Return to Transcripts main page
Dreamers Deal with Democrats; Musician Plays Guitar with his Feet; Indians Winning Streak; 11-Year-Old to Mow White House Lawn. Aired 8:30-9a ET
Aired September 15, 2017 - 08:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[08:30:00] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Deal on protecting dreamers that marks a shift from a key campaign promise. So are democrats on the verge of cutting a second deal with the president?
Joining us now is Democratic Congressman Henry Cuellar of Texas.
Good morning, congressman.
REP. HENRY CUELLAR (D), TEXAS: Thank you. Good morning.
CAMEROTA: So you believe that this outreach that you've seen to Democrats is actually a new strategy coming from the White House. What gives you the impression that it's a thought-out strategy rather than just today making a deal with Democrats makes sense, tomorrow making a deal with conservatives makes sense?
CUELLAR: Well, you know, because their other strategy, trying to run over Democrats, has failed. And the president and Republicans have gotten nothing done for the country. So I specifically asked that question to the White House legislative director. And I said, hey, you ought to try this. He said, we're going to try this.
And I also told the president, listen, every major piece of legislation that has passed the last few years, at the end, not the first messaging bill but the final version of the major bill, including the Harvey bill, is the majority, the majority of the votes are contributed by the Democrats. And we're the minority in Congress. So I told that to the president. He said he understood that. He said, we'll give this a try. If not, we'll go the other way.
CAMEROTA: So if this is the dawn of a new era, what happens when conservatives rise up and the president sees all sorts of negative headlines from Breitbart, Ann Coulter tweets, et cetera, saying, you know, you're breaking your promise to us?
CUELLAR: Well, I think that's the president's problem that he's got to deal with a base that -- that he created from those -- that rhetoric that he used during the campaign. Bottom line is this. Bottom line is that the president has seen that, you know, his promise of -- when he said we're going to win, win, win, win, you're going to get tired of winning, we know that hasn't happened. So this gives us an opportunity to work in a bipartisan way. But I do say this, no -- looking at the president, studying the
president, he makes everything temporary. So we might just be temporarily allies and then he will shift over. So, you know, I go into this with clear eyes, understand this is a temporary type of environment with him. But while we have this environment, we are going to try to protect the dreamers. We're going to go ahead and have a tax reform that really helps the middle class. And as long as we have a say so, it will be bipartisan.
CAMEROTA: And, congressman, what about the wall? We've heard the president, in just even the past 48 hours, say lots of different things as to whether or not the wall is still a must, nonnegotiable. Let me just play for you what he said yesterday about his strong feelings about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are looking for extreme border security and surveillance -- you know, surveillance, everything else. We also have to get the wall. It doesn't have to be here, but they can't obstruct the wall, whether it's in a budget or something else when we're ready.
Ultimately, we have to have the wall. If we don't have the wall, we're doing nothing.
They cannot obstruct the wall. The wall, to me, is vital. If I don't get the wall, then we will become the obstructionists.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: What does all that mean to you? The wall is vital. They can't obstruct the wall.
CUELLAR: I'm just amazed that here we are in the 21st century and the president and the other Republicans are still using a 14th century solution called the wall. The wall will cost 21 mile -- for every mile, 21 -- over $21 million. $21 million. All I need is a $100 fence -- I mean a $100 ladder and that can be taken care of. So we've just got to be smart on how we secure the border.
I don't just come to the border and spend five minutes and go back and say that I know the border. I live here on the border. I raised my family here. I breath the air here. I drink the water. I understand the border. So I want to see a way that we can sensibly secure the border using technology, cameras sensors, the right mixture of personnel and, at the same time, making sure that we work with our neighbors to the south because we have a shared responsibility to secure our border.
CAMEROTA: OK. So, in terms of the border security deal that the president appears to be hatching with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, as well as protecting the dreamers, when will this happen? I mean Nancy Pelosi put out a statement that seemed to suggest that it's going to happen in the next couple of weeks. CUELLAR: What the president -- it was interesting because I was
watching and listening to every word the president was telling us. The first he said, hey, it's been six days, you know, since we've talked -- you know, since I made my order and nothing has happened. He said, I don't want to wait six months. I want to get this done as soon as possible.
[08:35:00] It's interesting that after we spoke to the president and our leaders spoke to the president that the -- that the Republicans have set this informal committee of Republicans, House members, to talk about DACA. I know those members on those. Those are good people that can actually work something with us. So at least there's some movement within the House.
And I told the president this, Mr. President, if we put DACA or the dreamers bill on the floor right now, it has the votes. It will pass. And I said, we've got to put that bill on the floor. And he looked at me and he said, Henry, we will have a vote on this. You will see a bill on the floor.
So, again, he doesn't speak for Paul Ryan, but at least there's some momentum moving into that direction. All we need is a vote on the floor and we'll get it done.
CAMEROTA: OK, Congressman Henry Cuellar, thank you very much for talking to us on NEW DAY this morning.
CUELLAR: Thank you.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, not all news has to be heavy. The Cleveland Indians have a new mantra, refuse to lose. They have a record-breaking win streak. And, guess what, it's alive and well. We have details in the "Bleacher Report."
CAMEROTA: But first, Tony Melendez is a successful guitar player who uses his toes to strum the chords. Born without arms, he's proven that talent has no bounds. Dr. Sanjay Gupta has his story in this edition of "Turning Points."
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tony Melendez's mother was given a medication for morning sickness while she was pregnant which may have affected his development.
TONY MELENDEZ: I came into this world missing the two arms and a left foot was clubbed. In my eyes it was normal. So it's not like, oh, I lost them. It was, I never had them.
So I was able to, with my toes, reach out and do things that people just said, how's he doing that?
I wanted to be a priest when I was younger.
GUPTA: At the time, a person was generally required to have a thumb and an index finger to become a priest in order to give communion.
MELENDEZ: So I had to find something else. At 16 someone showed me how to turn the guitar different. That opened the door to be able to do the toe picking.
I was able to sing for John Paul II in 1987. That moment led to a lot of things. I've recorded now six different albums.
If I could go back and have two arms, it would say the only reason I would do that would to just be able to wrap my arms around my wife and hold her.
GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN reporting.
[08:41:554] CAMEROTA: All right, the Cleveland Indians now own the longest winning streak in more than a century. Andy Scholes has more on the "Bleacher Report."
That's quite an accomplishment.
ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: It certainly is, Alisyn, and some people are wondering if Cleveland's ever going to lose again. The Indians winning their 22nd straight game last night. But the streak was in jeopardy in the ninth inning. Cleveland was actually down to their last strike, but Francisco Lindor comes through with the game- tying double. And we would go to extra innings.
In the tenth, Jay Bruce is the hero. He doubles down the line as the Indians get the win 3-2. They're now four wins away from the all-time best winning streak of 26 straight wins, which was sent by the 1916 New York Giants.
All right, Texas rookie quarterback Shawn Watson celebrating his 22nd birthday yesterday, wearing a tuxedo to his first career NFL start. Now, Watson picking up right where he left off after winning a national championship at Clemson. Check him out here running for a 49 yard touchdown in the second quarter. It was the only touchdown in last night's game. The Texans win a low-scoring affair, 13-9. The Bengals now, the first team in 78 years, Chris, to open the season with two home games and not score a touchdown. Obviously not the start they were looking for.
CUOMO: Yes, I mean, look, that young man's legs, they're looking to those to carry that team. But he better put that ball away.
CUOMO: Looking like Chuck Muncie. You're too young to remember Chuck Muncie from the San Diego Chargers, but he used to hold that ball like a loaf of bread. But I guess you've got to catch him before you can strip him.
All right, Andy --
SCHOLES: I'd say he got a mouth full about that one.
CUOMO: Andy, thank you very much.
SCHOLES: Yes. All right.
CUOMO: All right, up next, so, we want to give you a look at what Florida has been through as a reminder of the past, but also of the potential future. Stay with us.
[08:47:59] CUOMO: All right, CNN was there for you during Hurricane Irma, so you were able to watch in real time as that storm changed communities and lives. You want to take a look back at what we showed you as a reminder of what the future may bring for the people there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: The urgency about Irma is real.
You said you have to see a storm of that size like a bowling ball, and to finish the metaphor, what does that make Florida?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That makes us the bowling alley.
CUOMO: So it's all about the pins are going to get knocked down?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
CUOMO: The wind is picking up. The gusts are measured in excess of 70 miles an hour. The rain has been constant.
This is Mother Nature at her worst. And we're going to hope that we respond with human nature at its best.
We're waiting on the storm surge. And these gusts are the real deal.
Just looks like a -- it just looks like some type of sideways cyclone that's coming down here with these gusts.
These could easily knock you off your feet.
We're under the eye right now. We know that we have the whole backside to go. That's a little intimidating.
The storm has certainly moved past. It is an unusually big storm, so there are more bands of weather than we might see ordinarily. The eye has certainly passed.
The farther we get down U.S. 1, deeper into The Keys, the worse the situation is.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody has done any searches there. So if there's the possibility to save a life, now is where we're going to find it. Hello, fire and rescue.
This is where the eye hit, so that's why we're focusing our primary search efforts here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, Jess, I'm alive. There's no fatalities that I know of. It's just a mess. A total mess down here. OK, honey, I love you. All right, bye.
[08:50:00] Thanks, guys. That was --
CUOMO: No, no, no.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, that was -- woo.
CUOMO: Well, look, not knowing is the hardest part for your loved ones. They're trying to figure out where you guys are, you know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, dad. I don't know when they're going to open the road again.
All right, I'll try. Love you, dad.
CUOMO: The scale of what they're going to be dealing with here. We're talking about years of rebuilding. Months of restoring power and water, essentials for life.
You can't overstate the complexity of the situation and the urgency of it. That's here in The Keys. It's not a world away.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: And that's really the big reminder for people is that news is going to take us away from this story. Harvey, they're still struggling.
CUOMO: This struggle is going to be really real. The Caribbean. And The Keys will not be the same for a long time.
CAMEROTA: What struck you the most from all of your days down there?
CUOMO: What struck us the most? I don't know. You could ask Bruce.
CAMEROTA: I mean --
CUOMO: Bruce, our floor manager, was there with us. But, you know, look, the first responders --
CAMEROTA: Everyone on the satellite phone.
CUOMO: Don't get enough --
CAMEROTA: Yes. Yes. I can understand that. the communications with your family. He -- Bruce, our floor director, is saying that it was the satellite phone, the fact that so many people were running up to you to call their families. Yes.
CUOMO: Right, the need -- the need. In America, you never think anybody has those types of needs. But they do.
But the first responders don't get enough help or credit. The idea that they leave their own families.
CUOMO: Scott Dean and others who we were with. He had to leave his wife and two kids. And their children, they're like seven and four.
CUOMO: His house was messed up. He had to leave to go help everybody else. They are a special brand of people. They are better than the rest of us.
CAMEROTA: I think that you made that really evident in the pieces. I mean it was great to see them and all of the sacrifice that they're making.
CUOMO: And blowing in the wind is a violation of man law.
CAMEROTA: You didn't budge.
CUOMO: It's not going to happen.
CAMEROTA: Not only did you not blow, it was like you had cement shoes on. You didn't budge.
CUOMO: It's not going to happen. I didn't even have shoes on.
CAMEROTA: You had no shoes on?
CAMEROTA: Wow, you were just -- you were laughing at the wind, I felt.
CUOMO: I mocked that storm.
CAMEROTA: Yo mocked it. I know. It was incredible.
CUOMO: And then it smacked me like a naughty child.
CAMEROTA: Up next, some "Good Stuff." It was an offer the White House could not refuse. This 11-year-old is going to mow the White House lawn today. Why? You'll meet him next.
CUOMO: Respected (ph).
[08:56:20] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Dear Mr. President, it would be my honor to mow the White House lawn for some weekend for you. Even though I'm only 10, I'd like to show the nation what young people like me are ready for. I admire your business background and have started my own business. I've been mowing my neighbors' lawns for some time. I can bring extra fuel for the power mower and charge batteries for the weed whacker. And he'll do that with no charge.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: OK. So, today is a big day for Frank "FX" Giaccio. He wrote that letter to the president. And President Trump granted Frank's wish. The sixth grader will today mow the White House lawn.
Frank, FX, I'll call you, because I know that's your nickname. He joins us now from the White House.
How you doing?
FRANK "FX" GIACCIO, WROTE LETTER TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: Good.
CAMEROTA: So why did you want to mow the lawn of the White House?
GIACCIO: Well, I always wanted to do something big, and so I was like why not we just start here? And this seems like it's got the perfect example.
CAMEROTA: I agree with you, go big or go home. I mean that is what you're doing. But now let's talk about this, because you do this for a living, right, in your -- your town, in Falls Church, Virginia. And how much do you charge to mow a lawn there?
GIACCIO: I charge $8.
CAMEROTA: For the whole lawn?
OK. And how much are you going to charge for the White House?
CAMEROTA: Now, Frank, have you thought this out because the president could probably pay you more than $8.
GIACCIO: Well, my dad said, just do it for free. And I was like, fine. And that's where it's going to go.
CAMEROTA: OK. Let's talk about what equipment you're using, because I know that you're an expert at this, right? We've seen you with your lawn mower. And you offered to bring your own equipment to the White House. They said they'd rather you use the park service equipment. So do you know, are you going to have a push mower or are you going to have a rider mower? What are they going to give you?
GIACCIO: Actually, I don't know. But I -- but what I do know is that they're going to give me something and I'm going to mow with that. CAMEROTA: Ys, but what if they give you like a little weed whacker or
GIACCIO: Yes. I'm also going to do weed whacking. So I think I'm just going to mow and weed whack the White House and the Rose Garden. And then they're going to take the stuff from me, and then that's how it's going to work, I think.
CAMEROTA: OK. I get it. So you're not going to do the entire grounds. That's good. There are rules against child labor for too long. But you are going to mow the Rose Garden. And that's right outside of the president's window. Do you think you're going to have a chance to meet President Trump?
GIACCIO: Sorry, I can barely hear you.
CAMEROTA: Right, it sounds like there's already a lot of like lawn equipment up and running. Do you think you'll have a chance to meet the president today?
GIACCIO: I'm not sure.
CAMEROTA: If you meet him, what will you say to him?
GIACCIO: It depends. Like, what -- it -- so it would actually depend on what is he going to ask me, then I'll answer that.
CAMEROTA: Yes, yes, understood.
All right, well, I would just say reconsider the not charging him $8, because it sounds like you're going to have a full day of landscaping on your hands. But, FX Giaccio, great work. Best of luck to you. We can't wait to talk to you again. Thanks so much for being with us on CNN.
[09:0:01] GIACCIO: You, too.
CAMEROTA: OK, time for CNN "NEWSROOM" with Poppy Harlow and John Berman now.