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State of the Union
13 Hours Of Bloodshed, 29 Dead In Two Mass Shootings; At Least Nine Dead, 27 Injured In Dayton Mass Shooting. Aired 12-1p ET
Aired August 04, 2019 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[12:00:00] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Hello, I'm Jake Tapper live in Washington with the State of Our Union is in shock after at least 29 people were killed in two mass shootings in the United States just hours apart.
The first shooting happened on Saturday morning in El Paso Texas when an accused domestic terrorist opened fire at a Wal-Mart, at least 20 people were, killed 26 injured or wounded.
The gunman a 21 year old white male was taken into custody. We are told he is talking with law enforcement. Texas Governor Greg Abbott says that the incident is being investigated as a hate crime.
The second mass shooting came 13 hours later early this morning shortly after 1:00 a.m. in Dayton, Ohio.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shots fired, multiple shots fired. Dispatch. We got shots fired. We got multiple people down. We're going to need multiple medics. We think there's one shooter. He is down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: A gunman clad in body armor killed at least nine innocent people in Dayton, Ohio and wounded or injured at least 27 in a business and entertainment district, heart of the city. Authorities in Dayton say that the lone suspect, a white male was killed by police less than a minute after he started shooting.
CNN's Ed Lavandera joins us now from El Paso. But I want to start with CNN Crime and Justice Reporter, Shimon Prokupecz here in Washington. And Shimon you have some breaking news about the identity of the Dayton shooter.
I want to tell people -- we mentioned this carefully in terms of showing the image of a shooter or giving the person's name. We have not mentioned the name or showing the image of the El Paso shooter, even though we have both. You are now going to report the Dayton shooter's name. You're going to say it once and then I'm not going to say it again on this show. But go ahead and report this.
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Yes. So saying it once here is absolutely right, Jake, his name is Connor Betts. And what we're told is that he's 24 years old. He lives in Bellbrook, Ohio. That is where he lived. That is where he lived with his family.
And we're told that the FBI was there this morning -- early this morning at his home in Bellbrook, Ohio. They executed search warrants and they have now left. They are done with the scene at his home. They have interviewed some family members there and they did remove items. It's unclear, officials will not tell us what it is that they were looking for, what it is that they removed.
Now Bellbrook is about 16 miles from Dayton, Ohio where the shooting occurred and authorities are there, obviously the investigation now stretching into other parts of Ohio as they seek clues as to the motivation here and that, Jake, is not entirely clear yet. And talking to law enforcement officials, they're still working through that.
It's not as clear cut as we perhaps have seen in the El Paso shooting where authorities zeroed in on one perhaps motive there that being a hate crime. They're now still trying to figure out exactly what set off this shooter in Dayton, Ohio. Jake.
TAPPER: And Shimon just to put a button on it, the shooter in El Paso -- the accused domestic terrorists there. Law enforcement is investigating whether or not he indeed wrote this document that was uploaded -- that is white supremacist, racist, vile and that is the reason for the suspicion that this is an act of terrorism and an act of hate crime.
We still do not know. Correct me if I'm wrong, what motivated the Dayton killer, whether it was a copycat or he also shared white supremacist views or something else entirely.
PROKUPECZ: Right. That's exactly right. We don't yet know. We don't know if they have zeroed in in Dayton. Ohio if there is something information that has come to authorities whether it's a manifesto or something else that can help him with determining motive here. There could be other reasons here as well behind the shooting.
The other thing important here is whether or not the El Paso -- the shooting in El Paso triggered something in this shooter in Dayton and perhaps that's what set him off. That's going to be something that authorities are going to be looking at. And there could be several reasons here why this happened as well.
Sometimes, as we know, the motivation is not as clear cut as we're seeing perhaps in El Paso and Dayton, we just don't have that yet and I think authorities don't really have that yet as they're trying to work through different scenarios, different interviews, other pieces of information perhaps that they have learned as we know and they just haven't shared a lot of it yet.
All right, Shimon Prokupecz thanks so much. And next I want to go to CNN's Ed Lavandera who is in El Paso and has some new information about the alleged terrorist in El Paso. Ed?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Jake. Well, here investigators continue to work the scene at the Wal-Mart. [12:04:00] They have been there throughout the night, identifying the victims still inside of that building and analyzing the crime scene at the Wal-Mart. They had been there throughout the night identifying the victims still inside of that building and analyzing the crime scene.
This, as El Paso police say, that the suspect -- the 21 year old suspect -- a shooter in this case has been speaking with investigators late last night and into this morning as well. And we have garnered new information from the social media posts of this suspected gunman. And it reveals a rather pathetic past.
I mean, in a LinkedIn page -- on his LinkedIn page he describes having an awful work ethic. "I'm not really motivated", he says, "To do anything more than what's necessary to get by, working in general sucks. I spend about eight hours every day on the computer, so that counts towards technology experience, I guess", which is really Jake the dichotomy of targeting this Wal-Mart location full of immigrants.
And as we've covered immigration issues, you hear over and over from immigrants who say they want to come to this country, a chance to work hard chance to get ahead. So that dichotomy of what this gunman puts in this LinkedIn profile with the experiences of what we've heard from immigrants over years of reporting these stories is, I think, really striking.
And also as these investigators continue to work this scene here, there's this other social media post where this gunman was also talking about and liking President Trump's Twitter post about building the wall. And there were several allusions to that as well. So, clearly, gives an insight into the mind of why this man targeted this specific place here in El Paso Texas. Jake?
TAPPER: All right, Ed Lavandera in El Paso, thank you so much. Joining me now to discuss this more, especially the law enforcement component of this is former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. Andrew, thanks so much for joining us.
Let me start with just a basic question I have for the FBI, because I know a lot of what you do is opaque and has to be not transparent. There is an impression that the FBI takes more seriously acts of terrorism committed by other groups beyond white supremacists. Is that fair?
ANDREW MCCABE, FORMER FBI DEPUTY DIRECTOR: It's not fair. The work is very different. As you know Jake IT is an entirely different discipline. There's an entirely different set of --
MCCABE: International Terrorism -- sorry about that. There are laws and tools and approaches that we can use in the international terrorism realm that we just don't have in domestic terrorism realm.
I think Director Wray's comments a few weeks ago in which he indicated that there had been around or over 100 arrests in the domestic terrorist area just in this year alone, the same number generally that they've arrested of international terrorism subjects. So I think that shows you in a nutshell that there is a lot of time and energy being spent at the FBI on domestic terror.
TAPPER: So earlier in this show I was talking to former Obama Homeland Security official Juliette Kayyem, and she was talking about what's called "Stochastic terrorism", which I know you know what it is.
But for viewers at home, it's the idea of leaders demonizing one specific group, whether it's Jews or gays or immigrants or whatever. And then acts of violence happening, not directly ordered by those leaders, but acts of violence against those groups happening -- not predictable in an individual sense. Couldn't say it would happen on this date at this location, but predictable in a general trend sense.
And she was specifically faulting President Trump for his anti- immigrant language. And we have now seen acts of violence against Jews at the Tree of Life synagogue for an alleged theory that Jews are funding immigrants to come in for this white genocide nonsense and now we see this violence against immigrants. What's your take on that as a theory of crime?
MCCABE: Well, I'll say this, I think, there is absolutely no doubt that these sorts of criminal acts -- these terrorist attacks are increasing. When the FBI is arresting 100 domestic terrorists in one year, I can tell you from my own experience, that number is off the charts compared to the numbers of domestic terrorists we've arrested in prior years.
You also see a very alarming connection between domestic terrorist attacks here in the United States and domestic terrorist attacks abroad. So it's not uncommon to see attackers referencing in their manifesto --
TAPPER: The El Paso terrorist referencing the New Zealand terror.
MCCABE: New Zealand terrorist, and I think we saw that again with the attacker in Poway or maybe the Tree of Life. So these connections between the acts of similar likeminded folks are going to further exacerbate this problem and kind of add fuel to the fire.
TAPPER: Is one of the problems that in this day and age whereas people like this could -- were basically shunned, they were losers, they had freakish bigoted views and were ostracized in general by communities that in this day and age, forgetting for a second what leaders might be saying, that the Internet brings people like this together.
[12:09:00] And that's might be emboldening some of them -- people sharing hideous ideas. We know that this is the case when it comes to Islamist terrorists.
TAPPER: Right? Is it also true when it comes to white terror?
MCCABE: It is definitely true. It's the same exact idea. When you have the ability to tap into a likeminded community that's going to reverberate and encourage your philosophy, your obsession with violence, your -- in the case of the El Paso shooter, your obsession with immigration, that has the effect of encouraging folks, emboldening them to take action.
It is absolutely no different than an isolated extremist young man or woman here in the United States who is very easily able to connect with known terrorists on the battlefield in, let's say, Syria and be directed or encouraged and inspired by those folks.
TAPPER: So Andrew you said something in the top of the interview that I thought was interesting was that, as a former Deputy Director of the FBI you had more tools to investigate international terrorism.
MCCABE: That's right.
TAPPER: So anybody who might be inspired by ISIS than then FBI officials or agents have to investigate domestic terrorists such as the individual in El Paso -- a suspected terrorist.
Now, for instance, he posted something we think -- law enforcement thinks it's still not 100 unconfirmed. But he allegedly posted something on 8chan, in which -- it was a document laying out why he was about to commit these acts.
TAPPER: If that had been posted on an ISIS component or an ISIS website as opposed to a white terrorist website or whatever section of that website, would you -- would the FBI law enforcement have had an easier time finding out who posted it?
MCCABE: So if a man -- hypothetically, a man walks into a restaurant, shoots it up and then we find out he has posted a manifesto online in which he pledges allegiance to ISIS and indicates he's been talking to ISIS terrorists on the battlefield.
That by definition connects him to a foreign power and puts the bureau in a position to be able to conduct that international terrorism investigation of that person. All of his potential associates and supporters and trainers and planners and communicates with the very powerful classified tools that we have on the international terrorism side.
TAPPER: Easier to access, who sends, where they sent it, where it was posted et cetera, than if it's just this --
MCCABE: That's exactly right.
TAPPER: Domestic terrorist in El Paso.
MCCABE: Doesn't exist on the domestic terrorism side. Any experienced domestic terrorism investigator or prosecutor will tell you that we need a domestic terrorism statute in this country.
Right now, the PATRIOT Act defines what domestic terrorism is and what's required to qualify something as domestic terrorism. But it is not currently a crime in this country. It could very easily be turned into a statute, similar to the statutes that we have that criminalize conducting terrorism on behalf of or in support of a foreign power. And that would put our investigators on a very different footing to be able to attack this problem.
TAPPER: That's so weird. Why would Congress be reluctant to give you more tools -- these people -- I mean these terrorists are killing people and they are just as dead they are as if they had been killed by somebody influenced by ISIS.
MCCABE: That's right.
TAPPER: Why would -- I mean in conversations with Congress, what are the reasons -- I understand you don't want to penalize people for views as opposed to actions. But we're talking about people talking about actions they're about to take.
MCCABE: So there's some very careful sensitivities around our First Amendment protections here that make domestic terrorism a little bit different. But I would venture to say that that is not -- that does not put us in a position where we can't act.
For instance, it's much easier to build those tools targeting international terrorists, because we have basically determined that, even if you're an American, here in the United States, if you're acting in concert with -- behalf of, let's say Al-Qaeda, you are acting as the agent of a foreign power.
It's not the same for someone who is here in the United States and is just voicing their political or philosophical views, as abhorrent as they maybe, you are still an American citizen or a U.S. person as the Statute defines it and you enjoy the protections of the First Amendment.
However, the PATRIOT Act defines domestic terrorism as an act of violence that constitutes either a federal or state crime committed here in the United States for the purpose of intimidating or coercing a population, changing government policy or affecting the actions of a government.
[12:14:00] That is a very tight and constitutionally sound definition. It is one that could easily be applied to criminalize acts of terrorism that are done for those intents.
TAPPER: All right. Former FBI Deputy Director, Andrew McCabe, thank you so much. Really appreciate your time today.
MCCABE: Thank you, Jake, appreciate it.
TAPPER: Coming up next, I'm going to talk to Senator Kamala Harris, Democrat of California, 2020 candidate about these shootings. How she would combat gun violence as president.
Plus, an interview with former El Paso Congressman, Beto O'Rourke, who is tying President Trump's rhetoric to the El Paso massacre. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BASH, U.S. ATTORNEY FOR WESTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS: We are also treating this as a domestic terrorist case. There's statutory definition of domestic terrorism, 18 U.S. C2331, this meets it. It appears to be designed to intimate a civilian population to say the least. We are treating this as a domestic terrorist case and we are going to do what we do to terrorists in this country, which is bring swift and certain justice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: That was John Bash, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas, talking about the case against the suspected terrorist in El Paso. The suspect is in custody, has been charged with capital murder.
[12:19:00] We are following all the latest news from two different crime scenes, one in Ohio at Dayton, and El Paso, Texas where dozens of people were killed by mass shooters.
Joining me from Las Vegas, Nevada, is Democratic presidential candidate and California Senator Kamala Harris. Senator Harris, I would say good morning, it's obviously not a good morning. What is your reaction to the mass shootings in El Paso yesterday and you wake up to find out what happened in Dayton, Ohio earlier today.
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well that's exactly it. We went to sleep just mourning the tragedy of it. And frankly, really it's a combination of feelings, none of which of course match the feelings of the families of those victims. But the sadness, the frustration and frankly the anger, Jake, because we can do something about this.
And so you put that fact, right, that we actually can do something, and you combine that with the fact that our children are right now living in fear -- like seriously living in fear.
Our children are going to school every day -- elementary, middle, high school students having to have a drill where they are taught about how they have to crouch in a corner or hide in a closet in the event that there is a masked shooter roaming the hallways of their school.
If you talk to our children they will tell you they are afraid to go to school. They sit in a classroom and they should be paying attention to a teacher and learning the wonders of math or science or music. But half their brain is aware that somebody might walk through that back door carrying an assault weapon.
So it's just -- it's tragic on so many levels. But the frustration that I feel comes from knowing that there actually is action we can take.
TAPPER: What is an action --
HARRIS: -- that will have an impact on --
TAPPER: Let's about that -- you've laid out a number of executive orders and executive actions that you would take as President.
HARRIS: Right. Yes, I have.
TAPPER: And what are they?
HARRIS: But let me tell you why, because we don't lack for good ideas. There are all kinds of good ideas. I've had some, plenty of my friends and colleagues who are running for President have some great ideas. I'm supporting them. We don't lack for good ideas we lack for action.
So, yes, when elected, I am prepared to take executive action if Congress doesn't pull its act together. I will give, after being elected, the United States Congress 100 days to pull it together, put a bill on my desk for signature, and if they do not I will take executive action and do three things in particular.
I'll put in place a comprehensive background check. Why? Because it's just logical that you might want to know before someone can buy a lethal weapon if they've been found by a court to be a danger to themselves or others. You might just want to know before somebody can buy a gun, if they have been found by a court to be guilty of committing a violent crime. So background checks.
I'm going to require that we put resources into ATF so they can take the licenses of gun dealers who break the law. Do you know that up to 90 percent of the guns associated with crime are solved by just 5 percent of the gun dealers? We need to take their licenses.
And then the third piece, is by executive action, I'll put in place a ban on the importation of assault weapons into our country, because we got to get this under control. And again it's within our ability to act.
And I know there's been there's been a lot of conversation this morning about many things. But the reality is that we're not without hope on this issue. We're without action. And leaders got to lead. And, in particular, when our babies, when our children are living in fear and they are.
TAPPER: So law enforcement officials are investigating this document -- this screed that they believe was written by the suspected terrorists who conducted the El Paso massacre. It's filled with white nationalist, white supremacist, racist hatred towards immigrants, specifically towards Hispanics.
TAPPER: You're a former prosecutor. Was this a hate crime, was this an act of domestic terrorism assuming that the document is right? What's your take on the legality of it?
HARRIS: Based on everything I know, yes and yes and yes. Hate crime and act of domestic terrorism. On that point, I'm in Las Vegas as you mentioned. I did a big rally last night in Las Vegas experienced 1 October which was the deadliest mass shooting in the recent history. Couple of days before I was in Colorado, and of course Columbine happened there, and then and in my home state of California, Gilroy.
And so let's talk about it. When we're talking about domestic terrorism, we also have to recognize that under this administration they have not been putting the resources into investigating and dealing with these cases as they are, what they are, which is to your point, domestic terrorism.
[12:24:00] And so there also has to be some accountability by this administration to take these cases seriously and call them what they are. And this is where we also have to acknowledge that we have a President of the United States who uses the microphone, which is probably one of the most powerful tools in the hands of the President of the United States.
And uses that microphone in a way that is about sowing hate and division in our country, in a way that is about not acknowledging domestic terrorism when it occurs, and in a way that is highly irresponsible and not a reflection of the values and the morals of who we are as the American people.
TAPPER: President Trump condemned the shooting in El Paso as a quote "Hateful act and an act of cowardice". Your 2020 opponent Congressman Beto O'Rourke told me this morning, he believes President Trump is not only encouraging racist rhetoric or engaging in racist rhetoric, but is also responsible for racist violence, because he is creating this atmosphere.
Do you agree? What role, if any, do you see the President playing when it comes to this? Obviously, the shooter is responsible for the shooting, but in terms of the environment of hatred. What's your view of that?
HARRIS: Well, my view is pretty simple and direct, which is there is a consequence to the words that the President of the United States speaks. And when she uses the microphone in a way that is about elevating public discourse and speaking to our better selves and our higher angels, there will be a consequence for that as well.
We have a current President of the United States who does not understand the responsibility that comes with the office, which has to be a leader on every level, including encouraging challenging us to be our best selves.
Instead we have the occupant of the White House in Donald Trump who completely and continuously goes to the lowest common denominator. So, yes, I do believe there is consequence to his words.
TAPPER: Your fellow Senator and 2020 opponent Cory Booker said he was frustrated that some of his fellow candidates do not support his plans for gun licensing and he's calling on his opponents to support it.
You said you agree with lots of your competitors' ideas. Is that one of them? Do you support federal gun licensing? HARRIS: Yes. I think it's a great idea. I think it's a great idea. But again, Jake, my issue is, I do -- I think it's a great idea. There are a lot of great ideas, and this is not about Cory, it's about just the fact of it.
We have not lacked for great ideas. This has been going on for far too long. You can go back to the reason that we had the Brady Bill. You can go back to President Reagan being shot. You can go back to in my backyard in San Francisco 101 California. We are not lacking for good ideas. We are lacking for Congress to have the courage to act.
And, listen, and I want I want to say something else that I think is really, really important to also acknowledge and recognize. Those children who are having those drills are not registered with any political party and could give a what about what party you or I are registered with to vote. They are scared.
Those victims of these crimes their families will mourn them not through the identity of the party with which they were registered to vote. This is ridiculous that Congress is simply not have the courage to stand up and have the spine to say, "Hey, it's a false choice", to say you're either in favor of the Second Amendment or you want to take everyone's guns away. That's a false choice.
Have the courage to say, "Hey, fine if you all want to go hunting, but we need reasonable gun safety laws in our country, including universal background checks, including a renewal of the assault weapons ban". Assault weapons were designed to kill a lot of people quickly. There is no reason for them to be available on the streets of a civil society.
TAPPER: Senator Kamala Harris, Democrat of California and a Presidential candidate, coming to us from Las Vegas, Nevada this morning. Thank you so much.
HARRIS: Thanks Jack.
TAPPER: Officials in Texas say they are treating the massacre in El Paso as a case of domestic terrorism and they will seek the death penalty. 2020 Democratic candidate Beto O'Rourke whose home district, when he was a Congressman, is El Paso, canceled his campaign events and went home to El Paso where his family lives yesterday after the shooting.
[12:29:00] Joining me now former congressman from El Paso and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, Beto O'Rourke. Congressman Beto O'Rourke, thank you for joining us on this horrible day for your community, our thoughts and prayers is such a cliche at this point, but we're all feeling the pain of what's going on in El Paso and in Dayton. Have you learned anything new about what happened since you got back to El Paso yesterday?
BETO O'ROURKE (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you Jake. We're grieving right now for our fellow El Pasoans and this community is also thinking about Dayton and the people there who have suffered such extraordinary loss. Came back yesterday and got to spend some time with some of the victims and their families, I'm seeing extraordinarily courageous people who have suffered the most grievous wounds and who have also learned that it wasn't just one family member, it was two or three or more who were shot and in some cases who were killed.
This community is coming together unlike any other time that I can remember -- donations of blood, donations of food -- just the love and the encouragement and the strength and the support in the face of a horrific mass killing.
El Paso we'll see on average 18 murders a year. That's the average over the last 10 years. We lost at least 20 people yesterday and it took someone coming from outside of this community of immigrants to come and bring their hatred and their death to El Paso, and in the face of that. This community has shown just incredible strength and love and is more than a match for this. We will overcome this.
But something has to change and one of the wives of one of the victims he had been selling things to her to raise money for the soccer team he coaches, shot in the chest. His wife asked me what why is this happened in our country right now? Why will this continue to happen? How do we how do we change this.
And Jake I've got to tell you in addition to universal background checks, in addition to ending the sales of weapons of war into our communities, in addition to Red Flag laws we've got to acknowledge the hatred the open racism that we're seeing.
There's an environment of it in United States. We see it on Fox News. We see it on the Internet. But we also see it from our Commander in Chief. And he is encouraging this. He doesn't just tolerate it. He encourages it, calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals, warning of an invasion at our border, seeking to ban all people of one religion.
Folks are responding to this. It doesn't just offend us. It encourages the kind of violence that we're seeing, including in my hometown of El Paso yesterday.
TAPPER: So I want to talk about that in a second. But I do want to show this picture of you visiting with a victim named Rosemary, who you said was shot in the chest, but she is doing well after surgery. Obviously, we want to bring as much attention to the victims of this as much as possible. So I do want to talk about how we can stop it in one second but if you could tell me about that moment meeting Rosemary.
O'ROURKE: You know, I met her son on the flight back from Las Vegas. He approached me on the airplane, told me that he'd just learned that his mother had been shot in the chest. His grandmother had been shot in the stomach. His great aunt had also been shot. He was flying back to El Paso. And he asked if I would join him going into university medical center where I met Rosemary.
Both of her lungs punctured, her lungs being drained as I was talking to her, big smile on her face, just extraordinary courage. Not only was she shot, but her mom, her aunt was also shot -- her family around her.
These extraordinary caregivers at University Medical Center, nurses who had been working 12, 14 hours already, doctors who'd been seeing multiple patients with multiple gunshot wounds, just really moved me.
And makes me so incredibly proud of Rosemary, her family, families all across El Paso right now who should never have to demonstrate this kind of courage and yet nonetheless are doing so.
I've met families who have not heard from a family member and fear the worst. Have called Del Sol Medical Center, called UMC don't know where their mom or dad are. Fear that they are one of the at least 20 who are dead already and are resolved to ensure that this changes.
And I heard that from so many people yesterday. They want this to change this cannot be the normal for the United States of America. And I know this community is going to do everything within our power to make sure that it is not.
TAPPER: So Congressman you wrote on Twitter and said publicly in El Paso.
[12:34:00] President Trump's racism does not just offend our sensibilities, it fundamentally changes the character of this country and it leads to violence.
Now the document that this terrorist in El Paso that law enforcement is investigating whether or not he actually posted this document, which refers to Latinos coming to the country is an invasion, which as you noted is, a language that we've heard from the President of the United States.
It also says, and I know you know it's hard to make sense of it of any of this stuff. But it also says that he had this ideology before President Trump. He kind of anticipated it. Assuming this document's real, the alleged terrorist anticipated that people would blame President Trump for it and said I felt this way before President Trump.
O'ROURKE: I don't know the point that you're trying to make here Jake. But it's pretty obvious to me and anyone who's listen to the President and will look at the facts that his anti-immigrant rhetoric -- not just the things that I cited, but calling asylum seekers animals or an infestation.
Now you might describe a cockroach or termites as an infestation, something less than human. You might hear someone in the Third Reich describe a given people based on their characteristic as an infestation or subhuman.
But that's what the President of United States is doing right now and it's not just with Mexican immigrants, conflating Congresswoman Ilhan Omar with the terrorists from 9/11, encouraging that chanting in North Carolina of "Send Her Back". Let's not mince words right now. This President is encouraging greater racism and not just the racist rhetoric, but the violence that so often follows. This shooter in the manifesto cites in part for his inspiration, the shooter in Christchurch, New Zealand who cites Donald Trump as his inspiration.
This anti-immigrant rhetoric -- and again, it is not just President Trump, but he is certainly as the person in the position of greatest public trust in power, most responsible for it. This is Fox News. This is what we're seeing on the Internet.
This is the toleration of intolerance and hatred and racism in this country. This is what is causing what we are seeing here today and it will continue to happen unless we call it out and unless we change it.
TAPPER: The FBI Director Christopher Wray has warned Congress about the increasing threat of white supremacy in the past. I want you to take a listen to something that FBI Director Wray said in April of this year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTOPHER A. WRAY, DIRECTOR OF THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION: We've seen an increase in the reporting of hate crimes and the FBI is on a number of hate crime cases have increased. The danger, I think, of white supremacist violent extremism or any other kind of violent extremism is of course significant. We assess that it's a persistent pervasive threat.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: If the kinds of shootings we've seen in El Paso or in California in which the individual there was suspected to have white supremacist ideology and other white supremacist murders, the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh and on and on.
If those were Muslim men committing those crimes, how do you think Congress would be reacting as opposed to the fact that it is white supremacists committing these crimes?
O'ROURKE: They weren't Muslim men committing those --
TAPPER: I know, I know --That's all.
O'ROURKE: -- how Congress.
TAPPER: My point is so is there not a double standard here?
O'ROURKE: So problem is there --
TAPPER: That's what I'm saying. That's what I'm saying. Yes.
O'ROURKE: Yes. Well, so -- but let's focus on the problem that the FBI Director has called out to members of Congress and to this country. We have a problem with white nationalist terrorism in the United States of America today. So I don't I don't want to confuse people about what is going on or use a hypothetical about what if this was somebody else from a different background or profile. These are white men motivated by the kind of fear that this President traffics.
And the mosque in Victoria, Texas was burned to the ground on the same day that President Trump signed his order attempting to ban Muslim travel to the United States of America.
When he says after Charlottesville, the Klansmen and white supremacists and neo-Nazis are very fine people, the Commander in Chief is sending a very public signal to the rest of this country about what is permissible, and in fact, even what he encourages to happen.
So let's connect the dots here on what is happening and why it is happening and who is responsible for this right now.
[12:39:00] And the fact that it's going to take all of us Republicans, Democrats, independents alike rising up, standing up to be counted against what this President is doing, against this white nationalist racism, against this violence and getting this country back.
They are saying that our differences are in fact dangerous. If you're a Muslim, you're inherently dangerous. If you are an immigrant, you are inherently dangerous. If you are an asylum seeker you are invading this country, you are an infestation.
Those words have very real consequences. You don't get mass shootings like these, you don't torch mosques, you don't put kids in cages until you have a president who's given people permission to do that. And that's exactly what's happening in the United States of America today.
TAPPER: Just to be clear, I'm not trying to confuse anybody. I was trying to point out that there seems a glaring double standard in how law enforcement and Congress talks about these incidents.
These are these are white supremacist terrorist acts over and over and over in which people are being murdered, and I was trying to offer a hypothetical, if it were a different group, I feel like it would be a red alarm fire -- a four alarm fire.
But let me move on. Because during one of the debates you're 20 20 opponent Governor Jay Inslee of Washington said that President Trump is a quote "white nationalist". That was a fairly stark accusation. Do you agree with that? Do you think President Trump is a white nationalist?
O'ROURKE: Yes, I do. And again, from some of the record that I just recited to you, the things that he has said both as a candidate and then as the President of the United States, this cannot be open for debate.
And you as well as I have a responsibility to call that out to make sure that the American people understand what is being done in their name by the person who holds the highest position of public trust in this land.
He does not even pretend to respect our differences or to understand that we are all created equal. He is saying that some people are inherently defective or dangerous, reminiscent of something that you might hear in the Third Reich.
Not something that you expect in the United States of America, based on their religion, based on their sexual orientation, based on their immigration status, based on the countries that they come from, calling those in Africa shithole nations and saying that he'd like to have more immigration from Nordic countries -- the whitest place on planet Earth today.
So, again, let's be very clear about what is causing this and who the President is. He is an open avowed racist and is encouraging more racism in this country. And this is incredibly dangerous for the United States of America right now. All of us have a responsibility to stand up and be counted on this issue.
TAPPER: You went home to El Paso yesterday after the shooting to spend some time with your wife and your children. There are a lot of parents across the country right now trying to talk to their kids about this or even debating whether or not they should tell their kids about it. What did you tell your kids about what happened in El Paso?
O'ROURKE: I was laying down with my youngest Henry who is eight years old, and he was asking me question after question after question about why this is happening. For him, and really frankly for me, it is so hard to believe that this happened in El Paso. It's one of the safest places in in America, and safe in large part because of our differences.
A quarter of those with whom we live were born somewhere else, chose this country, made us better by their presence. Why is this happening here? Why would somebody come to our community -- I don't know how he got here. But it's a 10-11-12 hour drive to come here in order to do this.
Some of this, I've explained to you, in terms of what our President has done, in terms of this environment of racism in this country, really hard though for a child to understand why anyone would do this to anyone else.
But my responsibility, your responsibility is to make this better for Henry and for the generations that follow ours. They need to know that we knew exactly what was happening and in the face of that we stood up and did the right thing. And I'm 100 percent focused on doing that right now.
TAPPER: All right, former Congressman Beto O'Rourke from his home city of El Paso, a city that is grieving today. Good luck to you and your fellow citizens. It is a horrible day and we're all thinking about you. Thank you so much for joining us.
O'ROURKE: Thank you, Jake.
TAPPER: The White House is responding to these horrific mass shootings. That's next.
[12:48:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICK MULVANEY, DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET: This difficulty that we face as a nation predates this administration by many, many years.
You cannot be a white supremacist and be normal in the head. These are sick people. You know it, I know it, the President knows it. And this type of thing has to stop. And we have to figure out a way to fix the problem, not figure out a way to lay blame.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Acting White House Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney on a different show. President Trump ordered flags to be flown at half- staff, and the White House issued a statement condemning, quote "These hateful and cowardly acts" saying "We share in the pain suffering of all those injured in these two senseless acts."
Our panel joins now to chew over this. Amanda your response?
AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I didn't hear any solutions in that clip from Mr. Mulvaney. And I've heard a lot of other people blame video games, blame the parents, blame pharma, stop looking to blame.
There are solutions at hand. I can guarantee the executives at Wal- Mart -- there's been two shootings at Wal-Marts in the past few weeks, they're scrambling for solutions right now.
[12:49:00] And they are not going to check with NRA first. They're not going to put their fingers in the wind to see which way it's going. They are going to be smart about things.
And so we just really need to think much more broadly about this Red Flag laws, longer waiting periods. Something needs to be on the table because this keeps happening.
TAPPER: So Patti, if Islamist terrorists had committed say the act in El Paso that we know that was carried out by a white terrorist -- a white supremacist terrorist, I can't help but feel like the White House statement would condemn specifically Islamist ideology -- ISIS ideology, kind of whatever -- hypothetical. And we've seen it, we've seen it happen before.
And while they condemn hateful and cowardly acts, there is no specific mention of white supremacists, even though the Sheriff in El Paso has said that the document is linked to the terrorists there?
PATTI SOLIS DOYLE, FORMER HILLARY CLINTON 2008 CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Right.
TAPPER: What do you make of that? DOYLE: Look I think this President's rhetoric, anti-immigrant, anti- Hispanic has taken a real toll on our country. We have seen a rise in hate crime incidents -- whether it's a man in a restaurant yelling at a woman who's speaking Spanish to go back to our country, whether it's a white woman yelling at a man who's mowing his lawn to go back to his country, whether it's two white males beating up an old Hispanic man. It has culminated in this horrible tragedy.
And while I don't think the President's responsible. He didn't pull the trigger. He did not plan the attack. His tone and his rhetoric has taken a real toll. It is giving permission for people to hate. He did not invent racism. He did not invade white nationalism but he has to come out and condemn it strongly. And he has to just stop. I beg him to stop.
I am a daughter of Mexican immigrants. My father came here illegally twice, deported twice. He finally came back. He got his papers. He was here legally. He became a citizen. My brothers and sisters became citizens. Later in life, I was born here.
I've had -- I've raised two great kids. I'm married, I've had a successful career -- most of it in public service. But I can't watch this and think, but for the grace of God go, I go my brothers and sisters, go my cousins, go my family, it's tragic.
TAPPER: Adolfo, your perspective?
ADOLFO FRANCO, FORMER SPOKESMAN FOR MCCAIN & ROMNEY CAMPAIGNS: Well, I'm Latino too, and I wasn't born in the United States and I see it completely differently. I saw all of these comments being made well before Donald Trump was ever present United States.
I think it's what sometimes message sent is a message received. I think the President's messages have been largely focused on policy. Yes, he has a different style. Yes, he's not a conventional politician. There's no question about that. But I think they've been twisted.
And I really frankly believe, yes, everything should be on the table and there should be a discussion on all these issues. There's a lot of suspicion on the people that support the right to bear arms and this is going to be used and manipulated as an agenda to change and ultimately ban guns as a long term proposition. And I think that trust factor is legitimate in terms of the discussion.
I also think, frankly, listening to all on this program, all morning, I think is despicable that a national tragedy is being utilized by people like Beto O'Rourke to call the president a White Nationalist. To use this rhetoric -- this hot rhetoric from the left. And that goes unexcused. That is also offensive to me. It's offensive to many, many Americans as well. So I don't think that contributes to the debate.
There is an issue in this country with gun violence, there's no question. Most gun violence -- of course, most deaths are suicide. So we need to look at the -- not address the symptoms. This is a horrible tragedy. What is the cause of it? I frankly think with this person, I'm glad he survived, is actually subject to psychiatric evaluation. We'll see his pathological case -- a nut case. That doesn't justify what in -- any sense the debate about guns. But we need to look at the root causes of these problems.
TAPPER: So Mayor Rawlings-Blake, I want to play for you some sound that has been pointed out from May when President Trump was in the Panhandle in Florida talking about immigrants coming into the country. Somebody in the audience yelled "Shoot them", and you can see his response and then we'll get your response after that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: How do you stop these people?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shoot them.
TRUMP: You can't. There's no -- that's only in the Panhandle you can get away with that statement.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE, FORMER BALTIMORE MAYOR: It's despicable. And to say that you're offended that Beto O'Rourke would say that he's a white nationalist. White nationalist are calling him white nationalist.
So that's why you should be offended with his rhetoric, it's horrible, it's despicable.
[12:54:00] It is not worthy of the office that he holds. He snickers at the thought of killing an immigrant. I don't know how we can call it anything, but what it is.
TAPPER: And let's -- and let me just -- I want to put up Adolfo, this is your former boss --
TAPPER: After 9/11 -- George W. Bush.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, 43RD U.S. PRESIDENT: The face of terror is not the true face of Islam. That's not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace. These terrorists don't represent peace. They represent evil and war.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Two very different tones.
FRANCO: Well, two very different situations. If we find that this individual is part of some organization as al-Qaida was the President's referring to this and that was carrying out a mission for some white terrorist organization, yes, I think that would be then something very, very different.
Than what I suspect this will be, which is a sick individual, an individual who was motivated not by him by any political ideology, per say, but the fact that he is a rogue person who was -- is ill, is very different than an organization that the President is referring to.
RAWLINGS-BLAKE: If you're calling him a rogue individual, had he been with his friends, the president would have called him very good people, like you did in Charlottesville.
FRANCO: That's not fair.
TAPPER: It's what he said.
FRANCO: CNN correctly reported this initially. The President was referring to the good people, the people who are there supporting the monuments. The President deplored Nazism. The President -- by the way just so everyone on this set actually knows, the President's son in law is Jewish.
TAPPER: Sure. And the President's daughter is --
RAWLINGS-BLAKE: Anti-Semitism has gone up under his leadership.
TAPPER: Unfortunate we have to take a break right now. More breaking news coverage of these attacks on a special edition of State OF The Union. Stay with us.