKER: Oh, thank you so much, Boris. It's always good to be with you.

SANCHEZ: Of course.

WALKER: And I'm so glad that we are stuck to each other. At least if you're stuck with me. Thanks for starting your morning with us everyone. Lots of news to get to.

Moscow says three people were killed in today's massive explosion of the only bridge connecting Russia with the annex territory of Crimea. Now the blast partially collapsed the Kerch bridge and paralyzed a key supply route for Moscow's faltering war in Ukraine.

SANCHEZ: Look, this bridge isn't just logistically important. It's also a huge symbol for the Kremlin. And its attempt to reunify Crimea with the Russian mainland. Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for this. But hours after the blast in Kyiv, people can be seen taking selfies in front of a billboard depicting an image of the bridge on fire. And that's not the only thing you're seeing from Ukraine in the form of sort of celebrating or mocking this explosion.

Fred Pleitgen joins us now. Fred is in Kyiv, he has the latest developments. What are you hearing Fred about who's behind this explosion?

FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, the Russians are moving very quickly to point the finger of blame at the Ukrainians was quite interesting, because I've been following a lot of Telegram channels and Twitter channels coming out of Russia. And a lot of top-level Russian politicians are already saying they believe that it was the Ukrainians who were behind this. It was interesting, because the Russians have already launched investigation, they've actually put out video of the Investigative Committee, apparently already at work on that bridge. And they say that their initial assessment is that it was a truck that exploded, I think we can see some of the video of that massive explosion taking place. Apparently, a truck driving there before that explosion took place that a truck blew up. And that caused parts of the bridge, the automobile part of the bridge to collapse and also damaged the railway bridges.

Well, one of the things we're seeing is that there was a train going past there that apparently also had fuel tanks in it. And that's, at least three of those fuel tankers were destroyed as that explosion took place. Obviously, leading to that massive fire that we've been seeing all morning, the Russians are saying that fire is now out, they are going to be able to get the railway part of that bridge, running fairly quickly again, but of course, just, you know, seeing that massive explosion on our screens right now. The automobile, part of the bridge, obviously severely damaged, partially collapsed, going to take a very long time to get that back up and running as well. And of course, that is a big, not just symbolic blow to the Russians. That bridge had huge symbolic value to Vladimir Putin. He himself inaugurated the bridge in 2018, driving a truck over it.

But logistically, also right now for Russia's war efforts in Ukraine, it's also extremely important. There was a lot of heavy metal military gear, that was brought via that bridge, and not just the railway section of it, but the automobile section of that bridge as well. So certainly, another big issue for the Russians as the Ukrainians are already pushing them back severely in the south of Ukraine. And also, they're facing massive logistical issues as well.

As you guys have already alluded to, yes, the Ukrainians essentially setting social media on fire symbolically, if you will, tweeting about all this mocking the Russian president, it came a day after Vladimir Putin 70th birthday, and that led the National Security Adviser of Ukraine to tweet a video of American Marilyn Monroe singing Happy Birthday, obviously, Jack Kennedy, back then. And obviously mocking the Russian president with that. We've been listening for a second.



(END VIDEO CLIP) PLEITGEN: That's certainly going viral right now on the internet. So, as you can see the Ukrainians definitely rejoicing but have not laid a claim of responsibility just yet. And finally, also, welcome Amara Walker. Great to have you with us as well.

WALKER: You're the best Fred, thank you so much. Yes, I'm sure it's not the birthday Putin was looking for. But it feels like my birthday today. So, thanks Fred. I appreciate it.

SANCHEZ: Thanks so much Fred.

So Republican supporters back in the United States are rallying around Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker even after he fires his political director. Keep in mind this comes after days of bombshell allegations that he paid for a woman's abortion and that he urged her to have a second abortion two years later.


WALKER: Now Walker strongly denies the reports by The Daily Beast and the New York Times and others. The allegations just weeks before the midterm elections have put the former football star in back in the spotlight.

Details now from CNN national politics reporter, Eva McKend.


UNDENTIFIED MALE: No one can touch him, (INAUDIBLE).

EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER (voice-over): Herschel Walker, leaning into his legendary football status in his run for Georgia Senate.

HERSCHEL WALKER (R-GA) SENATE NOMINEE: This is a little town is where I grew up.

MCKEND (voice-over): One of seven children, Walker was born in rural Wrightsville, Georgia where his small-town high school team helped launched him to fame.

UNDENTIFIED MALE: The winner of the 1982 Heisman Memorial Trophy from the University of Georgia, Herschel Walker.

MCKEND (voice-over): A Heisman Trophy winner and all-around University of Georgia College football star.

UNDENTIFIED MALE: There he goes again.

MCKEND (voice-over): His collegiate career would ultimately carry him to the pros.

UNDENTIFIED MALE: Herschel Walker's debut as a professional football player.

MCKEND (voice-over): But before the NFL would take him, he played for an NFL alternative in the early '80s, where he would meet team owner Donald Trump.

DONALD TRUMP (R) FMR PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: I don't want to take a chance frankly, I'm losing Herschel Walker.

MCKEND (voice-over): The relationship would continue well beyond the field as President Trump appointed Walker to the Presidential Council on Sports Fitness and Nutrition.

TRUMP: The great Herschel Walker. What an amazing guy.

MCKEND (voice-over): And eventually would back Walker's own political ambitions, urging him to run for the U.S. Senate in Georgia.

TRUMP: You know, Herschel is not only a Georgia hero, he is an American legend.

MCKEND (voice-over): Like Trump, Walker has also been known to go off script and deliver disjointed statements. Walker easily won the GOP primary earlier this year. Despite a myriad of very public controversies throughout his life. He spoke to CNN in 2008 about his battle that dissociative identity disorder.

WALKER: You can get angry but the anger that you can go out and really, really hurt someone. And that's when you know you got a problem.

MCKEND (voice-over): In that same interview, Walker's ex-wife discussed how Walker had threatened her with weapons.

CINDY GROSSMAN, EX-WIFE OF HERSCHEL WALKER: Just the guns and knives, and I got into a few choking things with him.

MCKEND (voice-over): Walker acknowledged those allegations.

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (on-camera): Herschel Walker told us he was troubled by his actions will always deeply regret any pain he caused Cindy.

MCKEND (voice-over): According to a 2012 police report, an ex- girlfriend said Walker threatened to kill her. Walker denies those claims. Walker's turbulent pass has made its way into the campaign as a focus of Democratic attack as.

UNDENTIFIED FEMALE: New details tonight about accusations --

MCKEND (voice-over): Now Walker dealing with a different kind of allegation, a claim reported by The Daily Beast and the New York Times that the staunch anti-abortion candidate paid for a former girlfriend to have an abortion more than a decade ago. The woman says she's also the mother of one of his children.

WALKER: This year, the abortion thing is false. It's a lie.

MCKEND (voice-over): CNN has not independently confirmed the allegations. As Walker repeatedly denies the report, Republicans have rallied to defend their nominee, but the outcome of the race deciding not just Walker's political future, but potentially control of the Senate next year.

WALKER: Let me tell you this. I'm not deterred. I'm not scared. And I'm not going to back down. The stakes are way, way too high. And we're going to win this race.

MCKEND (on-camera): Now for Senator Warnock's part he called the allegations disturbing, but beyond that he doesn't seem too interested in engaging much further. He went on to say Georgia has a choice about who they think is ready to represent them in the Senate. And then he shifts back to the policy issue at hand, saying he supports a woman's right to choose.

Eva McKend, CNN, Washington.


SANCHEZ: Our thanks to Eva McKend for that report.

Let's talk about the Georgia Senate race and a few others with CNN political commentator, and former U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania Charlie Dent and CNN political commentator and former senior spokesman of Hillary for America, Karen Finney. Thank you both for being with us bright and early this Saturday.

Let's start with that Georgia Senate race. Charlie never a good sign when you need to find a new political director one month out from the election.

CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITIAL COMMENTATOR: Well yes, it's terrible. Look the campaigns in a damage control mode. I think everybody knew that Herschel Walker was a flawed candidate coming into this, you know, the all the allegations of domestic abuse and now these abortion allegations and the hypocrisy of it all are certainly very damaging. And of course, you know, it's easy to fire you know, one of your campaign staff, it's harder to fire, it's harder to fire the candidate. And that's where they are now.

Look, many elements of the base will rally around the candidate but the end of the day, this is going to be about some swing voters, you know, who are going to make this determination. They might find this all a few bridges too far, you know, when you look at all the barnacles that he's picked up, and it's not just the abortion question, it's not just the domestic abuse or the incoherent answers and other problems.


So, I think the campaigns in real trouble right now. And this is not good news. Although he is raising money off this abortion issue. I received an e-mail, you know, shipping money, you know, you know, the all these saying these allegations aren't true. It's not true about the abortion, but send me money anyway. So, they're trying to monetize this. So, and I thought I understood politics. But you know, that once upon a time, you know, we used to vet candidates and try to find out these types of issues before they got into a race now. This is a new world. SANCHEZ: Barnacles is one way to put it. Karen, I wanted to pick up on something that Eva noted in her report, Senator Raphael Warnock has not been very aggressive in going after Walker on these allegations, some would like him to. Do you think the campaign is handling this the right way?

KAREN FINNEY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Absolutely. I mean, look, we've also seen this week, Herschel Walker's son come forward and a series of tweets and, you know, videos, and it was heartbreaking. I mean, it is, you know, nobody likes to see a family have to hash out these types of issues in public. And I think, particularly as a pastor, or Raphael, Warnock understands that that does not need to be part of this campaign. And in many ways, I think, as Charlie said, this is not the first time that we've that, and this is not the first barnacle. I'll use that phrase that we've seen with Herschel Walker. And the question at the end of the day is going to be mean, you know, Warnock has done an excellent job as senator, he has a strong record to run on. And as an incumbent, the question that voters are going to have to ask themselves is, is Herschel Walker, the person you want in the Senate?

And I think one of the other issues that this reveals, quite frankly, is this idea that, you know, just a celebrity big name, person as a candidate running against a qualified competent incumbent, though, that that's, that doesn't necessarily mean that just because you have the name ID, you're going to be able to beat someone who's doing a good job.

The other thing I'll say is that, you know, as Charlie mentioned, it's going to come down to turnout at the end of the day. And as we've seen, both from 2020, and the general election and the special election, the voters are absolutely there for Raphael Warnock if they just stay the course and focus on turnout.

SANCHEZ: Let's focus on two other big Senate races out west in Arizona and Nevada, both of them close races. And in new CNN polling, it appears that voters they're very motivated, and they prioritize the economy above everything else.

Karen staying with you, Blake Masters during their debate with during his debate with Senator Mark Kelly, the other night blasted him for the state of the economy. How do you think Democrats should respond to those kinds of attacks, when, candidly the economic picture is murky?

FINNEY: Yes. Well, look, they've got to continue to focus on. I think Mark Kelly has done a good job on this. One of the things that members of Congress can control lowering costs, and the other thing we saw this week. So, with the Inflation Reduction Act. We saw Democrats take on big pharma to lower prescription drug costs and bring down the cost of frankly, very expensive drug, you know. And so, I think they've got to continue to stay on that narrative, especially because we also saw Republicans this week, say, they would actually repeal that and go back to a time that increases the cost of prescription drugs and things like insulin.

So again, I think Mark Kelly's got to stay focused on talking about the things that have been accomplished, acknowledge, there is more work to do, and he is the person who will get it done.

The last thing I'd say about Arizona, I just think is important to mention. There is also a case, going through the courts there with regard to access to abortion, and I just don't think we should underestimate the power and the potency of reproductive freedom, particularly in a state like Arizona, where you have so many independents who do not like being told what to do and don't think the government should be telling women, you know, how to handle their own medical and health decisions. And so that is going to continue to mobilize voters, I think, to the election.

SANCHEZ: And Charlie, there's another huge Senate race in your home state of Pennsylvania, John Fetterman, Mehmet Oz, perhaps Democrats best chance to flip a seat in the Senate during the midterms. The former president obviously endorsed Mehmet Oz, but there's this new Super PAC launched by his allies Maga Inc. That's made nearly $2 million in ad buys recently about half of that coming in Pennsylvania. Some in your party feel that the former president himself hasn't spent enough money even on candidates like Oz that he's endorsed. Right now Oz WS is lagging in fundraising behind Fetterman. Do you think the former president should spend more on these candidates?


DENT: Well, of course he should. I mean, he endorsed him, he should put his money where his mouth is rather than using much of this money to pay for his legal bills. You know, and that Senate race in Pennsylvania, that race is tightening. And I think Mehmet Oz is actually in a pretty good position to win that race. Because there have been a lot of questions about John Fetterman's health, we feel for him because of the stroke. But he hasn't been particularly transparent about what happened and many feel that he is understated that problem. He's kind of identified himself with the Bernie Sanders wing of the party over the years.

And I think that's going to hurt Fetterman going into this general election. And it seems that Oz is actually making a real play toward the swing voters in a significant and meaningful way. They're going to be a lot of Shapiro, Oz voters in Pennsylvania, just as they're going to be a lot of Kemp, Warnock voters in Georgia.

SANCHEZ: Charlie Dent, Karen Finney, the battle for control of Congress decided one month from today. Thank you both for joining us.

FINNEY: Thanks.

SANCHEZ: Of course.

WALKER: Well, the U.S. sees another strong jobs report. And while that sounds like good news, the numbers could signal trouble for the long- term health of the economy. We will explain.

And people in Florida are standing in long lines for hours to get the help they need to rebuild from Hurricane Ian. We are live at one of those relief centers set to open in the next hour.

"New Day," back after this break.



WALKER: If you haven't noticed, gas prices are on the rise again. Fueled in part by decision from OPEC to cut production by 2 million barrels a day. So, gas prices fell from 99 days from mid-June to September 20th. But prices have slowly begun to creep up. And the OPEC+ announcement is expected to speed up that pace.

Joining me now is Tom Kloza. He's the Global Head of Energy Analysis for OPIS which tracks gas prices for AAA.

Tom, I appreciate you joining us this morning. So how much are gas prices expected to go up and when?

TOM KLOZA, GLOBAL HEAD OF ENERGY ANALYSIS, OPIS: Good morning. I don't think they're going to go up that much more this year. I think that what OPEC did lays the groundwork for groundwork for another appreciable spike in the spring of 2023. And actually, if you look at some places that were overheated, like California was $6.50 a gallon for gasoline, that can actually come down a little bit. The problem isn't going to be gasoline, it's going to be molecules like diesel heating oil, and jet fuel, those are really going to soar because they're coming into season. And because the Russian boycott may manifest itself, really in the next few months.

So that's where the inflation is going to come. It's going to come and freight airfare, agricultural products, and that's going to be pretty insidious.

WALKER: Well, I'm sure that people in California, if they're up this early, are going to be relieved to hear that some of the pricing will come down. I was just there a few days ago, and I filled up a tank for nearly $7 a gallon. I mean, it's just untenable for so many people.

So, we've been seeing gas prices goes slowly back up, as you were saying, Tom, and you say it's because there are a lot of refineries that have been shut down. Why are we seeing that?

KLOZA: Well, you know, I'll take California, for example, it's kind of the petri dish of the laboratory for energy transition and wean oneself off of fossil fuels. They probably have one or two refineries, they're short of making enough fuel that keeps supplies balance there. And that's going to rear its head every few months in California. And to a certain extent in the Pacific Northwest. I daresay that if they lost a refinery to an event fire, they wouldn't restart it. So that's kind of where you're looking at a work in progress, or a little sort of sneak preview of what happened, may happen in the rest of the country.

But this is the biggest month, October for refinery maintenance, a lot of maintenance was put off in the spring, because they're making so much money. So, we're going to have about 3 million barrels a day of 17 million barrels a day of capability about 80%. And it's not going to be coming back until maybe late October or early November. So that makes your tight gasoline supply, even though crude may kind of continue to do the cha-cha on either side of $100 barrel.

WALKER: So then if the refineries come back online by let's say, November, but in November OPEC+ is going to be cutting production. Is that going to be a wash? I mean, what are we going to see in terms of impact when we're gassing up?

KLOZA: Well, I'll tell you Amara, the remainder of this quarter, and particularly the last two-thirds of this quarter are going to be wild, because you're going to have the U.S. perhaps running out or stopping its sales of crude oil from the strategic petroleum reserves. You've got a boycott that may manifest itself in several millions of barrels a day that will be coming from Russia, and you've got the normal refinery events and the vagaries of the winter.

So, buckle up. I don't think it'll be mostly on gasoline. I think the next pane really comes with the other molecules.

WALKER: Interesting. Are there any tools though, that the White House can use to rein in gas prices and of course, the other molecules, as you say?

KLOZA: Yes, they're laser focused on it. And California, for example, the regulators do the smart thing. California has to use summer gasoline until November 1st, ordinarily, but they waived the rule and you are going to have a refineries restarting there in about another 10 days. So, you're actually good news for your California folks that can be Tony Robbins, they're going to see prices dropped by about $0.50 to $1 there in the next month or so.


WALKER: And I guess just the big picture. I mean it because if you look over the past many years, I mean, the U.S. has made some headway right when it becomes -- when it comes to becoming less dependent on oil coming from Saudi Arabia and other OPEC nations. U.S. oil production has gone way up in the past decade. I mean, how much more can we become? How can we become more independent? That's the question.

KLOZA: Well, you probably would become more independent if you had a rapprochement between the Biden administration and the oil and gas industry. Let's face it, let's call it what it is. They are adversaries and Biden administration wants to get off of fossil fuels. And the oil and gas companies don't want that to happen. So, where are you just strike a grand bargain, you know, you could see some more oil shale crude come on. The problem is that oil shale crude oil is plentiful is very, very light and very, very sweet. And it doesn't have a big yield of some of those products like heating oil, diesel and jet fuel.

So that's a problem and we're never going to be entirely self- sufficient for crude. We don't have a lot of heavy and medium grades of crude. So, we'll always be importing and exporting.

WALKER: All right. Well, Tom Kloza, I appreciate your expertise in this. Thank you.

KLOZA: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Two weeks after Hurricane Ian destroyed parts of Southwest Florida, many residents are left to deal with long lines and frustrations, getting the emergency aid they so desperately need. We're live with the latest on recovery efforts after a quick break.



WALKER: Frustrations evident at a FEMA Disaster Recovery Center in Lee County Florida Friday. Line stretched out for hours as residents try to get emergency aid after Hurricane Ian ravaged the state 10 days ago.

SANCHEZ: While in Daytona Beach, Governor Ron DeSantis acknowledged the long road ahead for so many people in his state.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): So what I would just say to folks who are in difficult circumstances now because of the storm, just hang in there. There's a lot of resources, there's a lot of help. We understand at the state level that this is something that is going to require a lot of support for a long time.


SANCHEZ: We want to take you to Florida now and CNN's Nadia Romero who joins us live. Nadia, what is the latest you're seeing on the ground?

NADIA ROMERO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. This disaster recovery center here in Fort Myers, they've been out here for a couple of days. And so the organizers telling me they feel like they really got it under control today. They're hoping that they won't see as many of those long lines as we saw the first couple of days, it was open five hour wait times for many people.

But behind me is the library and there were about 100 people lined up before this event is even set to open in another half hour. The first person in line was a man from Sanibel Island, he said he was stuck there after the storm for four days. Well, he woke up and got here at 4:00 a.m. So five hours before the doors were set to open because he says, I only have the clothes on my back, I'm staying in a motel. I need help.

He tells me that he's a Vietnam War veteran, and that he's used to helping other people. But now, he's the one looking for assistance from FEMA. You can also get help here from state agencies. If you've -- not only if you didn't have the flood insurance or you were underinsured going to FEMA, you can meet with your insurance agent here to talk about some issues that you may be having at your home. Or you can also get help if you're a small business owner and you lost your business, your livelihood. Unemployment assistance is where you can apply here as well to get help for that.

So, there are a bunch of different tents here, and a lot of people willing to help and there's just a lot of people in need. Like I said, 100 people already lined up before doors open, which really speaks to the level of devastation we've seen here in Lee County, as people just trying to get basic help to get back on their feet. Boris, Amara?

SANCHEZ: Nadia Romero live from Fort Myers, Florida, thank you so much.

Let's discuss the recovery effort in southwest Florida with Republican Congressman Byron Donalds. He represents District 19 in southwest Florida, which includes Fort Myers, Naples and Marco Island. Congressman, we appreciate you sharing part of your weekend with us. We just saw Nadia there at that relief center with more than 100 people already in line. What can you tell us about how relief efforts are going right now?

REP. BYRON DONALDS (R), FLORIDA: Well, a couple of things. One, I think that the relief efforts have gone actually better than I even thought they would be at this point. We took a storm here that not only brought heavy winds, which is something I think, you know, a lot of structures and infrastructure in South Florida is accustomed to and can withstand. But it was the storm surge which was overwhelming to many places on the barrier islands as well as along the Caloosahatchee River. That is where the heavy toll of devastation came from.

If you had asked me when the storm made landfall that we would be in a position we are right now one week later, I would tell you no. But the collective response from local assets, state assets and from FEMA, and the federal level has been really fantastic in our area. It's one of the reasons we were able to connect -- reconnect Pine Island to the mainland with a temporary bridge in three days.

So many without power have come back online and in the last couple of days. It's really been remarkable, even though we have a long way to go.

SANCHEZ: And Congressman, we heard from the Sheriff of Lee County that the National Guard is said to withdraw from the barrier islands today. I know one of his big concerns when I was there was looting. Would you have wanted the National Guard and other law enforcement to remain in the area longer?


DONALDS: Well, I think the determination of National Guard being pulled out later today is something where it does law enforcement have the capability to still protect people in those areas. I think that answer is yes. Number two, Fort Myers Beach, which is basically ground zero so to speak. There's not many people on Fort Myers Beach at all and island access is actually limited. Pine Island still doesn't have its causeway. And if that determination has also been made, has been in consultation with the mayor and our emergency team on the ground in Lee County. SANCHEZ: Congressman, I got a chance to ask the Sheriff of Lee County as well as a commissioner about this. I had not gotten a chance to get your thoughts. But when I was there, several residents told me they didn't believe they had enough advance warning to evacuate. They felt the evacuation order came too late. I'm wondering what you would say to those folks, when they hear officials say that they wouldn't change anything about the way that things were handled?

DONALDS: Well, I think, here's the thing about the storm, and people really need to take a look at this very closely. This storm moved very rapidly down the coast. As of Tuesday afternoon, Tuesday morning, the storm was still looking at going to Tampa Bay. That's where the track lists. And so, this storm that the FEMA representatives and the people at the National Hurricane Center will tell you a jog to the right, which means it came further down the coast.

This storm moves faster outside of the cone of uncertainty, which is what we call the National Hurricane Max down here, way faster than any storm I've ever seen. So I think that when it was pretty clear that we were going to take the brunt of the storm, the evacuation orders went out. Those are the facts at the timeline.

I know that people would love to have more warning. Of course, anybody wants to have more warning. But if you look at the way the storm moved through down to Southwest Florida, it happened at our very rapid pace, unlike previous storms in the past. But our area wasn't a hurricane watch for several days because we were watching it. Unfortunately, the storm made a major turn very, very late. And that's why those evacuation orders when it was clear we were in that window, they went out immediately.

SANCHEZ: Congressman, the issue of immigration has come up in the recovery from Hurricane Ian because CNN learned that several immigrants in New York, some of them Venezuelan asylum seekers, they were recruited to work on hurricane recovery in southwest Florida. I'm wondering what your reaction to that is and whether you would turn away their help.

DONALDS: I mean, first of all, this is the first time hearing of this, so it's hard to react to something you're just getting on a live news feed. I think, listen, if you have the necessary work permits that come down here and work, and you have the ability to do that, you should come and work. I can't speak to what their status is, especially if they're on a bus to New York City.

It seems that they've gotten literally just came across the border, which is a completely different issue, by the way. But I think if you're coming into our area or coming here to work, number one, that help is needed. Number two, you know, people who are coming to work in the United States that have to be authorized to work in the United States just can't be people come across the border. It's just not right. It's not fair compared to American citizens.

SANCHEZ: Congressman, anything else you want to share with our viewers about the state of the recovery and a message to your viewers in southwest Florida, your constituents? DONALDS: Well, the biggest thing is we're going to rebuild. Nobody's going to be left behind. I've been through my congressional district several times making sure we're assessing things in real time on the ground. And my residents, by and large, they understand what's happened. They're ready to rebuild. And so we're going to rebuild here in southwest Florida and we're going to make sure the job is done.

SANCHEZ: Congressman Byron Ronalds, rather, Byron Donalds, forgive me, I know you have a busy few months ahead of you, we appreciate you sharing part of your time with us.

DONALDS: Anytime. Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Of course.

WALKER: Up next, we are learning new details about the suspect behind the deadly daycare massacre in Thailand as the country continues to mourn the 36 people, mostly young children, killed in the rampage.



WALKER: This morning, the country of Thailand is grieving after a gunman massacred a daycare, leaving 36 people including 24 children dead.

SANCHEZ: The suspect has been identified as a former policeman who was suspended earlier this year because of drug use. According to officials, he was not under the influence of drugs at the time of the attack. CNN's Anna Coren is live for us this morning in northeastern Thailand. Anna, have investigators figured out a motive behind this attack?

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Boris and Amara, they have absolutely no idea. As you mentioned, the National Police Chief has ruled out any drug use. Many people thought in this community that this was a deranged attack under the influence of drugs. This 34-year-old former police officer had a history of drugs that's why he was kicked out of the police force, and I guess that's what people were holding on to. He must have done it because he was under drugs.

Now, the National Police Chief has completely rolled it out, which just makes it that much harder for people to come to terms with here in Nong Bua Lam Phu which is northeast of Thailand.


As you say, 36 people were killed, 24 of them are children, 23 of them in a daycare center. We were given access to this daycare center yesterday by Thai Health officials. And what we saw was absolutely gruesome. There were pools of blood in these rooms where the teachers, one of them an eight-month pregnant teacher, and the children had been taking a daytime nap.

According to first responders as well as police, the attacker used a knife to kill all the victims inside that daycare center. From there, he then returned to his home which is in the countryside, we went there today, and he killed a number of neighbors out on the street. He then walked into his home and shot his wife and his three-year-old stepson with a gun that was registered before shooting himself.

I mean, it's unfathomable to think what these families have been going through. They've taken their children's bodies to these temples. This is a Buddhist culture here. So, they will honor them at these temples before cremating them in the coming days. But it has been absolutely unbearable for these families who are trying to come to terms with this loss.

SANCHEZ: It's such a heartbreaking story. Anna Coren reporting from Northeastern Thailand, thank you so much.

Stay with CNN, we'll be right back.



WALKER: The military is trying to navigate their hardest recruiting environment since Vietnam with fewer and fewer people stepping up or even qualified to serve.

SANCHEZ: And many of the tried-and-true tactics just aren't working in the modern era. CNN Pentagon Correspondent Oren Liebermann explains.


OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Cockpit by cockpit. The dogfight is on with the military seeking out the next generation of service members. The Thunderbirds are the tip of the Air Force recruiting spear. Its most powerful public relations tool, it's the hunt for recruits is getting harder.

LT. COL. JUSTIN "ASTRO" ELLIOTT, AIR FORCE THUNDERBIRDS COMMANDER: The mission of this team was to connect the American public to its military. And now I'd say more than ever in history before coming out of a pandemic with a fairly divided nation, we need a uniting force.

LIEBERMANN (voice-over): The F-16 demonstration team is part of the Air Forces pitch in a recruiting environment that's challenging every branch of the military.

(on-camera): Media flights, the exacting nature of the aerial demonstration of precision you see here behind me. It's all part of getting the Air Force's message out to the public, like a potential recruits.

GEN. CHARLES Q. BROWN, JR., AIR FORCE CHIEF OF STAFF: We're all competing for our best talent from our nation to weather serve in uniform, service and other capacity going to industry. And so, for us, we've got to actually, you know, in some cases, we have to work a little harder because the competition's become working. LIEBERMANN (voice-over): The Air Force expects to hit its recruiting targets this year, but only after it offered quickship bonuses for future commitments, a way of pulling from next year's numbers to fill this year's holes. The Navy and Marine Corps are at or just below recruiting goals this year. In the Army, the math is dire. The service is at 70 percent of its active duty recruiting goal, that's 30,000 soldiers short.

CHRISTINE WORMUTH, SECRETARY OF THE ARMY: People talk about the all- volunteer force, we are really the all-recruited force. You know, it's relatively rare to have a young American walk through the door completely cold and say I'd like to join the U.S. Army.

LIEBERMANN (voice-over): The military is navigating its way through what some have called the hardest recruiting environment since Vietnam. Few Americans are eligible to serve even fewer want to serve. And a low unemployment rate means potential recruits may go elsewhere. clowder way forward.

At a Senate hearing this week, military officials said only 23 percent of American 17 to 24 years old are qualified to serve. Top reasons they're disqualified, obesity, addiction, conduct, test scores, and medical and behavioral health conditions. Worse yet, only about 9 percent of 17- to 24-year-olds are inclined to serve.

The services are thinking of new ways to break through to the next generation reaching out on digital instead of TV, easing restrictions on tattoos, or considering the same for prior use of marijuana. The U.S. military has been an all-volunteer force for nearly half a century, able to attract men and women who desired to serve. But this year's brutal recruiting environment make it even harder next year as the future fast approaches.

Oren Liebermann, CNN, Joint Base Andrews.


SANCHEZ: Thanks to Oren for that report.

We want to end New Day just how we started congratulating Amara Walker once again for joining us. You know, I've known you for as long as I've had a career in broadcasting, so joining you in this forum is awesome. Welcome home, Amara.

WALKER: Boris, if you were right here, I'd give you the biggest hug. Boris and I go way back to our Miami days, which is like 20 years ago.

SANCHEZ: That's right.

WALKER: I don't want to even date ourselves since people know how old --

SANCHEZ: Well, 10 years, 10 years, not 20. Yes.

WALKER: 10 years. All right, we got to go. Check out the new season of "Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy" tomorrow. Here's a preview. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stanley Tucci is back in Italy. And there are more surprises to be found.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've never seen anything quite like it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, there you go, dad. It's your family home.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like a million different flavors.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are they as good as mine?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not answering that question.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow, wow, wow. The food is amazing. Look at that.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is -- amazing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy". New season premieres tomorrow at 9:00 on CNN.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can stop filming. We're just going to eat.