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Anthony Bourdain Commits Suicide; Suicides of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade Examined; Discussion of G7 Summit and Trump-Kim Meeting; Interview with Rep. Carlos Curbelo. Aired 8-8:30a ET
Aired June 8, 2018 - 8:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[08:00:00] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: -- bestselling author and award winning host of "Parts Unknown," our friend, Anthony Bourdain has died. For the last five years on CNN Tony travelled across the globe doing what he loved. He uncovered little known places. He explored food, and through food he celebrated diverse cultures. CNN's senior media correspondent Brian Stelter joins us with all of the breaking details. And I know that they're just coming in. Brian, we haven't had much time to adjust to this horrible news.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: All of us here at CNN are experiencing this, along with our viewers at the same time. And it is just starting to sink in. It is a heartbreaking loss for all of us.
Anthony was in France. He was working on an upcoming episode of "Parts Unknown." Right now the 11th season of this award winning series has been airing on CNN. He was working on an upcoming season. He was found dead in his hotel room in Strasbourg, France. He was found by one of his close friends. The production crew was all there about to start another day's work.
We do know that he took his own life. Beyond that we don't have many more details. I can share with you a statement from CNN on behalf of the network saying "It is with extraordinary sadness we confirm the death of our friend and colleague Anthony. His love of great adventure, new friends, fine food and drink, and remarkable stories of the world made him a unique storyteller. His talents never cease to amaze us and we will miss him very much. Our thoughts and prayers are with his daughter and his family at this incredibly difficult time."
Obviously, we waited until we made sure his family was notified before sharing this news. You think about Anthony and what he accomplished first as a chef, then as a bestselling author, then as an international television icon, someone who used the world of culinary arts to tell stories about life and love, to tell stories about humanity. He both delighted viewers and challenged viewers. We both learned so much and laughed so much while watching "Parts Unknown."
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Someone put it this morning he was a hero of human curiosity, which I think is a lovely way to put it, because his whole life he was traveling and he was trying and he was asking. And yes, he was a chef and he wrote about food. And that was I think the continuing thread through this, but it was about so much more. CAMEROTA: Listen, it's just a horrible, horrible shock on every
level, because on his show there is a celebration of life and all sorts of different cultures. And we just saw him recently. He was here to talk about his upcoming season. And he was telling me about -- listen, he always was open to learning new things. And on every single segment, every single new episode he did learn new things. And we did too through him and through his experience. And the idea that he was suffering somehow is really heartbreaking.
BERMAN: How do you put it so well? What he did was to celebrate life. So how do you reconcile someone whose every fiber was a celebration of life, how do you reconcile that with the news that it was a death by suicide? It's very, very hard for us this morning. I know it's very hard for everyone who loved his work. From the beginning his writing, they lived what it was like to be in a New York kitchen through him. And he told us?
CAMEROTA: We saw how the sausage was made. "Kitchen Confidential" became a runaway bestseller, as you put it. And it was because he peeled back the curtain. And he was so authentic. Here he is with Anderson. There are so many people that he sat down with and had authentic, genuine conversations with because he was curious about them and about their lives, Brian.
STELTER: People still read "Kitchen Confidential" 18 years later. It's that kind of book. He wrote other books as well. Even on his program on CNN, his writing came through in every episode. He was such a poet. He had such a gift with words. He was truly one of a kind. That's one of the reasons why he's won practically every award in the television business. In 2013, the first year his program was here on CNN, he won the Peabody Award. He was recognized for his genius then. And in his acceptance speech he talked a bit about what he tried to do with questions about food, about cooking. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTHONY BOURDAIN: We ask very simple questions. What makes you happy? What do you eat? What do you like to cook? And everywhere in the world we go and ask these simple questions, we tend to get some really astonishing answers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STELTER: One of the reasons why he was really one of a kind.
BERMAN: So many things that Anthony has said that are indelible. Let me read you one and then I'll tell you what he told me once. The one that I'm reading right now is I'm an advocate for anything, it's to move as far as you can, as much as you can across the ocean or simply across the river. Walk in someone else's shoes or at least eat their food. It's a plus for everybody.
[08:05:08] And again, he was a human contradiction, right? He loved food. He wrote about food. He lived food. But he thought we obsessed about food too much. One of the things he once said to me I wish people would stop taking pictures of food and have more sex, because what he really wanted to do was to show people life.
STELTER: And he was able to do that when he was in Thailand, when he was halfway around the world from here in New York, or when he was closer to home, he was doing it all the time. He has so many memorable episodes. One that just came to my mind was his time with President Obama when he was sitting down having a meal. It was one of the most engaging interviews of a president I've ever seen precisely because of the setting and because of the question.
BERMAN: Was it Hanoi?
STELTER: Yes, Vietnam during the president's trip there. And you were able to see so much about both men when they sat down together this way.
CAMEROTA: Right, because when you eat with somebody, it is an intimate experience, John. I mean, that is -- breaking bread together, that is a bridging of a divide, a building of a relationship. And it does end up being intimate. He saw that. He and I bonded about New Jersey, our beloved home state, and Provincetown, an adopted town that we both loved, a vacation spot, a summer vacation spot.
But Anthony was interesting because I always felt that while he was a big presence on TV, he was an introvert. I felt that he was a natural introvert and that he wasn't somebody -- he shared his passion about food. But I didn't think he was somebody who made a lot of sort of just random chitchat or small talk. I thought he eschewed all of that. And when I would see him on the street, and bound up to him and gave him a big smile, he was always a little -- he was --
STELTER: A little reserved?
CAMEROTA: He was reserved. He didn't wear all that on his sleeve. And so the idea that he was able to share some of his demons, that he had fought drug addiction, that he had fought heroin, everybody really appreciates out there because to know that somebody else went through and came out the other side is really helpful. And obviously I think all of us just feel like we wished we had known whatever was happening in the past days.
BERMAN: Obviously, this comes on the heels of the news about Kate Spade, just a few days after we learned that she took her own life. Dr. Jodi Gold is with us right now. She's a psychiatrist, director of the Gold Center of Mind, Health, and Wellness. It also comes on the heels of news -- the CDC released news that the suicide rate is up 25 percent since?
CAMEROTA: 1999. Let me read a little bit more of those -- 25 states have suicide rate increases of more than 30 percent, 54 percent, this is the part that really baffled me and I find so vexing, 54 percent of people who died by suicide didn't have a known mental health condition. In other words, it would have been hard for loved ones to see what was coming. Jodi, what do you say this morning?
DR. JODI GOLD, DIRECTOR, GOLD CENTER FOR MIND, HEALTH, AND WELLNESS: It's true. I'm so sorry for your loss. I feel sorry for the family but I also feel sorry for the CNN community. You all were close to him. You all travelled, you all worked very hard. And I think it's important at this moment that you all are taking care of yourself because, as we know, this stuff is contagious, and that people that work hard and travel can be isolated, and so it's really important at this moment you all are taking good care of yourself.
BERMAN: So the question -- and you had this conversation with Alisyn just the other day. Kate Spade, whose life who seemed so outwardly fabulous. What could be better than to make handbags for everyone fabulous. Anthony Bourdain, what could be better than to travel the world and eat with everyone you want to eat with. So how do you explain that?
GOLD: To be clear, success does not protect you from depression. It doesn't protect you from suicide. I think we'd all like to. Yesterday, I think, we were speaking about the fact that what was striking people about Kate Spade is that you didn't think she fit the bill of someone that would kill themselves. She was successful and glamorous. And so was Anthony. He was authentic and real and seemed to embrace life. So it doesn't seem like the bill, the type of person that kills themselves.
But to be honest, there isn't one type. Two thirds of people that kill themselves have a diagnosis of depression or anxiety, but a third of them do not. And a lot of that is because they haven't gotten the kind of help they need. The increase in suicide is so sad. One of the things that strikes me here and worries me is that I do think this is a similar suicide to Kate Spade in terms of the method of the way he killed himself.
CAMEROTA: And I want to ask you about that, because when you say it's contagious, do you mean suicide is contagious?
CAMEROTA: OK, I want to talk about this, because that's part of why we don't talk about it on air because we fear copycats and we fear a contagion, so we don't want to talk about it. But then that leads to the stigma. So this is a dicey area. So how should we handle it?
GOLD: That's why we have to talk about it in the appropriate and thoughtful way.
[08:10:00] The solution is not to not talk about it because we stigmatize it. But at the same time we have to not sort of glamorize it or idealize it. I don't love that 13 reasons show that's on that glamorizes suicide. We have to talk about it. It's contagious in the sense that people get obsessed and preoccupied with celebrity or suicides that are close to them. And it does increase the risk.
So in terms of the Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, if you have friends or family members that really can't get over this, these suicides. Of course right now everybody is in mourning and that's appropriate. I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about in a few weeks, the people that really are obsessing over it, they're talking about death all the time, that is a risk factor and those are the people you should be reaching out to.
So it does happen in clusters and we see it all the time. We see it in celebrities, we see it in schools and communities. NYU there was just recently two suicides very close together. So we really see it. So that's why we really have to talk about it and start destigmatizing it. So the deal is that depression is real. There are always warning signs.
CAMEROTA: Like what? What should people be looking for.
GOLD: So they should be looking for any change in behavior. For instance, I'm not sure if Anthony's social media history --
BERMAN: Four days ago were the last tweets.
GOLD: Is that unusual for him?
BERMAN: Hard to know.
CAMEROTA: He was out shooting.
BERMAN: He could have needed to go to work instead of being on social media.
GOLD: So I think if you have a friend or family member that's on Twitter five times a day, and you're a little bit worried about them and all of a sudden they go to radio silence, that would be a risk factor. I'm not suggesting everyone who takes a healthy break from social media is at risk for suicide, but what we do see is a change in behavior.
BERMAN: Brian, another thing obviously has to be substance abuse. Anthony talked willingly and openly about his battle with heroin in the 1980s. It was a big part of his life.
STELTER: Yes, and he was candid about that. I think on the program, obviously, we see him drinking, celebrating, having a good time. There were certainly times in the past where he was drinking too much. I don't know if you would say that's a risk factor as well at certain points.
GOLD: Substance abuse is an absolute risk factor. The truth is even among people that don't have a diagnosis of mental health we find that there's always a risk factor. For instance, a loss, a trauma, getting fired, a break up, feeling bad about yourself, too much drinking and substance abuse, all of those things, you're going to see something I think as we unpeel this Anthony Bourdain thing, we'll see.
BERMAN: We don't know.
STELTER: We don't know.
BERMAN: Again, we just don't know. He did love to live. He says your body is not a temple, it's an amusement park. Enjoy the ride. You can look at that a lot of different ways. STELTER: But I was thinking about the stigma point. I don't think I've told my wife this, but I have an uncle that I never knew because he killed himself before I was born. And it's a family secret, never talked about. I didn't even know until I was older. I'm thinking about that stigma issue that affects so many families. It applies to so many families. We have to be able to talk about suicide but carefully.
STELTER: Because it also seems risky.
GOLD: Yes, but talking about suicide does not cause people to kill themselves. Not talking about suicide might. So I think yesterday we were discussing the fact that you've got to ask people. Everyone wants to respect privacy. If you're worried about a friend or family member you should ask them if they're not feeling good. You can even say have you thought about hurting or killing yourself.
CAMEROTA: And then if they yes, what do you do?
GOLD: I think if someone said yes to that your red flags go up and it's time to get them more support. It doesn't mean that necessarily you have to go the emergency room, but it does mean that you need call a therapist, you need to call a doctor, you need to call a family member. We know that isolation and alienation is a big risk factor for suicide, and just connecting and spending time with them.
CAMEROTA: And also I just want to say that depression, obviously, is so common, OK? It's so common, we need to remove the stigma from that, too, because when you're in it you think you think it will never lift. I've had dark days. I've had bouts of -- in my 20s and early 30s, I've had a dark cloud that I thought wasn't going to lift. And sometimes it can be situational, a break up, a loss of a job. But those things do change. And time changes. And medication helps. And therapy helps. There are things out there for people who think that they are in just a downward spiral. There are things that can lift the cloud. We need to talk about that, also.
GOLD: Suicide is preventable. It's one of the top 10 causes of death in our country and it's actually preventable. One of the things to your point is it passes. When you're depressed you don't think it's going to pass. That's why most successful, completed suicides are committed by firearms. One of the things that concerns me about that is the waiting time. You can impulsively get a gun and hurt yourself. So if you have a friend or family member that is depressed, that just lost their job, that is drinking too much, that might be a moment when you need to keep the firearms locked up or another place because it passes. But if you impulsively take your life, there's nothing we can do. So the message out there is to wait and to connect and to call the suicide hotline and to know it's going to pass.
BERMAN: I want to put the hotline up one more time for people to see this. It's the suicide prevention lifeline, 1-800-273-8255. Call it. Call it. There's nothing wrong with calling and asking for help.
BERMAN: All right, President Trump due to leave any minute now for the G7 summit in Canada. That is where he will come face to face with U.S. right now who are very disappointed with the United States and the Trump administration stance on trade.
I want to bring in CNN Political Director David Chalian, CNN Global Affairs Analyst Tony Blinken, former Deputy Secretary of State in the Obama Administration. First, David, I guess I want to just set the scene for what is about to happen. He's about to go to Canada, to Quebec city, you know, Emmanuel Macron, the President of France, Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada have been openly criticizing the president before he even left for the U.S. stance on trade, very unusual.
DAVID CHALIAN, POLITICAL DIRECTOR, CNN: Yes, and of course all eyes are seeing, so what is the counter punch from President Trump once he's up there, how will he handle getting such a brush back from U.S. allies up there?
John, did you ever think you would see a U.S. president have to navigate a tricky scenario with the G7 in Canada? These -- we are in different times here, and what I think you see, and Tony will speak to this too I'm sure, but what I think you're seeing here is the allies of the Unites States sort of calling out and saying OK, if you really want to pursue isolationist policies, we are going to show the world that we can isolate you. Now, I don't know that that will be a fully successful strategy or if they're just calling President Trump's bluff but clearly that's what they're trying to do is expose his pursuit of isolationism.
CAMEROTA: Tony, here's what President Macron said about that very thing in a tweet yesterday. The American president may not mind being isolated but neither do we mind signing a six country agreement if need be. Because these six countries represent values, they represent an economic market, which has the weight of history behind it and which is now a true international force. How do you see it?
TONY BLINKEN, FMR DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE: You know, this really is very strong proof that America first is America alone. It's not just that our allies are disappointed or there's a disagreement, it's palpable anger. And it's anger over this tariff war that President Trump's initiated, a trade war with our allies, but it's also on the foundation of pulling out of a series of agreements -- the Iran nuclear deal, the Paris Climate Accord, the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, that matter to them.
And doing it in a way that totally discounted their own interests. And so now we have a situation where, you know, the president wanted to avoid going to the G7, he's now cutting short his time there. It's a little bit like "Mean Girls" in reverse. So it's going to be a very difficult atmosphere.
But this matters because -- it matters because first, there's now a trade war in the offing (ph) with our allies. They're retaliating, they're not retreating. And it also makes it more difficult to work with them on common challenges, whether it's Russia, whether it's China, whether it's Iran.
BERMAN: Let me tell you something that just happened, let me tell you where we are in the morning. The president has left the White House, he walked to Marine One, he's on his way to Joint Base Andrews right now, they've got an Air Force One to fly to Canada. On the way to Marine One, he did talk to reporters. Waiting to turn that tape around so you can all see it.
But our understanding is that one of the things that he said is that he would like to see Russia brought back in to the G8. There's the G7, which doesn't include Russia. When Russia's there, it's the G8. Russia was expelled, basically kicked out after it annexed Crimea. And now the president of the United States, in the midst of this anger, as you put it, Tony, between U.S. allies is now suggesting that Russia -- he wants Russia back in. What do you make of it, Tony?
BLINKEN: Well, it's pretty remarkable that the president clearly has a better relationship with Russia than he does with our closest partners and allies in Europe and Japan. That's a profound problem. And if he wants to set up a -- you know, a G6 versus two, that would be the way to do it. But that's not in America's interests. We need to be solidifying the base with our closest partners and allies, not alienating them. Unfortunately, that's what he's doing.
CAMEROTA: I think he also --
CHALIAN: Oh, sorry.
CAMEROTA: Well, very quickly. Did he also say, John, since you're following this, if we can't make a deal, we'll terminate NAFTA. That's what -- did you just report that?
BERMAN: That's another one of the things that we're understanding came out of that talk. That -- to me, he has said things like that before, David. The Russia thing is a little bit new and stark, given where we are.
CHALIAN: Yes. And -- and go back and pull the statements from 2014 from Republicans, his own party members, when Russia was kicked out of the G8 because of the annexing of Crimea. Just line up every statement from all the Republicans on Capitol Hill who were so supportive of that move, who were so eager to make sure that Putin and Russia received some punishment.
This is just a dramatic departure from where his own party was just a few years ago.
CAMEROTA: And how will they respond, David? So when they hear this news, how will the Republicans in Congress respond?
CHALIAN: You know, I think you'll see a mixed bag, Alisyn. I think you'll see some Republicans express concern over this proposal being floated. But you will see others -- and I -- I'm willing to bet you'll see some who were very supportive of this a few years ago who either will remain silent or just sort of step back and allow the president's proposal to run it's course.
But I doubt you're going ot see some uprising even from the most ardent Putin critics inside his own party sort of pushing back on the president.
BERMAN: One other bit of news when he was talking to reporters. The president said he is thinking about pardons, continue (ph) to think about pardons. Our reporting is that he wants to issue as many as several dozen more. And one person, he suggested, he might pardon posthumously is Muhammad Ali. I'm not sure exactly what he means in this case.
Ali obviously wan convicted at one point of evading the draft during the Vietnam War. There was a Supreme Court case that ruled in Ali's favor and he was able to go back and box again. But the president not just thinking about pardons but thinking about it in a celebrity context. We'll have a chance to talk about that more. I don't want to waste time with Tony, while we have him here, thinking about diplomacy.
But, you know, you have the G7, now you have talking about Russia and the president clearly thinking about Russia and also North Korea. In some ways he said friendlier words about Kim Jong-un in the last two or three days than he has about U.S. allies in the G7.
BLINKEN: You know, John, he's setting off to Singapore after the -- after the G7, everyone should want him to succeed. But the success needs to be based on the merits, not on hype and exaggeration.
The danger is that the president so wants a success from this summit, he's built it up so much, he's built up the belief that he can do what his predecessors didn't, that he's likely to declare a victory even though the substance is not necessarily there.
At best, we're going to get some very broad agreement on principles and some commitments from North Korea, but we've been there before, and I hope he revisits the history.
In 2005, in 2012, the North Koreans made commitments on denuclearization, they didn't follow through. So the proof is really going to be over time to see if they make good on any commitments they actually make in Singapore.
So the other danger is the more he hypes the success, the more it's a green light to China and to other countries to take the economic pressure off of North Korea, pressure that the president effectively helped to build up.
That would be a mistake. Kim goes into this summit having already succeeded in getting a meeting with the president of the United States. His grandfather, his father both wanted that, they didn't get it.
He gets legitimacy from that, and the president's already talking about taking the pressure off. So I hope he approaches this in a very deliberate way, doesn't get ahead of himself and recognizes this is, at best, the start of a process, not the end.
CAMEROTA: I'm not sure revisiting history is the president's strong suit, just ask the War of 1812. OK, anyway, Tony Blinken, Dave Chalian, thank you.
BERMAN: Thanks guys.
CAMEROTA: OK so moderate republicans are trying to force a vote on immigration to protect the DREAMers. Nothing was happening in Congress, now it seems as though something might be, the impass (ph) might be broken, so we'll see if there's a lawmaker behind this move next.
BERMAN: By the way, the War of 1812 could not be reached for comment.
CAMEROTA: Moderate House republicans fed up with inaction on immigration reform need just three more lawmakers to sign their petition to force a vote on the House floor. The House Speaker Paul Ryan is pushing for a republican compromise, he says, instead.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
PAUL RYAN, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, UNITED STATES: A discharged petition will result in no law. This effort to get our members to come to a common ground is the best chance at law, and our members, they're not here just to pass the time.
They're here to make law, to make a difference, to fix problems.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
OK, joining us now is one of the lawmakers behind that immigration petition, republican Congressman Carlos Curbelo of Florida. Congressman, thank you very much for being here. Just a quick warning, I may have to interrupt you at some point because the president is getting ready to head off to the G7 and we want to get his comments.
But in the mean time, let's you and I talk. Are you on the verge of a breakthrough today?
REP. CARLOS CURBELO (R), FL: Alisyn, good morning from the Capitol, where many are sad today as the news of Anthony Bourdain, but where there is a ray of optimism when it comes to immigration --