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State of the Union

Interview With Gov. Brian Kemp (R-GA); Interview With Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY); Interview With Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-FL). Aired 9-10a ET

Aired April 16, 2023 - 09:00   ET




JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST (voice-over): In the balance. The Supreme Court considers a challenge to abortion medication.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think it's out of their domain.

TAPPER: With more states making it harder for women to get abortions, do Democrats have a plan to respond? I will speak with Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand next.

And secrets out. The intelligence community and U.S. allies shaken at the scope of classified material leaked by a 21-year-old junior airman. Is the U.S. doing enough to keep its secrets safe?

Plus: Don't get distracted.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have never been in such danger as we are right now. As the GOP works on its message and its messenger for 2024, a GOP governor who overcame Donald Trump's attacks and won in a purple state lays out his vision for how his party can win back the White House.

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp joins me ahead.


TAPPER: Hello. I'm Jake Tapper in Washington, where the state of our union is compromised.

President Biden is back in the U.S. after a deeply personal diplomatic visit to Ireland. But he returns to face a thorny new set of issues at home, the U.S. and key allies trying to assess the full damage after the arrest of a 21-year-old member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard accused of posting on Discord highly classified documents, only the latest trove of U.S. intelligence to be leaked to the public.

Those documents include detailed intelligence assessments of both allies and adversaries, including the state of the war in Ukraine.

And, in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Supreme Court is considering the most important abortion-related dispute since they overturned Roe v. Wade last June, at issue, a medication abortion pill that has been approved by the FDA for decades.

Justice Samuel Alito temporarily extended access to mifepristone until Wednesday, while the justices weigh a lower court ruling that revoked the drug's FDA approval. That ruling would sharply limit nationwide women and girls' access to the most common method of abortion, a medication also used for miscarriages in menopause, and would come just as the state of Florida moved this week to ban abortions after six weeks.

Joining us now to discuss, New York Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

Senator Gillibrand, thanks for joining us.

So, do you think there are five votes on the U.S. Supreme Court to keep mifepristone legal and have access to it?


But what we do know is, since the Dobbs decision, this court has had an all-out assault on women's reproductive freedom, starting with that decision that takes away the right to privacy. And what we are seeing in these Republican legislatures, as well as these very conservative courts, is a continuation of that assault.

So to take away the right to have medicine is an extension of taking away this right to privacy. To say we can't have medicine sent by doctors by mail to people across the country is further invading into this right to privacy, where the court and government has a right to what's in your mail, and who you're talking to, and what communications you're having. It's an outrage.

And so we will fight in every respect we can. We will file lawsuits. We will continue to appeal this kind of decision. We will also continue to fight state by state to codify Roe in state law. And we have had many ballot initiatives, even in red places like Kansas and Montana, where we have been successful.

The American people believe that we have this right to privacy. And people believe that women have reproductive freedom. And so if they want to guarantee it, they're going to have to fight for it, and we're going to eventually have to codify it.

TAPPER: So you said that you're going to have to fight for it.

And, after the ruling, you tweeted: "We will not allow this attack on our reproductive freedom to stand."

Beyond fighting it in court, what else should Democrats do? I mean, there are some Democrats, as you know, I believe, including Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from your home state in New York, who say the FDA should just simply ignore the ruling.

GILLIBRAND: It's hard to ignore the rule of law. And we have a court system and an appeals system for a reason.

So I think the Biden administration is correct in actually fighting this in the Supreme Court. Whether we win or not in the Supreme Court doesn't mean that's our last effort. We will go state by state to guarantee reproductive freedom.

But I think the national conversation we have to have is this right to privacy.

When you take away 50 percent of America's right to privacy, to say women don't have it during their reproductive years, it is such an overstretch and an outrageous statement that I think, when people wake up to the reality of what this means for a conservative court where they believe they should impose their views of the world, their religious beliefs, their views on health care, on the FDA's decision of 20 years ago of a drug that has been deemed very safe?


You have more likely of being risk your health from taking Tylenol than mifepristone. That is a fact. And so where we are today is an outrage and such an overreach by courts that we, as people, need to fight back. We also need to flip the House, and we need to codify Roe.

TAPPER: So, flipping the House, that can't happen until November 2024. But I have to say there are tools in the House. There's a thing called a discharge petition.

You're a former member of the House. You know this, where 218 members of the House can force a bill onto the floor for a vote. And it's hard not to see that there would be 218, mostly Democrats, but also Republicans, that would want to have mifepristone legal by law.

How come Democrats aren't doing that? I mean, I know you're not in the House, but shouldn't they be?

GILLIBRAND: They may. And this may be a tactic that they will pursue, but these -- access to medicine is lifesaving.

And, as you said in your opening, this medicine is used for many, many indications for women, in menopause, for miscarriages. Courts and judges should not be imposing their religious beliefs on the FDA and our scientific review of what medicines are health -- are healthy for patients.

TAPPER: Let's turn to the shocking leak of classified materials.

I think a lot of Americans right now are wondering why a 21-year-old Massachusetts Air National Guardsman had access to such highly sensitive information in the first place. Speaker McCarthy said the Biden administration was -- quote -- "asleep at the switch" and -- quote -- "failed to secure classified information."

You're on the Intelligence Committee. Is he right? Is this a failure of the Biden administration?

GILLIBRAND: Well, we're going to do a full investigation.

And the Intelligence Committee is also going to have a thorough investigation. We focused intensely on how we keep our secrets safe. And I have a lot of questions about, why were these documents lying around? Why did this particular person have access to them? Where was the custody of the documents and who were they for?

Those are important questions we can ask in the Intelligence Committee so that we can have stronger oversight.

TAPPER: So CNN's Evan Perez told me that, after Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden did their leaks, which were very different -- they weren't showing off to friends. They saw things that they thought were malfeasance and brought it to the light of the American people or worldwide.

But, after those leaks, the intelligence community took steps to protect against leaks in the future. But the intelligence community believes that the U.S. military is still kind of the weak link, because so many people have security clearances and DOD doesn't vet them as vigorously as they're vetted in the CIA or the NSA example.

You're also on the Armed Services Committee. Do you agree with that assessment? Is the military a weak link when it comes to this sort of thing?

GILLIBRAND: Those are the type of questions we're going to ask in a hearing. We're going to have an all-senators briefing this week. But we will also be having hearings in the Intelligence Committee and in the Armed Services Committee.

We need to know the facts. We need to know who this airman was, why he felt he had the authority or ability to show off confidential documents, secret documents to his friends. It sounds like he was extremely immature and someone who did not understand the weight and the importance of these documents. And so we need to figure it out and put proper protections in place.

TAPPER: According to "The Washington Post," some of the leaked documents reveal that U.S. intelligence agencies knew of four additional Chinese spy balloons, including one that flew over an American carrier group, and that there are still lingering questions about the true capabilities of the one that crossed the mainland U.S.

Do you think the Biden administration is being forthcoming enough when it comes to everything they know about these balloons?

GILLIBRAND: Well, I will be having a hearing on all of the unidentified aerial phenomenon this coming week.

TAPPER: Oh, great.

GILLIBRAND: And one of the things...

TAPPER: Will you come back and talk to us about it afterwards?

GILLIBRAND: Absolutely.


GILLIBRAND: I created, along with Senator Warner and Senator Rubio and Senator Heinrich and some others, an office within the DOD and the Intelligence Committee specifically to review every unidentified aerial phenomenon that the military has access to.

And we have the most intense -- intensely specific technology that can video different aerial phenomenon, that can get radar, heat sensing through our aircraft, through other radar detection. And so we set up this office two years ago.

And, during that two years, they have reviewed over 300 different evidence of aerial phenomenon. About half of them were deemed to be weather balloons, this type of balloon technology, perhaps detection devices. About two dozen were deemed to be drones. A handful were debris or birds.

And there was still 171 that they have not assessed what it is. And so this work has to be done. If we're going to have domain awareness, if we're going to have aerial dominance, if we want to make sure that our adversaries aren't spying on us, or using new technologies, or have aircraft that we don't even know how it functions or how fast it is or how effective it is, that is a national security risk.


And so knowing what these aircraft are is essential. And the military, unfortunately, just hasn't been doing that work. They have just assumed they are nonadversarial because of how they fly or how they function. But I think knowing whether you are being spied on through different kinds of technology is essential to our national security.

So this office is up and running. I'm working with colleagues to make sure it's fully funded. We're pushing the Biden administration and the military to ask for full funding this year. And I think it's vital.

TAPPER: House Republicans are pushing to restructure the federal food assistance program known as SNAP, which benefits 41 million low-income Americans.

They argue that putting new limits on the program, expanding work requirements will save taxpayers money and close loopholes that allow for abuse. What's your take?

GILLIBRAND: That is not what it will do.

It will cut four million children and five million adults off from the food assistance that they need. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program works. It keeps people from starving or having terrible health outcomes.

Most of the people on SNAP are kids, and many of the adults on SNAP are veterans. A lot of our veterans are food-insecure. Older people are often food-insecure. People with disabilities are food-insecure. We are the richest nation in the world. We should not be cutting a program that keeps our kids from going hungry and being able to focus in school.

It's a priority. And I think the attacks by the Republicans are cynical, and they're just trying to save money, so they can balance the budget off the backs of low-income people who desperately need food for their families.

TAPPER: And, lastly, Senator, there are growing calls among Democrats for 89-year-old Dianne Feinstein to resign. She's missed 60 votes over the last two months due to illness. Her absence is increasingly harming Democrats' ability to confirm nominees, pass legislation.

There's been a lot of talk in the last several years about her awareness, her cognitive abilities. Do you think it's time for her to step down?

GILLIBRAND: Dianne Feinstein is an extraordinary senator, and she's been a role model and a mentor to me my entire career.

I sit with her on the Intelligence Committee. She asks some of the most searing, pointed questions of anyone on that committee. Her legacy and her depth of experience is valuable. And we have had so many senators who have had illnesses, whether it's Mitch McConnell's illnesses, or senators who have had strokes.

These are issues that -- we're human. And we believe that a senator should be able to make their own judgments about when they're retiring and when they're not. And they all deserve a chance to get better and come back to work. Dianne will get better. She will come back to work.

And she's already told Senator Schumer that she can replace -- that he can replace her on the Judiciary Committee if it's urgent for these hearings for judges. She's a team player, and she's an extraordinary member of the Senate. It's her right. She's been voted by her state to be senator for six years. She has the right, in my opinion, to decide when she steps down.

TAPPER: Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, always good to see you. Thank you so much. Appreciate you coming in.

GILLIBRAND: Thanks, Jake.

TAPPER: Coming up: He beat a Trump-backed candidate in last year's midterms, and now he's giving his party advice on how to win in 2024. Georgia's Republican Governor Brian Kemp joins me next.

Plus, President Biden returns to his roots in Ireland, only to find family connection that brought him to tears.

That's ahead.


[09:17:30] TAPPER: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Jake Tapper.

Fresh off his big win in the swing state of Georgia last November, Republican Governor Brian Kemp has a message for his party ahead of 2024. Voters, he says, want to hear about your policies, not your sour grapes.

Kemp, who in 2020 refused to overturn the former president's official and factual and legal loss in Georgia, told an audience of Republican donors yesterday -- quote -- "Looking through the rearview mirror takes our eye off the road ahead" -- unquote.

Hmm. Wonder who he's talking about?

Georgia -- joining me now to discuss, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp.

Governor Kemp, thanks so much for joining us. Really appreciate it.

So, Georgia has become a purple state. President Biden narrowly won in 2020. You have two Democratic senators who've been elected, and one of them reelected. But you handily won reelection in 2022 in a tougher- than-expected year for your party.

What went wrong for Republicans in the 2022 midterms, do you think, and how do you fix it?

GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R-GA): Well, really a pretty simple message, Jake.

Thanks for having me on.

I mean, Georgia, in my opinion, is not a purple state. We're a slightly red state. And we got to have a voice to voters where they will vote for us. And that was really a pretty simple message I gave. The reports on my speech are all over the board, but it really was a very simple theme.

We have to tell people, number one, what we're for, number two, that we're going to be focused on the future and what we're going to do for the voters in our state or the American people. And then, number three, we have to do a simple thing. We have to win.

I mean, if we don't have -- if we don't win the White House, you can't govern, you can't make a lot of the decisions that we are seeing been made right now in Washington, D.C., that has Joe Biden's approvals ratings at 40 percent or below in the state of Georgia. So it's a pretty simple message for those that are running.

TAPPER: So you told Republican leaders that -- quote -- "Being distracted by what is happening at the Manhattan and Fulton County district attorney's offices is not going to win us back the White House" -- unquote.

You also said -- quote -- "Not a single swing voter will vote for our nominee if they choose to talk about the 2020 election being stolen" -- unquote. Do you think Donald Trump is unelectable on a nationwide scale? Would

it be a mistake for the Republican people, Republican Party voters to nominate him?

KEMP: Well, that's for the people to decide.

But my point is exactly what you said. We cannot get distracted. I mean, one of the things that I learned in -- learned running in 2022 in a very tough environment against a very tough, nationally funded opponent that raised $100 million, 90 percent of the money coming from outside of the state, is, you cannot get distracted.


You have to tell the voters of your state why they need to vote for you. That's why I talked about what we're doing here in Georgia to help people fight through 40-year-high inflation, high gas prices, making sure they have a good-paying job, and making sure that we're doing something about crime in their neighborhood by going after street gangs and street racers.

And if we get distracted and talk about other things that the Democrats want to talk about, like these investigations, regardless of what you think about the politics of those, if we get distracted every day and let the media just talk about that, that only helps Joe Biden. It does not give us a path for Republicans to win.

TAPPER: You said the eventual 2024 presidential nominee needs to be able to win Georgia.

Not only has Donald Trump lost Georgia. A lot of his handpicked candidates, including David Perdue, including Herschel Walker, lost Georgia. Do you think Donald Trump is unable to win Georgia anymore? And that's also one of the reasons why you were reelected? People saw you as a bulwark against his kind of politics?

KEMP: Well, and that's really my point from yesterday's remarks is, the road to the White House is coming through Georgia and two or three other states that really, in my opinion, are going to decide the presidential race.

And I was just laying out the blueprint for I think any candidate to be able to win, is to talk about what we're for, focus on the future, not look in the rearview mirror. If you look in the rearview mirror too long while you're driving, you're going to look up, and you're going to be running into somebody, and that's not going to be good.

It's like a quarterback that throws an interception. If you dwell on that the rest of the game, your team's not going to fare very well. But if you put it behind you and focus on the game ahead and the future, then you're going to win. And that was my point yesterday.

For people to ultimately be able to win, we have to tell people what we're for. We have got to focus on the future, and we also have to just make the comparisons with the disaster of the Biden administration, when you look at the border, when you look at 40-year- high inflation, our domestic energy policy, our strength around the world.

And those are the things I think we're going to have a lot of good candidates that, if they focus on those things, we have got a great chance of winning the White House in 2024.

TAPPER: Your speech took place in Nashville just two weeks after a mass shooting there left six dead at Covenant Elementary School, including the death of a friend of your fellow Republican Governor Bill Lee.

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear also lost one of his friends in another mass shooting at a Louisville bank. Take a listen to what Governor Beshear said on CNN a few days ago.


GOV. ANDY BESHEAR (D-KY): I have been governor during this pandemic. I have been governor during tornadoes and floods and negative-45 degree windchills and everything else.

We have lost a lot of people during those. But calling your friend's wife, who is also your friend, to tell her that her husband is gone is amongst the hardest thing I have ever done.


TAPPER: Governors Beshear and Lee are both now calling for what's essentially a red flag law which would allow police to take guns out of the hands of individuals who have been adjudicated to be at risk to themselves or to others, potentially, temporarily take away their firearms.

There's a conservative sheriff in Florida who says that it's a very effective tool. Would you support something like that in Georgia?

KEMP: Well, Jake, first of all, my thoughts and prayers certainly go out to the people of Kentucky and Tennessee.

And I have been a governor during those times too where we have lost a lot of people. I have had to visit a state patrol officer that was shot by somebody that was illegally in a forest, a forest protester. You saw those officers being assaulted when they were going in, true heroes. And we certainly appreciate what they do.

And that's why every state is going to have these debates. I will tell you, in Georgia, thankfully, we have been ahead of the curve on a lot of these issues when you think about school security. We did school security grants to every state -- every school in the state shortly after I was elected in 2019. I proposed another round of that this year before both of these shootings of $50,000.

So that is an issue we have to continue to work on. But, also, I'm proud of the fact that, last year in the Georgia General Assembly, the late, great Speaker David Ralston and I and the rest of the General Assembly passed a massive mental health bill to continue to work on these issues. They are no easy solutions. And these are things that governors and

legislators are going to have to continue to focus on. But I'm also going to continue to focus on going after really bad people that, quite honestly, doesn't get the play that a mass shooting does that are shooting up our streets and our people every single day, as well as our neighborhoods.


And so these are issues we have to continue to dig in on.

TAPPER: Yes. No, absolutely. It's -- more people are killed in these one-offs, one person killed, two people killed, than in these mass shootings, absolutely, and by handguns more so than by semiautomatic weapons.

Let's turn to abortion, because the U.S. Supreme Court is right now allowing access to this key abortion medication mifepristone until Wednesday night. They're going to have to make a decision one way or another. This is after a Texas judge revoked the pill's FDA approval last week.

Now, when Roe v. Wade was overruled last year, you applauded that. The Supreme Court sent abortion back to the states. That doesn't seem to be what this judge is doing, though, with mifepristone. It seems to me like this one judge in Texas is making a decision for everyone nationwide.

Is that OK with you? Are you comfortable with this judge making one decision for the entire country?

KEMP: Well, I haven't really looked at any of these rulings. I think, eventually, the Supreme Court is going to decide this.

In Georgia, we have had a law on the book since 2019. It is the law in our state. And depending on what any federal judge or the Supreme Court would ultimately say, that's what's going to be in place in Georgia. It's been that way for a long time. We are a state that values life.

But, Jake, this is a tough issue. And this is again to my point of my remarks in Nashville is, we have to explain to people what we're for. And voters don't expect to agree on -- with us on every single issue. But when I tell people we're a state that values life, you may differ on your opinion whether you like our heartbeat bill or not or you think it should be a different policy, and we can have those debates.

But, also, if you look at what we have done in Georgia, we have done foster care reform. We have done adoption reform. We have done mental health reform. And we're continuing to go after gangs that are killing people every day. To me, that is a life issue.

So it's not just as simple of what has happened with abortion policy. It is really an overarching conversation that I think Republicans have to do a better job of explaining to people where we are. And, also, don't be ugly when somebody may not disagree with your position. I mean, people are principled in this country, and I think voters understand that, even if they disagree with you.

But we have to be honest and transparent with them. And we have to not be afraid to tell people where we are and be truthful.

TAPPER: The Fulton County district attorney in Georgia is investigating former President Trump's alleged interference in the 2020 election in Georgia, as you know.

You have talked about -- and you just did yesterday -- that -- quote -- "Being distracted by what's happening at the Manhattan Fulton County district attorney office is not going to win us back the White House in 2024."

Are you saying that your party should stop attacking these investigations and allow the justice system to run its course? And have you had any conversations with law enforcement about preparing for a possible Trump indictment and protests that might ensue?

KEMP: Well, we talk to law enforcement every day about people that are planning protests and -- protests and other things.

And it's been very clear how we handle those things in the state of Georgia. Atlanta is the city too busy to hate. We're going to help people peacefully protest, but we're also not going to allow people to get out of line. And I think the people in our state know that.

And anybody that's coming from out of our state that doesn't realize that, they are in for a rude awakening. But I would just say that's why we cannot get distracted. I mean, you can have whatever opinion you want, whether these investigations or grand jury things that have been going on are politically motivated or not, or why have they taken so long in some instances.

But, regardless of that, that is not what we can focus on every day. I can't control what the judicial branch is doing or what a local prosecutor is doing in many ways, but what we can control is, is what we're focused on. And that's exactly what my message was to Republicans, and it's what we just finished doing in our legislative session that ended just a few weeks ago.

We sent a billion dollars back to the taxpayers. We did property tax relief of a billion dollars, helping people fight through Joe Biden's 40-year-high inflation. And we are continuing to fulfill our promises, another teacher pay raise and things of that nature.

So we are -- we have been focused on telling people what we're for and why they should vote for us.

TAPPER: All right, Republican Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia, thank you so much.

A belated congratulations on UGA, and thanks so much for joining us. Don't be a stranger.


KEMP: Go, Dawgs.

TAPPER: All right.

A top GOP donor says he's pausing his plans to support Governor Ron DeSantis, and Trump's fund-raising surges after his indictment. The state of the race when my panel joins me next.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We love you, Mike!


TRUMP: I hope you gave Pence a good, warm approval, because -- no, because he is a -- because he is a nice man, if you want to really know the truth. He is. He's a good man. And I heard it was very rough.



The audience at the NRA Convention Friday in Pence's home state of Indiana made their feelings on Pence clear, as the former vice president inches closest to -- inches -- inches closer to announcing a bid for the White House.

My panel joins me now.


Boos for Pence in Indiana, David.

DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's incredible. It really is.

It doesn't bode well for his candidacy, obviously. And it's kind of curious to who makes up the NRA these days, right? If you're booing Mike Pence, I'm not sure -- not sure who's acceptable.

TAPPER: Well, it's about the election, right? It's about because Pence did the right thing and upheld the Constitution. That's why they were booing.


It's not because of his position guns. I mean, Mike Pence is very clear where he stands on the Second Amendment and people having the right to bear arms. It's because "their guy" -- quote unquote -- Donald Trump, was not -- the election wasn't stolen for him.

URBAN: But this is an NRA Convention. This is an NRA Convention... TAPPER: Right. Right.


URBAN: ... not an election convention.


ALLISON: Yes. Yes. I know.

I'm saying, it's, like -- it's not because of his position on guns.

URBAN: Sure.

ALLISON: It's because they wanted him to steal the election for them.


ALLISON: And so it doesn't matter. It also is, like, then what value is the NRA if you aren't looking for candidates that really protect your policy positions?

URBAN: Well, that's my point, right?

TAPPER: Yes, you're agreeing.

What do you make of it all?


MIA LOVE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's really interesting. The booing sometimes doesn't mean that they're upset with you at the time. Sometimes, it's getting you to know, we're on you. You better do the right thing. It's a warning.

Sometimes, it's a warning shot that says, we're coming after you unless you are giving us everything we need.


And speaking of the NRA, I mean, the candidates were all out there talking about their position in line with the -- in line with the NRA. I know that you were a student at Marjorie Douglas Stoneman -- I'm sorry -- Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, obviously, before the shooting. What's your take on where we are as a nation when it comes to the issue of guns, Congressman?

REP. JARED MOSKOWITZ (D-FL): Well, I mean, look at the NRA Convention, all you heard, the solution to the problem is more guns. That's the only thing that they pivot to.

I mean, look, we have made a lot of progress in a lot of states. We haven't done enough. I was happy to see the governor of Tennessee actually come out and issue an executive order on background checks, tell his legislature that they should pass red flag laws. I mean, the fact that he was willing to do that is just another step forward. Look, in Florida, we passed red flag laws. We did that with a majority

of Republicans in the House, majority of Republicans in the Senate. Rick Scott, when he was governor, signed that bill. It's been used 9,000 times. People get due process.

TAPPER: What, the red flag laws?

MOSKOWITZ: The red flag laws.

Police officers and judges have confiscated weapons 9,000 times. Jake, what if we were only right in 1 percent of those cases? We have prevented 90 events. It's supported by Republican sheriffs all across the state of Florida. I think it's something that Congress has to look at.

TAPPER: It's interesting, though. When I had Congressman Byron Donalds on from Florida and I talked about this, and we, in fact, played a little clip from the sheriff, I think, of Polk County.

MOSKOWITZ: Polk County, Grady Judd.

TAPPER: Conservative Republican, says this works. And, also, by the way, it's not just mass shootings. It's suicides.

But there is still -- Byron Donalds, Congressman Donalds, still very opposed to...

URBAN: Yes, so, Byron is my congressman in Florida. I live in Florida. And props to Jared, where he was the leader in the legislature getting that red flag law through in Florida.

My sheriff in Lee County supports these red flag laws. And people don't understand, America, maybe they don't -- do understand, but most gun deaths in America, 54 percent of gun deaths in America are from suicide, right, suicide.

TAPPER: Right.

URBAN: So, the majority of gun deaths are from suicide. And these red flag laws do a great, great service in reducing those.

So I agree with Jared in this. And it should be a -- it should much more widely adopted and used. People aren't having their guns stolen in the middle of the night.

ALLISON: No, it's not...

URBAN: They get due process. They get a big hearing.

ALLISON: It's not a matter of lacking solutions. We know the things that we need to do in the country to prevent these mass shootings and the increased number in suicides.

It's a lack of political will. And it's not -- it's the fear of being booed as an NRA. But the reality is, is that being booed as an NRA doesn't mean that you cannot win. The majority of Americans support the solutions like a red flag law, like a background check.

It's just we need to find political leaders who will rise above -- they aren't booing Mike Pence because of his gun laws. That's what I was saying.

TAPPER: Right.

ALLISON: They're booing him because of a -- holding up his constitutional right.

So, if folks could just forget about the NRA for a second and really talk to the constituents that are going to elect them, I think we could get more done in this country.

TAPPER: You were in the Congress. What do you think?

LOVE: Well, I think she's right.

Forget everything else and then really vet the person that you are going to be voting for. There's too much of: I heard this. I heard this.

Most of that is not true. I mean, I -- this morning, I woke up to really creepy commercials already on the presidential candidacy.


LOVE: So, I just...


TAPPER: I think we have one of those.

URBAN: She doesn't like the pudding -- she doesn't like the pudding commercial.


TAPPER: Well, here it is.

This is from a pro-Trump super PAC. It's against Ron DeSantis, about whom there was a story several weeks ago about, supposedly, he ate pudding with his fingers or something. But, anyway, it's purportedly about DeSantis' position on entitlement programs. Take a look.



NARRATOR: DeSantis has his dirty fingers all over senior entitlements, like cutting Medicare, slashing Social Security, even raising our retirement age.

Tell Ron DeSantis to keep his pudding fingers off our money. Oh, and somebody get this man a spoon.


TAPPER: Is that the ad you were talking about?

LOVE: It's creepy.


TAPPER: I have to say...

URBAN: It's very effective. Look...

TAPPER: It's an effective ad.

URBAN: Look, it's very effective.

I don't know where it's run, how much money they put behind it, but we're talking about it on Sunday morning.

LOVE: It is creepy.

URBAN: And everyone else is as well. So, it is -- and, look, it makes a point.

It gets -- it gets it apart. You shouldn't be -- the Trump campaign is making a point here, whether it's correct or not, that DeSantis is meddling in things that he shouldn't be meddling in, right, like Social Security, entitlement programs, which is not real.

ALLISON: A six-week abortion ban, one could say.

URBAN: Yes. Well, that's your side, right?

We can't agree on everything.

TAPPER: But it is Donald Trump -- so Donald Trump running to the left of Ron DeSantis on these social safety net programs.

But every budget that Donald Trump introduced as president contained proposed cuts for Social Security and Medicare. And, in 2020, January 2020, he told CNBC entitlements would be on the table.


And I think that's been the case for Republicans for a very long time. It's why, when Joe Biden gave his State of the Union and people were saying, we never said that, you know, where are the receipts? We had video of people saying, Mitt Romney, a host of Republicans saying Social Security has always been on the table for Republicans, Medicaid, Medicare.

So I think, if the -- again, if the 2024 election is about programs that, again, the majority of American people will support, I mean, let's have that conversation.

TAPPER: So, you worked -- and you know Governor DeSantis. Is he taking too long to get in the race or to at least respond to these pudding fingers attacks and such?

MOSKOWITZ: Well, first of all, I was there for two-and-a-half years. I never saw pudding, period.

TAPPER: Spoon or not spoon?

MOSKOWITZ: Spoon or not spoon, never saw pudding, period.


MOSKOWITZ: There is a -- something going on in the Republican Party, and I -- with all due respect to my Republican colleagues, that they're missing it.

I don't care if it's Florida or Texas or another state. They're trying to get to the right of Donald Trump on policy. And now we hear the governor of Texas wants to pardon a murderer. You know, it's -- somehow, he's going to the right.

This is not a race about policy. This is a race about personality. That ad about pudding has nothing to do about the Social Security part. No one's focusing on that. They're focusing on the pudding. It's a personal attack. And so Ron should be running an ad with Donald Trump sitting on the toilet at 3:00 a.m. in the morning sending out tweets.

I mean, that's -- look, that's what is -- what works on that side of the aisle.

TAPPER: Look at Mia Love.


TAPPER: So, you just proposed a more -- you just proposed a more disgusting ad than pudding fingers.

LOVE: I know.

URBAN: She didn't like the pudding one.

LOVE: I just -- what is going on?


MOSKOWITZ: Listen, it's not -- it's not -- it isn't my primary. Look...


LOVE: I already have to watch and screen what my kids are watching.

I mean, I think the pudding -- and that would be really disturbing.

MOSKOWITZ: Look, it's going to get -- it's going to get worse. I promise, it's going to get worse. TAPPER: The point he -- I think the point the congressman's making

is, the baseline is pudding fingers. Get ready. You're going to have to really monitor what your kids are watching.

URBAN: The interesting thing is, I think -- we're going to see here is, Trump is kind of going to run as the more electable candidate in a general election.

He's trying to push these guys to the right: Look, DeSantis is so far to the right, he's going to mess with your entitlements.

I think that's what you're going to try to see. He's going to make the case that he is more electable than Ron DeSantis.

TAPPER: OK, next time you're here, a more disgusting ad than the one you just proposed.

MOSKOWITZ: No problem.

TAPPER: That's your -- that's your homework assignment.


TAPPER: Thanks, one and all, for...

LOVE: I remember -- I do have to say this. I remember, when I was in the Oval Office, and Trump was there, and he was on the phone, and he was talking to...

TAPPER: Uh-oh.

LOVE: Yes, well.

TAPPER: What...

LOVE: Oh, I would warn you if I was going to give you...




LOVE: No, but he just said: "No, those are my people. I'm not going to touch their -- I'm not going to touch Social Security."

TAPPER: Oh, yes.

LOVE: "They're my people. Those are my voters. I'm not going to touch Social Security" or -- it's -- so it's really interesting.

URBAN: He said it out loud.

LOVE: Because I think...


LOVE: Because I think that all of these candidates, they don't want to leave any daylight, so that they're not criticized later.

TAPPER: Very interesting.

LOVE: The same thing with the NRA. Same thing with that -- going to that convention. It's the same thing with the abortion bill.


Thanks, one and all, for being here. Appreciate it.

Coming up: an incredible chance meeting that brought President Biden to tears. Stay with us.



TAPPER: It was a homecoming of sorts for President Biden as he visited Ireland, the land of his ancestors, this week with his family.

He toured ancestral sites, meeting with a group of Irish cousins, and ending with a speech in front of a cathedral built with bricks sold by President Biden's great-great-great-grandfather.


BIDEN: I doubt he ever imagined that his great-great-great-grandson would return 200 years later as president of the United States of America.



TAPPER: Always on President Biden's mind, his elder son, Beau, who died in 2015 from brain cancer.

Throughout the trip, the president wore a Beau Biden Foundation camp. And on a tour of the Knock Shrine, a Catholic pilgrimage site, the president reconnected with the priest who gave Beau his last rites.


BIDEN: We also met out of the blue -- we didn't know he was there -- a former military chaplain, Father O'Grady, who gave my son the last rites in Walter Reed Medical Hospital in Washington. It was incredible to see him. It seemed like a sign.


TAPPER: That chance meeting that opportunity to talk about Beau with the priest who was there at the very end, that moved the president to tears.

And while that sad memory was being recalled, another political family was experiencing a different and more joyous milestone. Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley's daughter Rena said "I do" yesterday. She married Joshua Jackson, a former football player for Clemson University.


Ambassador Haley tweeted -- quote -- "As parents, you pray your children will find that special someone to go through life with. We couldn't be more excited for our daughter and future son."

Our best wishes to the Haley family.

And this is all a reminder, during this very divisive time in our country, that we all have a shared humanity. We're all people. Let's all take a moment to remember that. We all have tragedies. We all have joys. We all have good days and bad days, no matter our political affiliation, no matter our beliefs. Just something to keep in mind.

A harrowing journey for the chance that a better life. CNN is along for that journey -- next.


TAPPER: Tonight, join CNN's Nick Paton Walsh as he travels with a group of migrants on one of the most dangerous routes in the world.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: The football shirts are porters, each numbered, charging to carry bags, even children uphill.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Hey, my kings, my queens, whoever feels tired, I'm here.

WALSH: But it doesn't always work out.

Wilson is separated from his parents. That porter raced off ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): My name is Nick. Nice to meet you. You are here all by yourself? You're waiting for your parents? Where are they?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD (through translator): They are behind.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Are you going to America? Where are you going?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD (through translator): To Miami.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): To Miami. What do you like about Miami?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD (through translator): Daddy is going to build a swimming pool.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): He will build a pool for you?

What do you want to be when you grow up?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD (through translator): To work.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): What work?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD (through translator): Schoolwork. And my sister has chosen nurse.

WALSH: Nearly 1,000 unaccompanied children were found on the route last year, the U.N. have said.


TAPPER: "THE WHOLE STORY WITH ANDERSON COOPER," that premieres tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern only on CNN.

Thank you for spending your Sunday morning with us. Fareed Zakaria is next.

I will see you tomorrow on "THE LEAD."