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Democrats And Trump Reach Deal on DREAMers; Trump to Visit Hurricane-Damaged Areas in Florida; Paradise Lost: Irma Leaves Caribbean in Shambles. Aired 6-6:30a ET
Aired September 14, 2017 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Florida, the Caribbean trying to rebuild amid growing frustrations of food and water shortages.
[05:59:50] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This nursing home where authorities are investigating the deaths of at least eight elderly residents.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're all dumbfounded as to how this could happen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What has happened here is inexcusable.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: DACA is a symptom of a bigger problem. We do not have control of our borders.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Democratic leaders and President Trump potentially reaching a deal to fix DACA that does not include funding a border wall.
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The idea that the Republican Party ideas are not represented in that room is just ridiculous.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Good for the Republicans and good for the Democrats.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to you in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Thursday, September 14, 6 a.m. here in a hot and humid Naples, Florida. It's dark. It's dirty. But an order of magnitude better than it is in the Keys.
And the big headline is in just hours, President Trump is going to come here to survey the catastrophic damage left by Hurricane Irma. At current count, more than three million customers still without power largely in this state. The death toll continues to rise. We expected that. The number is now at 77 lives taken by the storm in the United States and the Caribbean.
The big focus of concern for loss of life in the U.S. is the death of eight senior citizens found in sweltering conditions at a nursing home in Hollywood, Florida, after their facility lost power.
Alisyn, there are different factors going on with that case, and we'll take you through them this morning.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. So tragic, Chris.
But we also have some breaking news out of Washington. Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer say they have reached an agreement to protect DREAMers. But the White House has a different version of this deal. If the Democratic leaders are to be believed, this deal is a bombshell. The conservatives are already blasting it.
So we have it all covered for us. Let's begin with CNN's Joe Johns. He is live at the White House.
Joe, what happened at this dinner?
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alisyn.
This is sort of an agreement to agree, but it definitely sends a pretty clear signal on where the president is headed on this issue.
It comes over the strong objections of some of the president's most conservative supporters. The president once again joining forces with Democratic leaders in the Congress.
JOHNS (voice-over): Democratic leaders are hailing another agreement with President Trump to protect hundreds of thousands of DREAMers from being deported in exchange for beefed-up border security. Key details about the agreement are unknown, but we do know it does not include the president's controversial border wall.
In a statement, House and Senate Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi say, "We agree to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly and to work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that's acceptable to both sides."
But White House press secretary Sarah Sanders disputes their characterization, tweeting, "While DACA and border security were both discussed, excluding the wall was certainly not agreed to."
A senior administration official tells CNN the wall discussions were the same as the White House publicly suggested this week. The president will keep pushing for a wall, but it doesn't have to be part of this agreement.
The framework hashed out at a White House dinner over Chinese food with Pelosi and Schumer. They were joined by eight others to discuss tax reform, DACA and health care. Notably absent, the top Republicans in Congress: the Senate majority leader and the speaker of the House.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why not also invite Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan.
SANDERS: Look, you've got the leader of the Republican Party sitting at the table.
JOHNS: This potential deal on DREAMers comes after the president infuriated his own party last week when he brokered a three-month deal to raise the debt ceiling and speed up relief funding for hurricane victims. But the president insists there's no reason to be skeptical.
TRUMP: More and more, we're trying to work things out together. It's a positive thing and it's good for the Republicans and good for the Democrats.
JOHNS: The new approach a far cry from his usually harsh rhetoric.
TRUMP: I think the losers are Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.
JOHNS: As all of this is happening, the president will be arriving in southwest Florida this morning to visit two areas hardest hit by the storm, Ft. Myers as well as Naples. He'll be accompanied by the first lady and the vice president -- Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: OK, Joe, thank you very much.
Let's discuss all of this with chief political correspondent Dana Bash. Dana, great to have you here in studio.
Wow, what a dinner. If this is true, if the president struck a deal with the top Democrats to protect DREAMers, and it didn't involve a border wall, I mean, this is sending a cataclysm through conservative circles. Let me just read to you what happened at 11 p.m. last night when conservatives caught wind of this and they started tweeting.
So here's Steve King, Congressman Steve King, who as you know is the biggest champion of the border wall. "Donald Trump, if A.P." -- the Associated Press -- "is correct, Trump base is blown up, destroyed, irreparable and disillusioned beyond repair. No promise is credible."
[06:05:04] Laura Ingraham, conservative, "The art of the steal. Let's hope that Pelosi and Schumer misrepresented the DACA deal."
Sean Hannity, "Weak Republicans have betrayed voters. POTUS needs to stay the course and keep his promise or it's over. Pelosi and Schumer can never be trusted."
You have new reporting. What happened last night?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is precisely why, if the president wants to get anything done to deal with the DREAMer issue legislatively, he has to do it exactly the way he did last night.
CAMEROTA: He has to bring in Democrats?
BASH: He has to bring in Democrats. It has to be bipartisan. When this -- when he first announced that he was kicking it over to Congress, I said, "This is going to be the first real test of whether President Trump can deal in a bipartisan way."
And the reason is because, unlike many other issues which are even a struggle among Republicans, there was no way he was going to get the Steve Kings of the world and many in the conservative base to go along with anything that they consider amnesty. They consider even the children who were brought here by their parents very young -- they didn't have any choice -- as undocumented immigrants who have no right to stay here, and they should leave.
The president said publicly he doesn't agree with that. In order to get a deal to allow them to stay here, he needs to work with Democrats and they have to understand that they're going to the lose some on the right, but they'll make up for it with Democratic votes.
CAMEROTA: Where does this leave the Republican Party? Does this cause a civil war in the Republican Party?
BASH: Yes. Yes. This issue of immigration, Alisyn, has split the Republican Party for a decade.
John McCain ran for president in 2007 and the 2008 election. High, high, high in the polls. Supported immigration reform, which included a path to citizenship. Fell low and only came back because he promised Republicans he would focus on border security first. You could say the same with Marco Rubio.
So the answer is yes, it has historically split the Republican Party. And this whole issue of the DREAMers was on President Trump's lap. He has to deal with it. But he has been warned, I am told, by sources who have talked to him that that is going to cost you many in that base that you never thought that you could lose.
CAMEROTA: So why is he doing this? Why is he reaching out to Chuck Schumer or at least working with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi? Why weren't Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell at that dinner last night at the White House?
BASH: Because he can take the hit. Because the president can take the hit more than the Republican leaders.
I mean, think about it. Republican leaders have tried to push this through. And when I say "this," I'm talking about any kind of immigration reform that has to do with any kind of legal status for undocumented immigrants, again, for a decade. And it hasn't worked.
Republicans in Congress feel that he has the credibility with the base. And he's the only one who can make the deal and turn to Congress and say, "I did this. Go ahead, Mr. Republican leader in the House and the Senate. You get it through."
But there's no question it is going to cost the president. You interviewed him. I also think -- and Alisyn, you interviewed him. I interviewed him for the past two years since he started running for president. I believe in his heart of hearts he doesn't want to kick these people out of the country. And that is the one thing that he was extremely consistent on throughout the entire two years he's been in politics.
CAMEROTA: As you know, Steve Bannon was on "60 Minutes" talking about, basically, how he'll always have the president's back. Well, this morning, things have changed. If this is true. I mean, there's a new Breitbart headline out, calling the president "Amnesty Don." There's a report: "The Dems Declare Victory as Trump Caves on DACA. White House Pushes Back" -- dot, dot, dot -- "... Softly."
So is it possible that bromance is eroding between Steve Bannon and the president?
BASH: This issue, there's no question Steve Bannon disagrees. He doesn't think -- he -- Steve Bannon is with Steve King. He thinks this is a mistake; this is amnesty, that this is going to split the party, and this is bad for the president, which is why, you know, Breitbart is trying to send that signal in a very not-so-subtle way.
But on other issues, you know, if the president is -- continues to try to push on trade issues, on other issues that are in a more populist sort of side of the equation of the agenda, maybe not. But this is a biggie.
CAMEROTA: Look, the border wall was nonnegotiable. I mean, the president brought it up time and again. It rallied the base every single time. So if he did some sort of immigration deal. Or I mean, you know, or started the beginnings of talking about it with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi and the border wall isn't in there, did he blink in this one?
BASH: Well, he -- well, I guess the real answer is yes in that he had -- the initial White House position was, with the encouragement of conservatives. The conservatives, I think, were leading this charge in the House. We're not going to -- remember, they said they weren't going to fund the government without the border wall.
[06:10:10] BASH: And that ended when the president struck his first deal with Democratic leaders.
In this particular case, I think much like the notion of letting these DREAMers stay in this country legally, the majority -- maybe not the majority. Many fellow Republicans in Congress, they don't want to deal with this border wall. They think it's silly. They do want to do border security.
So even though you have those ultra conservatives who are furious at the notion that he would do a deal on DREAMers without the border wall, you have others who are like, "Phew!"
CAMEROTA: OK. It is possible that we'll have more information for this program ends at 9 a.m. this morning.
BASH: Check your Twitter feed.
CAMEROTA: Yes. For sure. I mean, this all just happened overnight. It's just breaking overnight. Dana, great to have you here.
OK. So there's obviously a lot of news also in Florida. That's where we find Chris in the aftermath of Irma.
Chris, what's happening?
CUOMO: Well, Alisyn, we were always expecting the death toll to go up but not in this way. Eight residents of a nursing home are dead in the wake of Hurricane Irma. But the question is was it about the hurricane? There's a big investigation under way.
We're going to talk to a woman whose mother was in that facility until last week. Stay with us.
CUOMO: Police in Hollywood, Florida, are launching a criminal investigation. Why? Eight seniors died in sweltering heat in a nursing home that was left with no air-conditioning after Hurricane Irma. But was this about the storm or how that facility is being run?
[06:15:11] CNN's Elizabeth Cohen is live at the nursing home in Hollywood with more.
Elizabeth, how people are treated in places like that always an issue.
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. There was so much concern about the large number of senior citizens in Florida. Eight lives now claimed at this nursing home after a power outage of the air-conditioning system. Many now asking how could this happen when there was a hospital right across the street?
COHEN (voice-over): Police launching a criminal investigation after the deaths of eight senior citizens at this Florida nursing home where the air-conditioning system lost power. The call for help coming in the middle of the night. One elderly respect having a heart attack. First responders arrived to find three more dead. Four more died later in hospitals.
RAELIN STOREY, DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS, HOLLYWOOD, FLORIDA: Once we determined that we had multiple deaths at the facilities and the facilities are extremely hot, we made the decision to evacuate all of the patients.
COHEN: The mass evacuation unfolding Wednesday, with fire and rescue teams mobilizing units. This blue tent directed to triage the 158 evacuees, some critically in need of care before being transported to local hospitals.
STOREY: As we arrived on the scene with our fire rescue crews, we saw that there were a number of people in respiratory distress and other distress.
COHEN: Residents enduring humidity and sweltering temperatures for about three days.
DR. RANDY KATZ, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, EMERGENCY SERVICES, MEMORIAL REGIONAL HOSPITAL: Most of the patients have been treated for respiratory distress, dehydration, and heat-related issues.
COHEN: The administrator for the nursing home saying in a statement that the facility "did not lose power during the hurricane but lost a transformer that powers the air-conditioning" and that the facility "immediately contacted Florida Power & Light and emergency officials."
The facility maintaining that "staff set up mobile cooling units and fans to cool the facility and continually checked on our residents' well-being to ensure they were hydrated."
The health department says it kept in contact with the nursing home for three days, advising them to call 911 if they suspected anyone's health was at risk.
SEN. BILL NELSON (D), FLORIDA: People are just absolutely shocked that someone in a staff would not know enough that a frail elderly person is dying of heat exhaustion and would at least know to dial 911. This is what is inexcusable.
COHEN: Florida's governor placing an immediate moratorium on new admissions, saying in a statement, "If they find that this facility was not meeting the state's high standards of care, they will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law."
It is a sad event. As a precautionary measure, we've assigned police officers to go check all the other 42 assisted living facilities and nursing homes throughout the city to make sure that they're in sufficient care of the elderly.
COHEN: This facility has had a list of safety violations, including two that involved generators in 2014 and 2016. The state says that those violations were corrected -- Chris.
CUOMO: And Elizabeth, to be clear, there is now a moratorium on new residents being included there, not taking everyone out. So there's still people in the care of that facility.
Elizabeth, thank you very much. We'll stay with you on this story.
So let's bring in somebody who can give us some perspective on this place. Michelle Callahan's mother was at -- a resident at that nursing home until about about a week ago. Michelle joins us now.
Michelle, thank you for being on the show. Most important thing...
MICHELLE CALLAHAN, MOTHER WAS AT NURSING HOME IN HOLLYWOOD, FLORIDA: Hello.
CUOMO: ... about you and your family, Maggie, your mom, she's not there and she's OK, right? CALLAHAN: Correct. Yes. Thank God.
CUOMO: Thank God, indeed. All right. So let's talk about the place. What was your experience with that facility? You pulled your mother out because of the storm or other concerns?
CALLAHAN: We pulled my mother out for other medical concerns last week. We had a rescue come in from the hospital next door. And yesterday morning when I woke up, I turned on the television, and I see this nursing home and I went, "Oh, my gosh, that's where my mother was. Thank God we got her out of there." And of course, the terrible tragedy of the deaths, it's just unbelievable to me right now.
CUOMO: What did you make of the facility in terms of how they treated your mother? What did she say about the place?
CALLAHAN: I basically felt that they were very understaffed. Too many patients, not enough nurses and certified nursing assistants. I felt the communication between the staff was not very good. My mother sometimes would do the call button. And I -- when I was there, they didn't come in a timely manner. And was kind of concerned about that. And basically, if I wasn't there or my sister, who's a nurse, or my dad, if we weren't there, it seemed like things didn't get done or she wasn't attended to. So I wasn't very happy about that part either.
[06:20:14] CUOMO: The family often has to be advocates for the elderly and those who need care. What was your experience when you would ask the facility about specific conditions with your mother to address specific needs?
CALLAHAN: We had to wait. And I'm not trying to, you know, say anything about the nursing staff or the medical people. It's just that they couldn't get there all the time, because there were just too many patients -- again, too many patients and not enough nursing and medical staff to get there.
And I just wish that, you know, she didn't have to go to this place. Because obviously, it wasn't up to par for our standards.
CUOMO: Well, look. There's an entire broader discussion about elderly care and what it costs and the ability to have facilities and what families can hold. It's all real. But it is a little bit to the side of the specifics here.
Because the reason I'm asking these questions is not to generate insults about this place but insights. These will be the points of this investigation. Are they properly staffed? Are they attentive and responsive to the needs of this particular patient base that they have? And again, what was Maggie, your mom's, take on how it was in that facility?
CALLAHAN: Well, she would get upset a lot, because she would call for the nurses and nobody would come, especially when we were not there. And I don't think that's acceptable.
CUOMO: And when she would say -- well, did she ever tell you anything about what she saw with respect to the other patients there and how they did under the conditions in that place?
CALLAHAN: Well, she -- she couldn't get out of the bed. And basically, if she was up, she was in a wheelchair, because she can't walk at this time. And I would say from my viewpoint, because I was there a lot, I would see patients in the hallways that needed, probably, to be attended to. They were in wheelchairs. And I felt bad, because the nurses and the CNAs could not get there in time, et cetera.
And I just didn't know what else to do, because I was taking care of my mother. And I tried to alert them. I had a patient I heard calling from a bedroom, "Help me." And I had to tell the front desk that somebody was yelling that. And it just seems like there weren't enough people to do what they needed to do. So that was my main concern. And that if I wasn't there -- excuse me -- or my sister or my dad, it seemed things didn't happen, like, my mother was not attended to. I don't want to go into details.
But there was some really not-so-great stuff, like her not being -- she was in the same clothes and not able to take care of herself for a whole day because my sister was putting up shutters with my dad at the house for the hurricane that was coming. So like, when we we're not there, things didn't seem to get attended to for my mom.
CUOMO: Well, Michelle...
CALLAHAN: So I think -- I'm wondering about the other patients.
CUOMO: ... you guys are doing the right thing, taking care of your mother. Right. And that's why I'm asking you these questions. Because it's great that your mom had family there to love and advocate for her needs. It's often necessary, but there's a standard of care in play. And that's what we're trying to get at.
So it's great to hear that your mother got out of there and that she's OK, and we appreciate you giving us some perspective on what life is like inside the facility. The best of to you and your family.
CALLAHAN: I wanted to say one more thing: that I hope they -- more regulations are going to be done with these places. And also, the advocates really need to educate themselves on what's going on at any nursing home, no matter how expensive. So that was my basic message here.
CUOMO: And an important one to relate. Thank you for bringing it to us on NEW DAY.
All right. We're going to take a break now. When we come back, you have to remember, this is a bad or worse situation. If this was because of the storm and their ability to handle it in this facility, that's bad. If this is about the general nature of how they conduct their business there, that's potentially worse.
So we're going to have Florida Senator Marco Rubio. He says he wants to be very aggressive on this issue. So what does he make of why this happened, what he needs to do here and in terms of policy across his state, as well as the senator's take on the response to Irma?
All right. So we've been taking -- we've been taking you through what Irma has done. Bad here, much, much worse in the Keys. And then you have the Caribbean. So hard hit by this storm, really in shambles. Pictures tell the stories. But the needs are growing. Food, water, sewage, power. What's being done? Is there progress? We have a live report from St. Martin next.
[06:29:03] CUOMO: The key here is pace of recovery. And the rate here in Florida and in the U.S. is exponentially faster than in the Caribbean. And delays could have deadly consequences.
The leaders of Britain, France, Holland are all pledging to rebuild. But basic services are all but absent more than a week since the storm. CNN's Clarissa Ward is live on the island of St. Martin, where life is very, very hard.
What's the latest?
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Chris. And really, St. Martin is just a microcosm for so many other Caribbean islands that all find themselves going from a desperate situation to an increasingly nightmarish situation.
The first thing you notice when you land here is that there's no foliage left on the trees. The trees have literally been swept clean, plucked clean by these battering winds.
You see on the runway as you land that some smaller jets have even been tossed aside. It gives you a feel of the force for this storm.
But what really stands out, we managed to get our drone out and start to have a look around, get a better sense of the damage which is, of course, huge, massive. This is going to take a major reconstruction effort.