tv Inside Politics With Abby Phillip CNN May 29, 2022 5:00am-6:00am PDT
tragedy in america again. >> oh, my baby. i miss you, my baby. >> reporter:. >> with 19 kids and two teachers dead, could police have saved lives by storming the school sooner? >> why was the decision not to go in. >> of course, it wasn't the right decision. it's a wrong decision. >> it's tragically the monumental bad decision in law enforce. i have witnessed. >> plus, democrats demand action on guns. republicans say they'll come to the table.
but will this time be any different? >> where in god's name is our backbone? >> expresident trump revenge tour to wyoming. >> the people of wyoming are going to tell her, liz, you're fired! >> but after big losses in georgia, is he dominated the gop like he once did? q. inside politics," the biggest stories sourced by the best reporters now. welcome to "inside politics sunday." i'm abby philip. this sunday, a grim portrait of the state of this nation. vice president horizon comforted a family, one of the ten black people killed in a massacre carried out by a white supreme sifted this month. and president biden as we speak is on his way to uvalde, texas, consoblg even more families marked by the scourge of gun
violence. 19 children and two teachers were killed in their elementary school classroom this weak. their families will be forever changed. but grief this morning is turning to fury. we are now learning that the police stood outside that classroom for nearly an hour, instead of confronting the gunman. >> like every other citizen in town, you know, we're thinking, hey, the police will do their job and get them out of there. after today hearing this information, it's like i guess i was wrong. had they gotten there sooner and somebody would have taken immediate action, we might have more of those children here today, including my daughter. >> cnn is in uvalde, texas, right now. adrian, what is the mood and reaction among these truly devastated families about what we have learned in the last several days? >> reporter: as we are stuck with the reaction, many of the
folks that i spoke with here in town say they were failed by members of law enforcement. they're upset. they're angry and disappointed. disappointed after hearing during that news conference earlier in the week that the site commander held those officers back. they were hoping after the -- after tuesday, they were hoping things would get better. but, instead, families say things got worse with each news conference. i spoke with teachers here yesterday at the vigil, which has grown from the first day. those crosses, 21 of them were placed behind me. if you look behind me, you can see there is so many flowers stacked high in front of the crosses. you can barely see the names of the victims and teachers we spoke with say they want those names remembered and they're asking why?
>> officers go through so much training for these types of things. but at the end of the day, we're the ones that will sacrifice our lives and those cops that were out there waiting, what were they waiting for? what really is the truth that happened? >> reporter: and that was the big question. why was the decision made to tell those officers to stay back and as president biden is expected to be here later and meet with all of the families, some say they welcome the president. but at the end of the day, they want action and they want him to take action if congress doesn't. abby. >> adrian, thank you. and as police were admitting their officers failed to stop the gunman in time, the nra was holding its annual convention 280 miles away in houston. a tough republican political figures in attendance insist hardening schools is the answer. >> no one should ever be able to
get anywhere near a classroom until they have been checked, scanned, screened and fully approved. classroom doors should be hardened to make them lockable from the inside and closed to intruders from the outside. what stops armed bad guys is armed good guys. >> and joining me now with their reporting inside jonathan martin we "new york times", verne lopez, politico, cnn's lauren fox and cnn's phil mattingly. at the nra this weekend, you heard trump, you heard cruz, trump talking about doors. that is how doors work. they lock on the inside and they let people from the outside not come in. but everything but talking about the guns. that is the one thing after all this time that has not changed. >> yeah.
it wouldn't surprise me trump and cruz wouldn't be for gun control. i think it's the possibility of having something done in congress, which i think is also not likely. i think he's more possible than he has been in previous years. in part, because i think democrats are willing to do an incremental bill, abbey, and something that's not going to be ambitious that could potentially find ten republicans. i'm not saying it's going to happen. it's more in play than it has been for years. >> yeah, i think the contours of the discussion we'll talk about that a little later on capitol hill, it will be really important. as we look back at what we have learned this week, the school in uvalde was in a lot of ways prepared for this kind of scenario. they had held active shooter trainings just two months ago, the police department. the school district actually had its own police force. they received about 70,000 state grants for enhanced security. teachers had been instructed to
keep the doors closed. we know the gunman entered through a propped door on the day parent had been coming in and out of the school for assembly. the guidelines instructed police to take the shooter out. we know that that didn't happen. as we are learning more, i think one of the things that sends to stymie doing something is everybody on all sides of this saying, that's not going to work. that's not going to work. it feels like we are headed in that direction. too. >> you are starting to see that in the days after the shootings. we were getting more information, senator john cornyn actually said to me on thursday morning when he got back from texas that one of his concerns was whether or not the police had waited too long to breach that classroom. we now know given that news conference on friday, that's exactly who had happened. his argument was this was not the protocol police were supposed to follow. expect a lot of republicans to start echoing that line. while it is true, we are also not having the larger discussion
then. because we are focused on security at schools about guns and background checks, about what other policies may help in this situation. but may help in future situations as well, abby. >> we know there will be another mass shooting. >> the common denominator across buffalo, texas, automatic mass shootings we've seen increase in recent years are done. and theules of assault-style weapon guns but i want to go back to -- >> it's what people do right? sick people do right? >> right, it's not just the case. you can't just blame mental health in all the cases. >> there is a sickness out there, too, that causes people to do that. >> the rise in domestic extremism. guns are the common denominator. you played the clip of ted cruz, senator cruz who said that good guys with guns stop bad guys with guns. there were 19 good guys standing outside of the classroom, which is what we have discovered since. there were about 19 officer
standing outside for about an hour. they went against all of their training and decided not to go in. even though that training that they had received just what two months earlier said even if you are a single officer, time is of the essence. those documents show you are supposed to immediately go in. >> right. yeah. i think that will become an important factor in the discussions to come. we also saw outside the nra this weekend, just a massive amount of anti-gun activism bubbling up yet again. this is a familiar process for this country. a mass shooting happens, there is outrage, there is anger. what is the impact of all of this? does it matter? >> i try not to be cynic am. my short answer based on experience and especially having covered sandy hook there closely in the wake of that, is it probably won't matter. however, it only takes one time for something to be different. i actually think to your point,
a good guy with a gun, versus a bad guy with a gun. that fallacy being exposed in this process allows for a different conversation at this point in time. to your point on capitol hill, senator chris murphy, they talk about this, his willingness to, i am willing to talk about everything. it doesn't need to be comprehensive, the fact that people are not asking for everything. are not standing there saying, this is going to be a panacea. they know there is not one singular answer to everything. one thing that struck me is talking about background checks, dismissive of them talking about automatic different events that transpired. they haven't worked. he mentioned sulfur springs. sulfur springs wled to a legislative change driven by senator john cornyn, a texas republican. there was a legislative change that addressed that issue that governor abbott used to dismiss background checks. they may not be a panacea or address what happened in uvalde.
my question right now as we try to figure tout political dynamics on groups on both side. is this time going to be the moment to do something because something matters. it may not solve the specific situation in uvalde or soond hook and may prevent something. >> then governor rick scott signed after the parkland shooting in florida as well, this idea that nothing ever happens isn't totally true on the state level at least. now the question is, can something happen on the federal level? >> everything should be on the table. that means everything, including an 18-year-old being able to walk out on his 18th birthday and buy two high powered guns and hundreds and hundreds of round of ammunition. i do want to raids this comment that vice president kamala harris made as she was coming from buffalo. take a listen to what she said. >> let's have an assault weapons ban. you know what an assault weapon is?
you know how an assault weapon was designed? it was designed for a specific purpose. to kill a lot of human beings quickly. an assault weapon is a weapon of war with no place, no place in a civil society. >> a lot of democrats feel that way. she's expressing what a lot of democrats feel. but it is not -- that is not on the table, as we all know. what's interesting, though, to me is i think people forget, the assault weapons ban annual happened in the context of a crime bill that today democrats would never even consider. >> right. >> so something like that is not possible without a lot of compromises i think wouldn't be on the table. but what itself the impact of her saying in? >> i definitely think when you talk to democrats on capitol hill they will quickly dismiss the assault ban they can bring up on small scale negotiations you will see on capitol hill. i think her saying it is something that a lot of
democrats, like you said, agree w. it's something that they feel passionately about. it's something they feel is a common denominator in a lot of these huge tragic shootings, but they also know they can't just start talking about it, because it closes the door to so many of those more incremental changes if they hope they can get across. >> also something the vice president often talks about is when she used to be on the hill, she would tell lawmakers, i wish you would look at autopsy reports of assault-style weapons were used in shootings. this is something she frequently returns to, she wants people to return to the impact. >> coming up next for us, though. it took more than an hour for police to xoort that gunman. what went wrong in uvalde?
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78 minutes. that's how long the gunman was inside uvalde elementary school before police confronted him. >> what efforts were officers making to continue a break through, through that door or another door dead inside that classroom? >> none at that time. >> reporter: why was this decision made not to go in and rescue these children? >> again, the commander card barricaded subject and at the time there were no more children at risk. of course, it was not the right decision. it was the wrong decision. >> a devastating acknowledgement, joining me now is commissioner ramsay. what went through your mind when you went through that exchange? >> he is trying to justify, there is no justification for
what took place. everything was long, there is no way you don't make entry and confront the gunman, kids have been wounded. people need to understand the devastating injuries that many of those kids sustained, there is no doubt some of those children bled to death making entry. there is no question in my mind. you cannot justify 19 cops. boy, that's one cop for every child. they didn't make entry? it does point to why the first officers were so evasive. they knew what they screwed up. they were trying to cover their tracks. >> it adds insult to injury. the time that goes by, in that time, 911 call after 911 call
from children happening for a good half an hour to 45 minutes before police officers finally went in. chief ramsay, i want to point out, earlier, senator john cornyn who is actually involved in gun products, he pointed oit out finger pointing is destructionive, distracting and unfair. they require split second decisions, easy to criticize with 20/20 hindsight. what is your reaction to that? >> last time i checked 78 seconds isn't a split second. that's a long time. i understand where he is coming from. but if we do not take a look and learn from it, how do we improve? we learn from columbine and parkland from all cheese cases
including this one i would argue this doesn't stop with the incident commander. i have been in a lot of cities. one of the first things when you have a major city like this, you contact your bosses, you would make phone calls, a heads up, this is what you got why did they not challenge when police were making entry? >> i do want to ask you about that. we heard some officers in uvalde saying, well, they could have been shot. we know the shooter had in his possession an assault-style weapon that is very lethal. the amount factored into the decision not to go into that room as soon as possible? >> of course, it's ricky. cops do risk their lives.
what about those children? when you look at the footage those officers had long guns. they were holding the crowd back. you can see the guns right there. you make the decisions. you go in. is it ricky? absolutely, it's ricky. you make a tactical decision. this is on the first floor. have you windows there, something to distract the gunman while someone is coming through the door. is it ricky? yeah, you got 19 children who have died as a result of that. what chance did they have at the time? that's a part of the business it's a part of the job. to say you didn't go in because you might get shot. no i'm sorry. if you don't have the nerve to do what you need to do, you should find another occupation. >> in the guidelines it says if you are not willing to put your life on the line, lots of questions right there. thank you so much, commissioner
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killing fields. we will be engaged in bipartisan conversations to try to find a path forward to make our schools safer and our goal and our hope and belief is we can find that common ground. >> it's not an exaggeration to say, there is a bit of believe it when i see it kind of feeling in washington about this effort. but nonetheless, what is different, it seems the time is that especially on the democratic side, a willingness to say we can take whatever we can get on this issue. as a result, they're discussing perhaps incentives for gun shows, private sales, lengthening the background waiting period, mental health funding. is that progress? >> i think that one of the things that viewers back home should know, this is not new ground. they had worked in these
negotiations for months. murphy was meging leader step to give him more time. he views this moment and clearly views it as an opportunity to go back to the negotiating table. perhaps republicans will be willing to give up more as well given what happened. it's significant mitch mcconnell told me he issed him for negotiations. he doesn't talk about what he is asking members to do. b, mcconnell often doesn't engage in a public way about what he wants his members to do. the fact that he is giving his blessing there i think does make this a different moment. >> i am skeptical.
>> we should be clear, mcconnell has been one of the steadfast opponents of anything that resembles gun control. i think a lot of democrats wonder, is this a head fake? >> the main thing i heard with mcconnell giving his blessing. what's his angle here? is he trying to give a blessing publicly, knowing this isn't going anywhere? or does he want his members to engage? it is the level of kind of absurdity that we are talking about democrats are willing to give just about everything when democrats have given nothing on this issue, it kind of catches you a little bit. it underscores the moment, one thing people need to recognize, having come to this issue for a long time, laura and jonathan is, this isn't an nra thing when it comes to republicans. when you talk to republican
members, it's not what the nra says. it's about the members, the constituents. oftentimes democrats misplace. the members vote. it's not what the nra donates. republicans react as we have seen with the former president to where their constituents are. if the phone calls to their offices start to change. that's where dynamics shift. >> we will have a lot more on that very point later on in the show. laura, what is the white house' place on this? president biden is heading to uvalde right now. do they feel there is nothing they can do? and what else president biden as the person once again in this moment another elementary school shooting. >> right now, presidentb is giving congress and lawmakers space. he is not, the white house is not trying to get involved in the negotiations that are happening right now in the senate or in the house and some
you know gun safety advocates think that that's not wise. they would like to see him get more involved in the negotiations, but biden in the past, to your point, has been involved in these when he was vice president under obama. he got involved after the sandy hook shooting again of the killing of some 20 children who were 6 and 7-year-olds and the walks went nowhere. so the president has been there then. he was involved in the assault weapons ban in 1984. this time around, what people are looking to him on are potentially executive action. they want to see him not necessarily wait for congress. although it looks like the white house will see if congress talks go anywhere before he takes executive actions. a lot of gun safety groups, the police told me yesterday, they would like to talk to him, what the gun safety groups want is him to declare an actual emergency.
they want him to appoint someone who would totally oversee the gun violence epidemic. to date, they have been asking for it for a year now. to date they are not going to be taking that. >> one of the current themes is his concern about restoring america in the eyes of this world. he talks about this all the time. america has to show the world that our democracy can still work here after trump. i think this applies to the gun issue in the book that alex burns, he says we have to show the world that we can keep our people safe here in america. because biden is consumed with this. this idea we're in this moment of democracy versus autocracy, at every level, infrastructure, gun control, yes, american democracy afternoon democracy,
itself, can still function in today's world. >> the decision by the president on his way back from his trip to asia to hold prime time public remarks in the roosevelt room was notable. it underscored urgency in his eyes. as he was crafting his speech, when he was coming back on air force one, he kept thinking about the countries he was coming from, the leaders he met with. the fact that this simply doesn't happen anywhere else in the world. why is that? i think putting that into kind of review here. why this happens here and no one else is an effective way to urge people to address this problem. he hit on that, that's what we will talk to him more. >> that speech you saw someone who has been bookending this conversation he's seen it all.
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address one of the root causes of aging with tru niagen. search tru niagen to learn more. former president trump's revenge tour hit a snag next week. nearly all lost badly. he is hoping for a different results and he was there to campaign against his number 1 republican foe liz cheney. >> reneed you to vote that crazy rhino, that's what she has become beyond anybody's expectation, out of office. we got to get her out of office. >> chaepeney says she is not backing down. >> there are some things you can count on. when i know something is wrong, i will say so. i won't waiver or back down.
i won't surrender to pressure or intimidation. i know where to draw the line and i know that some things aren't for sale. that's the code of the west and that's what wyoming voters deserve and expect. >> there's not a whole lot of people better known than liz cheney. yet, she is facing a really tough situation politically. is there any lesson she can learn from another target of trump's brian kemp in georgia who won by a landslide about how to handle this moment? >> you know i think it's a general apples and oranges to some degree in the sense that one wyoming is a different state than the republican primary and two kemp was a governor who had very, very real record of conservative results, one of the better campaign teams in the state of illinois i've seen in a very long time. i think trump's voice there, particularly in the wake of the runoffs was a little in question.
wyoming is very different, 70% trump approval rating. the entire leadership in the house is behind liz cheney's opponent. one thing that is interesting here. that i've heard, one, the wyoming party is not necessarily the representative of the republicans in the states. a number have gone up further right. two, in the state, you can change the registration up to the day of the primary. when you talk to cheney folks, they're looking at expanding the electorate. she's got six times the money her challenger does. it's a tough crime. >> well, unlike brian kemp. she did swallow her tongue. brian kemp has gone silent, the mitch mcconnell approach to trump. don't say anything at all and just you know stockpile money and govern as sort of conservative and hope that trump doesn't have organizational to have to drive you out of office, which was a pretty good bet. cheney has taken a very
different approach, openly confronting trump at every turn and sort of engaging in the fight in a way that a lot of the people trump is targeting just don't engage the fight. >> that's only going to intensify in the month of june. she is one of the only republicans sitting on that committee who is going to be going out and making a case over and over again against donald trump. so it is a very, very, to me, apples and oranges assess. between georgia and wyoming. >> to phil's point about her trying to attend the electorate or not. what i have been seeing mid-term voting focus groups. a lot of them mention liz cheney without even being prompted. they will say they like the way that she has talked about the threat to democracy, that they wish that democrats, including biden, would actually borrow some of her language so that will be interesting to see, not just in her primary and whether
or not she is able to stay into the house also in the future of 2024, even in liz cheney loses her seat. she will not go anywhere silently into the nate. >> i think there is a big question of what happens with trump's endorsements, some have won. some have lost. i do want to take a moment to reflect on another sort of political dynasty that may have died out this past week. the bush legacy. there is no bush running for office. no bush in office. george p. bush losing badly to texas attorney general ken paxton. this is kind of an end of an era-type of situation here. >> yeah. >> maybe affect. ing everybody in office for the first time in decades. gorge p. bush made a bet he can accommodate trumpism and trump, himself. he went so far to create -- draw a picture of himself on a
coozie. it didn't work. trump endorsed ken paxton stirring george w. bush. now george p. bush has no efforts to show for his efforts to stroke trump. it's a bush party, yes, even in texas. >> i should say at the rally in wyoming yesterday, there was a composite image of liz cheney and george bush, just to tell you that crowd, they are an anti-cheney crowd and an anti-bush. >> they got some boos. >> yes. >> a lot more tears. >> look. we were talking during the break how the kind of make-up of the parties in congress has shifted so dramatically. just in the 10/15 years we have been here so on and so forth. there is probably no better way to look at that in the republican party than george w. bush. the political class loved him, the elites loved him until 2006.
how that has done a total 180 over the course of the last decade. >> really, it's because of trump. all of this is because of the power. >> it's accelerated. >> the populists, what started before. >> how can you be in l.a. and santorum capitalized. >> absolutely. coming up next, democrats are blaming the nra for stalling gun safety laws. has the group, itself, become a paper tiger? as a musician living with diabetes, fingersticks canan be a real challenge. that's why i use the freeststyle libre 2 syste. with a painless, one-second scan i know my glucose numberers without fingersticks. now i'm managing my diabetes better and i've lowered my a1c from 8.2 to 6.7. take the mystery out of managing your diabetes and lower your a1c. now you know. try it for free at freestylelibre.us
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getting guns off our streets. one democrat's determined to get it done. attorney general rob bonta knows safer streets start with smarter gun control. and bonta says we must ban assault weapons. but eric early, a trump republican who goes too far defending the nra and would loosen laws on ammunition and gun sales. because for him, protecting the second amendment is everything. eric early. too extreme, too conservative for california.
are you a christian author with a book that you're ready to share with the world? get published now, call for your free publisher kit today! three days after the schoolhouse massacre in south texas, the nra still went ahead with its annual convention a few hundred miles away in houston. >> let me tell you the truth about the enemies of the second amendment. they are schooled in the ways of
marx and lenin. they play the long game. >> we all know they want total gun confiscation. this would be a first step, once they get the first step, they'll take the second step, the third, the fourth. >> the nra itself has been hobbled by financial and legal problems in recent years but the pro-gun movement has never before been this powerful. frank smyte is the author of "the nra: an unauthorized history" and joins us now. this cycle alone, the permanence of a pro-gun message is everywhere. if you take a listen to some of the ads like this. >> but our second amendment is not just about hunting. it's about our constitutional right to protect ourselves from intruders or an overly intrusive government. >> lipstick, an iphone or maybe
a little smith and wesson .38. >> if a criminal comes after my daughter. >> it's the last thing he does. >> mom's still a better shot. >> this is a gun culture, frank. is this really still about the nra? >> i think this is -- it's gone beyond the nra. the nra is responsible for cooking up an ideology. an ideology that maintains gun ownership or gun regulation are fundamentally incompatible. but the nra may be dying in our rearview mirror. but the ideology they have created is stronger than ever. it's rooted in fear, spread largely by the gun lobby, spread by the nra. fear you could be attacked by a criminal on the street on or in your home and you need a weapon to defend yourself and fear that if we have any gun control, like better background checks, that might lead eventually to gun
registration, to registering your weapons. that opens the door to tyranny and some kind of totalitarian takeover and ultimately genocide. that may sound hyperbolic, and it is, but that is what the nra and the gun lobby have been cooking up and what people that go to nra conventions and pro-gun people across the united states now believe. that they have to oppose even the slightest background -- improvement in gun reform, background checks or -- because that will lead to a tie ran cal takeover and genocide. >> it's been ten years since the sandy hook killings in another elementary school. the parkland shootings happened. in that time, it seems the right and the pro-gun wing of the political class, they've become less likely to support gun regulations. what do you think has happened in that time? >> well, the first thing that's happened is the rise of
president trump. trumpism, which seems like it could outlast trump now, is rooted in gun rights. it's also increased acceptance of white nationalist ideas within the republican party and within the conservative body political. those white nationalist ideas are integrated with gun rights in a way that it's as powerful for that group as a pro-life or abortion is. this is what is stopping gun control. and it's based on myths and fantasies. fantasies like the idea that the early nra helped armed freed slaves. this is completely cooked up bit nra. or the one that is even more pernicious in terms of its impact, they falsely claim the holocaust was enabled by gun control. nothing could be further from the truth. but josh hawley last year raised in the senate hearing, and nobody noticed and no democrats objected, he raised the idea that, well, background checks
wouldn't work without gun registration. therefore, we have to oppose background checks because they would inevitably lead to gun registration. we all know that's a slippery slope to genocide. last month ted cruz introduced a resolution claiming -- wishing to oppose the biden administration's administration at crackdown on ghost guns claiming the biden administration plans to register gun parts would, again, be the step towards gun registration on the slippery slope to genocide. what's causing the reality of these tragedies is a fantasy. >> one interesting part about all of this is since 1990, the nra's, you know, contributions to politicians have gone from being 65% to republicans and 36% to democrats to being 100% to republicans. you talked about the integration of gun culture into republican politics. what do you think is the future, frank, quickly before we go, the future of the nra as an
organization? >> i think the nra is an organization that's going to be firmly embedded into the republican party. remember, the nra never spoke at any major party's convention until 2016 in cleveland at the same rnc that nominated trump. the nra and the republican party are now walking in lockstep. but the nra itself is weak and divided and may not survive, but other groups, gun owners of america, hunter nation, a new organization, now whose face is ted nugent, they'll pick up the slack. the nra will die tomorrow but their ideology will live on. >> and those groups are in some ways even further to the right or what have you than the nra itself. frank, thank you so much for being with us. thanks for your expertise on this issue. and that's it for "inside politics sunday." don't forget, you can listen to our podcast. download "inside politics" wherever you get your podcast and scan the qr code at the
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fear and anger. a town grieves 21 lives cut short and reels from news of the delay in trying to save them. >> of course it was not the right decision. it was the wrong decision, period. >> how did things go so wrong? texas state senator roland gutierrez will be here. will anything change? president biden making another somber visit as bipartisan leaders say, again, this time is different, but will congress act? >> as our kids run for their lives, we do nothing. what are we doing? >> senate majority whip dick durbin on the latest negotiations and two republican congressmen with different approaches. dan crenshaw of texas and adam kinz