Return to Transcripts main page


Magnitude 7.1 Earthquake Hits Central Mexico; GOP Quietly Racing in New Effort to Overturn Obamacare; Trump to U.N.: Certain Parts of World "Are Going to Hell". Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired September 19, 2017 - 15:30   ET


[15:30:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: All right, if you are just joining us, let me just set up what we've been covering here. This is breaking news out of central Mexico about 75 miles south of Mexico City. We are just now getting in all these different feeds from different affiliates around Mexico of exactly what just happened. This 7.1 magnitude earthquake that has just rocked the central part of the country including this video. Let's cue it up guys -- of this building. Totally collapsing. Watch it again. Do you see it? Wait for it. The earthquake hits and in seconds it is gone, 7.1 magnitude.

We know that the Mexican president tweeted, I called a meeting for the for the national emergency committee to evaluate the situation to coordinate any actions. A plan has been activated. He said he was on a flight to Oaxaca and now he's going to immediately reroute and head back to Mexico City. Allison Chinchar is in the CNN severe weather center. We were talking so much about hurricanes before but all the focus on the 7.1 magnitude out of Mexico and the videos. I mean, that building collapse is stunning.

[15:35:04] ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. Let's take a look at where the earthquake is. OK. It's this orange dot you can see here. That was the epicenter of the quake, 7.1 magnitude quake. A depth of 51 kilometers, or give or take 32 miles deep.

In the scope of earthquakes that is relatively deep, but not deep enough that it wouldn't cause significant damage in some of these regions, especially the closer you are to the epicenter point. For reference, here is Mexico City. Here is the epicenter. All of this yellow color that you can see here, that's what we call the shake map. Those are people in those communities that could feel the earthquake.

Again, here's a look. This epicenter is about 75 miles southeast of Mexico City just for some reference. Here's the epicenter. Here's Mexico City. See all these communities around here that had some type of minor damage. They could feel it. And in some cases, yes, we have had moderate to even major damage in some of these communities. Also keep in mind, just about two weeks ago Mexico just had an 8.1 magnitude quake. Thankfully not in this same region. That earthquake was about a little bit further south and east of where this particular quake was located.

But you have to look. This is a very heavily populated region. Again, Mexico City is one of the most densely populated cities in the world. Obviously, this is going to affect pretty high population. Here's a look. At least 28 million people felt some type of weak shaking with this earthquake. You've got about 20 million that felt some type of moderate shaking, and you've got about a million and a half that felt very strong shaking and that's the number that you really focus on for a lot of your significant damage that you would have. Perhaps where you saw the building or even in some areas where you just have rubble or debris lying in a lot of the streets -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: All right, Allison, stand by. We have Adrian Wilson on the phone now. A photographer from New York City now in Mexico City about 75 miles away from the epicenter of this quake. Adrian, can you hear me?


BALDWIN: OK. I understand you were having lunch and then you felt a rumble?

WILSON: I was having lunch. I was literally reading about Donald Trump and the U.N. thinking wow, missiles, World War III and all the rest of it. And I just felt the tremor. But really, I'm a New Yorker. It just felt like a dumpster going over a manhole cover and then it just kept amplifying and all of a sudden, this giant earthquake.

BALDWIN: How long -- just staying on the earthquake please -- how long did the rumbling or the shake last?

WILSON: It was about 20 seconds and it just kept increasing. Up to quite an intensity. All the room was shaking and I look up the doors were shaking were shaking everywhere. I don't know if you can hear outside. But there's still pandemonium outside. There's military vehicles all around. Helicopters flying overhead. The Mexicans believe it or not had like a siren practice at 11:00 this morning. So literally an hour before the earthquake everyone did the thing for real. Everyone was really organized. Went outside and all the traffic stopped et cetera. But where I'm at in Polanco, nothing collapsed. But even though it seemed like, you know, really great experience, you realize that people -- I don't know if people have died or certainly got injured from the images I've seen around the city.

BALDWIN: Yes, we don't know about fatalities yet. But looking at some of these pictures we saw a number of people being treated who were clearly in the range of the quake zone. Just last quick question, Adrian. What was the reaction in the cafe where you are and in Polanco once everything started rattling? Did people understand what was going on?

WILSON: Yes. I just got straight outside. So, my son left obviously for taking a video and going straight outside. I went straight outside. Everyone like I say, was in their safe zone, several safe zones marked outside every building. And people are kind of taking it in their stride. But as I say, we didn't have all the kind of horrific scenes I've seen in the rest of the city here. We were really lucky. BALDWIN: Yes. You are indeed. A whopping 75 miles away and just south of you is where the 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit. Adrian, thank you so much for jumping on the phone with me from Mexico City.

WILSON: Your welcome.

BALDWIN: We're getting more information, some more pictures, grabbing more voices, quick break. More breaking news out of Mexico after this.


BALDWIN: Senate Republicans just finished meeting over this last- ditch effort to end Obamacare. Lawyers huddling behind closed doors. Members of Republican leadership on the Senate side to discuss this bill produced by two Republican Senators. One of whom is an MD, Bill Cassidy and then also Lindsey Graham. Both Senators introduced this months ago and at the time it went nowhere. Now that could change. At least they're hoping so, because time is running out. They're up against the September 30th deadline for this vote. And again, keeping in mind this is something without any Democrat support. Here's Senator Lindsey Graham right after their meeting and then the Democrats' response.


[15:45:00] SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: We know this movie ends if we don't change. We're going to have a single payer health care system in this country that's going to bust the budget. And were going to start rationing care like you've never seen. Obamacare is failing for a reason. The Democratic Party is never going to give us anything that fundamentally changes Obamacare. We have had weeks of talking and the only time they have gotten serious is when they're afraid that my bill may pass.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: I just heard our Republican colleagues speak. There was a word missing. People. Patients. Care. All this stuff. Democrat, Republican, governors, Washington. How about how this affects people? Simply put, Trumpcare is a sham. They're crafting it in the dark of night. To say one hearing on one day without a CBO score and only two witnesses against the bill, that's a hearing? That's a full airing of the bill? Come on. They're ashamed of this bill. They're afraid to find out what it actually does.


BALDWIN: So, here just some headlines of what the Graham-Cassidy bill would do. Repeal individual and employer mandates. Turn federal subsidies and Medicaid expansion into block grants. Caps traditional Medicaid. Loosens regulations on pre-existing conditions and eliminates essential health care benefits. House Speaker, Paul Ryan, says it is the Republican Party's best last chance and we are watching some of these key Senators on how they vote. Kentucky's Rand Paul, a hard no. John McCain, he helped kill -- remember the thumbs down, the skinny repeal bill this summer. How does it go this summer? Or rather, this fall. TBD, Maine's Susan Collins and Alaska's Lisa Murkowski, both undecided.

With me now Stephen Moore, CNN senior economic analyst and former senior adviser to the Trump campaign and Rick Newman, columnist at Yahoo Finance and author of "Rebounders, Health Winners Pivot from Setbacks to Success". Gentlemen, let's talk about this. We did see Rick Newman, I listened to Senator Graham, he said that Paul Ryan said to his face if you pass it, we pass it. They sounded optimistic. They said -- the Republicans said this was a great plan, you say it's politically stupid. Why?

RICK NEWMAN, COLUMNIST, YAHOO FINANCE: For a lot of reasons. It has no main stream support. The last time the Republicans went through this drill their plan got less than 20 percent. Obamacare for all its flaws, and it has many, it now has something like, it's over 50 percent approval, no doctors group support this bill. They're against it. That's the American Medical Association. Patient groups like the American Cancer Society are against it. It just really has no support.

It will not get a Congressional Budget Office score, which means we won't know the details the impact it will have on the budget or health care coverage before they have the vote on it. And is going to be out in public for a grand total of 17 days before the deadline comes to vote on it. This is exactly what John McCain, this is exactly what John McCain complained about when he voted no. He wants it to return to regular order. Not rushing bills through like this.

BALDWIN: He also said that he would listen to how the Arizona governor felt about this. If the Arizona governor likes this bill. So perhaps John McCain, maybe, maybe a yes. We don't know. Steven Moore, the CBO score wouldn't happen. So how are they supposed to vote?

STEPHEN MOORE, CNN SENIOR ECONOMIC ANALYST: They'll have to get a score, you know, before the vote. But you know, I think a couple things inspired this. One is, last week you had Bernie Sanders and 12 other Democrats basically come out for a single-payer health care system. And I think it woke up Republicans said, hey, if we don't fix this thing because we know Obamacare is falling apart. A number of states have already announced that they were going to have 20 percent increase in premiums again next year on top of the 50 and 60 and 70 percent increases that have already happened. Obamacare is unsustainable. Republicans are racing to the deadline, which is September 30, to get this passed. Let me just wait and make one other point where I think Rick is wrong. Look, I worked with Newt Gingrich in 1995 and the Clinton administration when we did welfare reform. And we did this, Brooke, we basically said, look, in Washington we don't know how to deal with this problem of welfare. And we don't know how to deal with the problem of healthcare and controlling costs. Let's turn it back to the states and let, Massachusetts and Michigan and Virginia and Texas come up with solutions to health care that provide high quality, make it affordable. Because the problem is people can't afford Obamacare. It's really bankrupting a lot of families.

BALDWIN: That's listening to Senator Graham. And Rick, I just want to hear how you would respond. Because he was there and he was basically saying, why wouldn't you want your state representative, who likely goes to your own hospital and wants the same kind of solid medical care. Why wouldn't you want your state to decide this instead of Washington? How would you respond to that?

NEWMAN: First of all, Obamacare is not failing. It is solving some problems and it's failing to solve other problems. It needs help but it's not failing.

[15:50:00] The question about the states, I've never heard anybody say which part of the government they want to help provide their health care. I think what I hear people say is I want my doctor to provide health care. Remember Obama said, which earned him lie of the year back in 2013, if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.

Well if you are covered under Obamacare and like your doctor, you cannot keep your doctor under this plan, because you will no longer have that coverage. All Obamacare coverage will disappear. Some of those people will be able to get care in different ways and some of them will not. Prior estimates showed the last bill, 22 million people would lose coverage over the course of a decade. This will probably be comparable to that. It could actually be a higher number than that. But we are will not know until the vote is supposed to happen.

MOORE: Rick, did you just say Obamacare isn't financially crumbling? I mean, my goodness, look at the premium increases of people. You should go out and talk to real people who cannot afford the premiums. I know people who have seen two to three, $4,000 increase on their premium. If you are looking at a 40 or $50,000 income, those are giant costs. And people have to drop their care. So, what are you saying is exactly what people said, what you are saying about Obamacare though is exactly what liberals said about why welfare reform wouldn't work? And we saw 50 percent reduction in the number of people on welfare. Got them in jobs. And we met governors, Republican governors, Democratic governors, come up with you know, different solutions. And they learn from each other and they controlled costs. And it was a great solution. And I love this idea of passing it onto states and letting governors and state legislatures figure it out. Massachusetts is not the same as Texas. Texas will come up with the kinds of reforms that get their citizens. And Massachusetts can have a single-payer system if they want to. I mean, why not let the states do it?

BALDWIN: Stephen, what about -- let me ask you about the key pieces where people's ears really perk up, is on pre-existing conditions. That's a huge piece of this. And Republicans say yes, they will be protected, but it's my understanding that the bill will actually give states the ability to let insurers raise prices on those with pre- existing conditions.

MOORE: Well, what you will have to do is have some kind of special fund so the people with pre-existing conditions are protected against price increases. But on the other hand, what happened in Obamacare the disaster of Obamacare is they put people with pre-existing conditions in the insurance pool with everyone else and that's what led to the big increases in costs. That's why so many people are healthy are basically saying, look, I don't want Obamacare. I'll pay the penalty. I can't ford the high costs of Obamacare. Because I'm relatively healthy and I don't want to pay for somebody who has high health care costs. People want insurance for their own families, not for other people's families.

NEWMAN: So how does turning this over to a state government solve the problem? States had the opportunity to solve this problem before Obamacare passed in 2010. We had all of these problems, costs were too high, ordinary families can't afford typical care. All of these problems existed before Obamacare and states didn't solve the problem. Only states that addressed the problem was Massachusetts.

BALDWIN: You get your response, Stephen, and we've got to go.

MOORE: It's a good question. Here's why, because states don't have an incentive to control the costs. The more they waste on Medicaid the more money they get from the federal government. By block granting it, they now have an incentive, Rick, to really control costs and make it much more affordable.

BALDWIN: The deadline for Republicans --

NEWMAN: And they're just going to spend less.

BALDWIN: We shall see. Stephen Moore, Rick Newman, thank you for the healthy debate on health care.

Let's get more on reaction that's coming into president's speech this morning at the United Nation with a simple yet resounding message. I will always put America first.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Major portions of the world are in conflict, and some, in fact, are going to hell. But the powerful people in this room under the guidance and auspices of the United Nations can solve many of these vicious hand complex problems.

If the righteous many do not confront the wicked few, then evil will triumph. When decent people in nations become bystanders to history, the forces of destruction only gather power and strength.


BALDWIN: With me now is CNN's Senior political analyst, David Gergen. A former adviser to four presidents. David Gergen, always a pleasure to see you, sir. You watched the speech. Just first, just overarching big picture thought. How did he do?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think it was better than some of the U.N. believers thought it would be. But it was still bristling with militaristic threats against North Korea --

BALDWIN: Venezuela. [15:55:00] GERGEN: -- Venezuela. It also had this notion of sovereignty. We come so far from when the United Nations was first organized by the United States in San Francisco. It was regarded as a major investment by the United States and international leadership and combined with other nations, would keep the world more peaceful. We have come a long way from that dream. And I think Donald Trump is sort of like represents we need to, you know, this is not serving America's interest. He feels that very strongly.

BALDWIN: He talked, you mentioned Iran, the deadline, the vacation is September 15, that will be here in a blink. I thought he didn't mince words on the notion of the U.S. pulling out. Talking to Christiane Amanpour, who spoke to the French President Macron, hoping to grab the president's ear again this week to try to talk him out of that. How do you think that factors in though with what he's trying to get the world do to get behind him on a nuclear North Korea? Yet he's trying to pull out of this nuclear deal with Iran?

GERGEN: That's a very, very good question. And I think what was missing from the speech, most clearly was a long-term vision and a long-term strategy. It's like every problem is considered just as a problem in and of itself but not in relationship to everything else.

BALDWIN: Which is how the world works.

GERGEN: Which is how the world works. And I think that other nations find that frustrating. Because they keep looking for a vision that president Trump has, a strategy, and then a sense of what is the United States, what role of leadership are we going to play. Because everyone has depended on us for so long for leadership, but it's been very destabilizing, frankly, to have this happen. But the thing that really surprised me on the speech was Iran -- I mean North Korea. He ratcheted it up.

BALDWIN: Destroy.

GERGEN: The rhetoric today in ways we have not seen an American president do. First of all, calling him rocket man, which was like a taunt.

BALDWIN: Apparently reaching out to Elton John. But go ahead.

GERGEN: Yes. So, but then going to say we'll destroy the country.

BALDWIN: 25 million people.

GERGEN: Right, 25 million people. Heretofore it's been what the threat has been for the United States his we're going to decapitate the regime. If you are not careful, we are going to come in and wipe out this regime and we'll put a new regime in place. Now he's moved from just decapitating the regime to destroying the country, destroying the whole country. We have never heard that kind of threat before. And that is exceedingly worry some. And I think it's going to rattle some cages once again. But how do you -- the question we ask. Here theretofore when we've had presidents who've been trying to deal with very, very difficult problems, they go out and round up allies and coalition of the willing to sort of be supportive. Here we are lone ranger in this thing.

BALDWIN: It seems a little bit I think maybe to a point you made a second ago. I was listening to Dana Bash when I can. And Dana Bash made this point --

GERGEN: We all do.

BALDWIN: -- and she was talking to a senior -- we all do. We all should. Talking to senior administration official saying it was very Trumpian the speech in a sense that it is who he is. He would say to another country. Listen, you do you. We're going to do us. You do you. Do your thing. And until you mess with us, we are cool.

GERGEN: Right. Right. That has been -- well, that has been the view. But traditionally American foreign policy has said what is the big mega problem facing the world. And how do we round up enough international support to take care of that problem?

BALDWIN: You don't feel like he's doing that?

GERGEN: Remember when Saddam went to Kuwait and it was the George H.W. Bush regime and James Baker was Secretary of State. Baker went around to every nation, not only asking for moral support, but asking for money. And they wound up paying for it.

BALDWIN: Which is what you think the president should be doing?

GERGEN: I think we need allies. And I think to do that you have to believe in international institutions.

BALDWIN: David Gergen, always a pleasure. Thank you very much. Thanks, for being with me. "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts now.