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Trump on Divided America; Trump Introduces Gen. James Mattis; Trump to Make Secretary of State Announcement Next Week; Veteran Remembers the Pearl Harbor Attack; Aspiring Singer Finds Herself After Intersex Diagnosis; Mother of Warehouse Fire Victim Speaks Out. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired December 7, 2016 - 08:30   ET


[08:30:00] DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: He seems to want to bring the country together. Listen, we've just gotten a new poll out this morning, Bloomberg showing what our poll showed a couple of weeks ago, he's getting a post-election bounce. But when compared historically to his predecessors, he's still far below because of the divisiveness. He sees that as something he needs to fix. Last night he said, you know, the numbers, the poll numbers are great, and he caught himself. He's like, we're not talking about the numbers anymore. We're unifying. Reminding himself that this is something he really wants to do because I think he knows, getting this thing kicked off on the right foot is largely dependent on whether or not he remains a really divisive figure or is able to heal some of that rift.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: I don't know. I mean that it's hard to -- let's just be honest, it's hard to accept the moniker of uniter after this campaign.

CHALIAN: Totally.

CAMEROTA: There needs to be some personal responsibility. There was violence. There is still hate crimes spiking because of rhetoric, et cetera. We can't erase that.

CHALIAN: Totally, Alisyn. He's never going to be a --

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: But who's going to become the moniker of uniter?

CAMEROTA: Himself.

CUOMO: Himself. Yes, but I'm saying --

CHALIAN: Well, he --

CAMEROTA: That's my point. But (INAUDIBLE) has to buy it into.

CHALIAN: But I -- yes, but I don't -- so, right, nobody will ever buy into that. He's never going to be the Kumbaya president. He -- there's too much damage done. It's like, you burn a bridge enough, you can't cross back over it. In terms of, yes, he's not going to be called the great uniter, but I do think noting and watching him try to see this as a challenge and starting portray himself, trying to halt his language, even when the press started getting booed at his rally last night in Fayetteville, he started tamping that down a little bit.

CAMEROTA: OK. That's a good sign.

CHALIAN: I think he is -- he is trying to deal with the fact that he knows he's elected now and does have to be the president of all Americans, even though I think you're right, it's going to be very, very hard to heal the damage.

CUOMO: He knows that he won with one of the smallest percentages of the popular vote ever.

CAMEROTA: No, he didn't win with the popular vote.

CUOMO: No, I'm saying he won the election, the Electoral College, OK, right?


CUOMO: He won. He's president of the United States.

CAMEROTA: Absolutely.

CUOMO: But he won with one of the smallest percentages of the popular vote in American history.


CUOMO: Does it make sense now?

CAMEROTA: Yes. I mean even if you didn't --

CHALIAN: Yes. He didn't get to 47 percent. He's at 46.

CAMEROTA: Even if Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, I mean looking at this (INAUDIBLE) --

CUOMO: No, but I'm saying he won, right, and I think it's a meaningful distinction because to a lot of people the distinction you're drawing now is, she didn't win. She lost. Our system is the Electoral College. He won with --

CAMEROTA: Understood, but you're talking about the popular vote.

CUOMO: With -- yes, because that's not what decides this. It's an indirect election. What I'm saying is --


CHALIAN: But with a big popular vote deficit. A significant (INAUDIBLE).

CUOMO: Right. But he --


CUOMO: And he knows that. What works in his favor is the idea that, well, he didn't win. The media's got to be careful about that because it hurts your integrity.

CHALIAN: Clearly.

CUOMO: But the --

CAMEROTA: That's not what we're saying.

CUOMO: You should never say that. But the idea that he won with that small percentage is hampering him. The question is, what can he bring himself to do about it? That takes us to his cabinet picks because that's one of the things he can do, be impressive with his picks. Mattis, he wanted to be next to him yesterday. Tell us why and how big is secretary of state next week? Donald Trump said this morning, you'll know who secretary of state is, the pick, next week.

CHALIAN: I think it's huge. He wanted to be next to Mattis because he's proud of that pick. He likes that somebody with those kinds of credentials is willing to join his team and allow him to be his boss. That he -- and everything else was press release. This was him really wanting to show that he's going to be able to run the national security of the country that this general buys into that notion. That's one. Secretary of state, huge. What did he do this morning on the show, he brought up Rex Tillerson, the CEO of Exxon, as a name up here (ph).

CUOMO: We'll need to learn more about him because he's a stronger choice than if you'd never heard his name before.

CHALIAN: Yes. Extensive global relationships, also with Vladimir Putin from his (INAUDIBLE) days.

CUOMO: Democrat ties as well.

CHALIAN: Democrat ties as well, no doubt. And -- but a -- but a strong conservative. Yet on climate change, has been working with Democrats, there's no doubt. But Mitt Romney is not out of the running. He said very clearly today that Mitt Romney is still very much in the running and he said, we've really come a long way in our relationship.

CUOMO: No mention of Rudy.

CHALIAN: No mention of Rudy Giuliani. No mention of (INAUDIBLE) --

CAMEROTA: I wonder if it's (ph) decided in the next week.

CHALIAN: I bet it will be decided in the next week. I think he wants that -- that third leg of that stool. He's got his national security adviser, his defense secretary. I think he wants to get that in there.

CAMEROTA: David, thank you. CHALIAN: Sure. Thank you, guys.

CAMEROTA: FDR called it a date which will live in infamy. Seventy-five years after the attack on Pearl Harbor, a survivor looks back.


[08:37:44] CUOMO: Flag are rightly at half-staff this morning at the White House to mark 75 years since the attack on Pearl Harbor. There's a ceremony planned at the site in Hawaii today honoring the 2,400 Americans killed when the Japanese ambushed the U.S. Navy's Pacific Fleet. Now we have a survivor who is opening up about that day, a truly somber day in U.S. history. CNN's Kyung Lah has his story.


KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ask B.C. Wilborn the secret to living to age 95 in good health, he'll say love of a vibrant hobby like horse racing and a lot of experience in surviving.

LAH (on camera): Do you think, I'm a war hero?

B. C. WILBORN, WWII VETERAN: Oh, no, no, gosh, you know, say just the opposite. You think what you could have done or didn't do or --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Japanese have attacked Pearl Harbor.

LAH (voice-over): Seventy-five years ago, Wilborn stood aboard the USS Maryland as the Japanese launched an early morning attack on Pearl Harbor. Wilborn, just a 20-year-old first class petty officer in the Navy.

LAH (on camera): What did it feel like to be in the middle of that?

WILBORN: I didn't have no fair (ph) because I see everything that was happening and it just seemed like a -- unreal.

LAH (voice-over): Daughter Edie and her husband Ron (ph).

EDIE STANTON, WILBORN'S DAUGHTER: They paid a big price for us to be free.

LAH (on camera): How old are you here?

WILBORN: I was 24, 25.

LAH (voice-over): They had pictures of saw their father's Purple Heart, but Wilborn never talked about World War II, until, for reasons no one can explain, a few years ago --

LAH (on camera): Just started talking.

RON STANTON, WILBORN'S SON-IN-LAW: Just started talking. And, sad to say, I didn't have a tape recorder to get it.

LAH (voice-over): And he hasn't stopped talking. Wilborn sharing horrors, the men he couldn't save aboard the capsized USS Oklahoma.

WILBORN: You could hear the tapping on the wall, people in there I guess thinking that we're going to get rescued. After about two days maybe in the third day, it stopped. There was no more.

LAH: More than 400 men died on the Oklahoma.

LAH (on camera): Seventy-five years later, you can still recall that sound?

WILBORN: Oh, gosh, yes. And I thought it was about the saddest thing I saw in the Navy cause -- I don't know why, you seem so helpless.

[08:40:07] LAH (voice-over): Unlike many survivors, Wilborn never went back to Pearl Harbor. That's changing this year, 75 years later, he's returning for the first time since that day of infamy.

LAH (on camera): What changed? Why did you start thinking about it?

WILBORN: It was a sad day and -- but -- I don't know. You try to get it out of your mind and then it don't go.

LAH (voice-over): So this survivor faces one last battle of his own memories.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Collinsville, Illinois.


CAMEROTA: Wow, what a great story there.

All right --

CUOMO: Finally going back. That will be some moment.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh.

Still ahead, we continue to learn more about the people lost in that horrible Oakland warehouse fire. We will speak to a mother who lost her only son, a young father of twins.

CUOMO: But first, Alex Jenkinson is pursuing her dream as a singer. But before she became an artist, she struggled with her identity as a woman. CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta has her story in this "Turning Points."


SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Alex Jenkinson is an aspiring pop singer, but when she was born, doctors checked male on her birth certificate. Despite having some masculine traits, she was not a boy.

ALEX JENKINSON: I was like diagnosed when I was about four. It was partial androgen insensitivity syndrome. GUPTA: It's one of many conditions classified as intersex, when a

person's sexual organs do not physically fit the typical definition of male or female.

JENKINSON: My parents raised me as just a person.

GUPTA: As a teen, Alex struggled with her identity and was bullied in school.

JENKINSON: In 2011, I believe, I attempted to take my own life. For so long, you know, I carried the words that people were saying to me. Kind of blaming myself, feeling like I wasn't worth anything.

GUPTA: Alex was treated for anxiety and depression and slowly began to embrace her true self. She took steps to overcome her physical insecurities.

JENKINSON: I went through facial feminization surgeries and just -- a breast augmentation. But then I finally felt alive for the first time.

GUPTA: Now she's pursuing her dream as a singer under the name Ali J (ph).

She's releasing her debut album early next year and hopes to inspire others through her music.

JENKINSON: I want to share my story just to, you know, showcasing that we all have differences. Loving who you are through that, it's just so important.



[08:46:45] CAMEROTA: As the criminal investigation into that deadly warehouse fire in Oakland, California, continues, the enormity of the loss is coming into focus. Our next guest lost her 36-year-old son Alex, along with his fiance, Hannah. They were attending a late night party when the fire broke out.

Joining us is Emille Grandchamps, Alex's mother.

Those are beautiful pictures, Emily, that you've shared of your son.


CAMEROTA: This is just -- we're so sorry for your loss. This is devastating on so many levels because Alex and his fiance Hannah were killed. What can you tell us about the -- your -- the couple?

GRANDCHAMPS: They were a beautiful couple. They were very much in love. And they were planning a future. Hannah just got here not that long ago.

CAMEROTA: From Finland?

GRANDCHAMPS: From Finland.

CAMEROTA: And so she was visiting him when this happened?

GRANDCHAMPS: She was -- they were coming to plan their future. She wasn't just visiting. He was working for the supreme court of California and she had her business in Finland. And they met on a set to -- working together. So -- and they -- they had a relationship, a long distance relationship, for a long -- for almost a year. And then she -- they decided, after I met her, he met her parents, that it was a go. So she left everything and came here to be with him until his contract was over and then they -- he planned to move to Finland and -- and work there.

CAMEROTA: Move there.

GRANDCHAMPS: He had a -- he had a lot of things waiting for him.

CAMEROTA: It sounds like it. And he also is the father of twin four- year-olds.

GRANDCHAMPS: My granddaughters, yes.

CAMEROTA: Your granddaughters.

GRANDCHAMPS: Lucy (ph) and Alex (ph).

CAMEROTA: Have you told them about the tragedy?

GRANDCHAMPS: Their mother -- we're working on it. They -- today. We're working on it today. It's a very difficult process. They're only four. And their father was already away from them. And a lot of communication was done through FaceTime. And if they had a nightmare, they could call him. Now, we're going to have to tell them, you can't call him.

CAMEROTA: Right. It's so hard. I mean they are only four. So I don't even know where you begin today to break that news to them.

GRANDCHAMPS: You pray. You pray. You pray.

CAMEROTA: Who do you hold responsible for this tragedy?

GRANDCHAMPS: I hold the manager. I hold the business owners. I certainly hold the city. I don't think they did their job thoroughly. Everybody that's involved in making the artists, the most beautiful people in the world, without them, life wouldn't even be pleasant.

CAMEROTA: Because this was an artist's community --


CAMEROTA: That was living in there. As you know, the manager of the building, he has been trying to explain himself. People have been holding him responsible once it was learned that the proper permits were not gotten for this to be a residential building.

[08:50:02] GRANDCHAMPS: Right.

CAMEROTA: And that there was overcrowding. So let me play for you the response that he gave yesterday.


CAMEROTA: Listen to this.


DEREK ALMENA, OAKLAND WAREHOUSE MANAGER: Am I the man who should be held accountable? Did I build something that -- with the -- with the -- what am I going to say to that? Should I be held accountable? I can barely stand here right now. Say -- I'm only here to say one thing, that I am incredibly sorry. And that everything that I did was to make this a stronger, more beautiful community and to bring people together. People didn't walk through those doors because it was a horrible place. People didn't seek us out to perform and express themselves because it was a horrible place.


CAMEROTA: Now, he didn't live there. Should he be held responsible?

GRANDCHAMPS: Of course. He knew. Who doesn't know? He's not a child.

CAMEROTA: What did he know?

GRANDCHAMPS: He knew the place was not safe. He didn't live there. Why didn't he live there? It wasn't safe. It was -- the artists already are broke. They were paying a lot of money for absolutely nothing. It's not today. It's not yesterday. It's been going on.

CAMEROTA: Was your son worried about the conditions there? Did he ever express that?

GRANDCHAMPS: My son is a very intelligent man. My son has a future. My son didn't go there to die with his fiance. He's not suicidal. My son did not know. My son only went to support his artist community, like he has always done.


GRANDCHAMPS: And he would not take his fiance or himself there. He has daughters.

CAMEROTA: Right. And he wasn't living there, I should be clear.

GRANDCHAMPS: No, he was not.

CAMEROTA: He went there for the party. A lot of people went there for the party. This was a party venue where people would go. Some people were living there and they did sometimes express to that manager that they were worried that the conditions were getting out of hand and that they could be dangerous.


CAMEROTA: And -- but I know that you were saying that it's outrageous how the -- how the manager is responding. What can he do?

GRANDCHAMPS: At this point, I don't know. Make amends and take responsibility. You're wrong. That's a big responsibility. Whatever happened happens.

CAMEROTA: Emille, we're so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing these pictures and this story -- this personal story about your son with us. We are praying for you.

GRANDCHAMPS: You can't believe -- you can't imagine the loss. You can't imagine the loss. Alex's father's totally, totally devastated. He can't even come out.

CAMEROTA: We understand.

GRANDCHAMPS: I'm the only one who can. And I only do that because I have to. I have to. It's horrible. I lost my only child.

CAMEROTA: We're so sorry.

GRANDCHAMPS: Nothing can replace that. My granddaughter's don't have a father. My husband doesn't have a son. My family doesn't have Alex. The community doesn't have Alex. He touched many people's heart and lives.

CAMEROTA: Thank you for sharing all of that with us.

NEW DAY will be right back.


[08:58:15] CUOMO: All right, as we just saw, there are a lot of people in pain in this country, and the question is, well, what do you do about it? You know, and that's where "The Good Stuff" comes in.

For instance, the wildfires in Tennessee. You all saw our news coverage and that community's just wiped out in parts of that state. Part of the reason for the coverage is to connect all of us to those in need. So what did you do with the knowledge? People have lost everything. People like you. Well, one Wisconsin woman decided to do something beautiful.


MARY STEWART: It is very powerful because I just felt like this was one of those a-ha moments when the light goes on and says, we need to make quilts for Gatlinburg.


CUOMO: Just traffic in the misery, do something about it. That's Mary Stewart. She gathered a group of people to help make dozens of quilts for the fire victims. And, guess what? It ain't just about quilts. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEWART: People have stepped up and said, we'll help. We'll come in. We'll bring some quilts. And the community is so warm.


CUOMO: Ordinary people doing something extraordinary. They plan on making quilts to send to the victims throughout the month. Good for them.

CAMEROTA: That's beautiful. That is a real gesture of love --


CAMEROTA: Because it's, you know, their own handiwork and it keeps people warm.

CUOMO: They're doing what they can.

All right, there's a lot of news to tell you about. Let's get you to the "NEWSROOM" with Poppy Harlow, who's in for Carol Costello.

Hey, Pop.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, good morning, guys. Have a great one.

Hi, everyone. Thank you for being with us. NEWSROOM begins right now.

Good morning, everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow, in today for Carol Costello. So glad you're with us. A lot of news to get to this morning. Let's jump in.

President-elect Donald Trump says he will announce new members of his administration both today and tomorrow. And we have some breaking news on that right now. Sources telling us he has tapped Iowa Governor Terry Branstad to be the ambassador to China. Given all that he's said about China on the trail, this is a really important post. We're going to dig into that.