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Donald Trump Speaks In Des Moines, Iowa; Pope Francis Arrives In Cuba; U.N. World Food Programme Struggles To Continue Providing Assistance To Millions In Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, and Egypt. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired September 19, 2015 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:00] DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know we lost some great people recently. Great, great people. Really highly decorated military people that know how to wear their weapons and they were in a free-zone, gun-free zone and they were killed. One badly wounded, but killed. And if they had guns, that wouldn't have happened. Could happened, maybe one instead of five. But they were killed. And it is really a sad situation. So we would give the guns back to the military. It is hard to believe we're even talking about it. Hard to believe. We even talking about it.
TRUMP: And you might have heard. You know, it is sort of interesting because these polls came out. And they said Trump won the debate. The polls say Trump won the debate. And they say that the newest poll just came out this morning. Trump, 36. Not on the - they just the big deal. Trump, 36. Carson, 12. And then Reuters just came out, Trump, 35, Carson, 14. Jeb is eight and he wants common core.
So when people here, he want common core, I think. And he is week on immigration. Those two things I think are not so good. So we are honored by that. I will tell you we will keep that second amendment.
And I was just going to say little stories that in -- when we had the two prisoners escape, rough guys, had guns, very dangerous, upstate New York, the came the first people ever to escape from that prison, maximum security, a woman and her husband were on television. She was petrified. But she was always was against guns, always against. And the husband wanted the guns for protection and maybe for other things, but for protection. A lot of them like it for recreation. But we are talking for protection. And the woman was always fighting him and always fighting him.
When the two prisoners escaped and they were in the vicinity of that house in that area, that neighborhood, she felt so good having those guns. And she went on television. She said all my life I been fighting my husband. And now I realized he was right. And I thought I would share that story. So I tell you that story. Have a good time.
KANE ROBINSON, FORMER NATIONAL PRESIDENT OF THE NRA, 2003-2005: The federal renewable fuel standard displaces Middle East oil with homegrown domestic fuels. As president, will you support our national security with the renewable fuel standard?
TRUMP: OK. Yes. And I have very strong yes. There is no reason not to. We need it. We need every form we can get. Ethanol is a terrific especially with the new process. And I am totally in favor of ethanol 100 percent. And I will support it.
ROBINSON: Religious liberty is under attack. What will you do to ensure people of faith don't suffer recriminations for speaking out or acting upon matters of deeply held religious beliefs?
TRUMP: Well, I think you can see where I'm coming from. And I feel so strongly. In fact, it was mentioned in my second paragraph. Religious liberty is so important. And I will fight for your liberty like nobody can fight. Because I'm a good fighter. I will tell you that. I'm a good fighter. And I win. I really win a lot. And we will win. Not this, you know, stop with all talk no action politicians. So get up here. They will give you 20 minutes on how they are going to solve the problems having to do with religious liberty and other things and nothing will ever happen. I know them all. It's not going to happen. I will fight and get it done.
You know, one thing coming over in the car with some of the folks in the car who are really friends with almost all of you, great people. I was talk about the word Christmas. You go to a store in New York City. They don't have Christmas anymore. They don't put it up. They don't use the word.
You take your boy to Macy's and you take your boy to these store, they don't have the word. And I want Christmas we used. I want people to be able to celebrate Christmas, alright? And somebody said, well, that's not the biggest part. I said let me tell you. That is a big part. That's a big part.
You know, what they are doing? Every year it gets worse and worse. And before you know it you won't be able to go to church the way they are doing it. And we don't have people fighting for us. We have nobody fighting for us. Do you know that one thing that I have to say a person who is a very, very top of national security, one of the top people in this country said to me something that I was amazed at.
Over the last couple of years, if you're in Syria and if you're a Muslim, it is very easy to come into the United States. Now, that's free the obviously the horrible thing that is going on right now with the migration. But I'm talking about over the last few years. If you're a Muslim and you come in, you can come in easy. If you're a Christian from Syria where they cut off your head, where they drown you, where they do things that you are talking medieval times. You wouldn't believe. But if you're a Christian from Syria, it is almost impossible, in fact it is virtually impossible to come into the United States, OK. And that's the way we have our country now. That's what we have been reduced to. Believe me, I will protect you. And I will fight for you. And nobody
will fight better and nobody will get you more. And I'm one of you. Just remember that. So thank you all very much. I appreciate it. It's been a great honor. Thank you. Thank you very much.
[19:05:51] POPPY HARLOW, CNN HOST: All right, there you have it. Donald Trump live in Des Moines, Iowa tonight addressing a big crowd and quite a lot of applause at the base in Freedom Coalition there in Des Moines. Key, key for the evangelical votes that are so critical in the Iowa caucuses.
We just want to take through you what we heard from Donald Trump. Opening these remarks first time we have heard from him in person since he did not correct someone in a town hall that he host odd Thursday who called President Obama a Muslim and quote "not an American." He went ahead and he read the five tweets that he put out today.
The first one, am I morally obligated to defend the president every time someone says something bad or controversial about him? I don't think so. That was met with loud, loud applause and cheer.
He also said to this group of many of them evangelicals, my first priority as president in my administration will be to protect religious freedom. He answered about four or five questions coming from Kane Robinson, the national president of the NRA from 2003-2005, also a former Iowa GOP state chair. Questions on everything from Israel to the Iran nuclear deal, also about the second amendment, and our founding fathers. He was asked about ethanol. And he said he was a big supporter of ethanol. And that's huge in the state of Iowa. So we are going to analyze all of this with our panel, our political expert. Stay with us. Much more of what they think about Trump's remarks next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[19:10:04] TRUMP: Well, I had quite a couple of days, as you noticed. I did a very innocent town hall with about 3,000 people, at least. And the first question I said, this can only happen to me. You all know what the first question is. And the press is going crazy. And they all wanted to see me. And I said, you know, for the first time in my life I got in trouble for not saying anything. I didn't say anything. And I was in big trouble all over the place. FOX, CBS, CNN, every newscast. It was the biggest news story. And I even beat out the Pope in every single - can you believe? The only time I will ever beat out the Pope.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: All right. Let's get some analysis now. CNN politics reporter M.J. Lee, live in Iowa where we heard Donald Trump just speak. M.J., what do you make of what we heard from Donald Trump tonight?
M.J. LEE, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Well, Poppy, we just heard Donald Trump make a very strong appeal to the evangelical voters. Of course, this is important in a state like Iowa where there is a pretty sizable evangelical and born-again Christian crowd, probably in that event as well. He talked about the fact that the Christian community, that their religious liberty what that stake and the he would be the candidate to really protect their religious liberties. He ended the speech actually by saying I am one of you. Just remember that. But clearly something that is on his mind. And an appeal that he is really trying to make.
This is particularly important as we have seen in the polls recently. Ben Carson, who talks about his faith, very openly on the campaign trail, really catching up to Donald Trump both in the state of Iowa as well as nationally. Something that Trump and Carson have traded barge over recently. So it is clear that in a forum like this it is something that Trump really wants to emphasize that he too is a Christian. And that he wants to be the candidate that can really protect their desires and their needs.
HARLOW: And M.J., it is interesting. He said my first priority of my administration will be to protect religious freedom. I want to play for you some of what Donald Trump said back in July. This is when he was asked if he ever asks God for forgiveness. Let's roll it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I'm not sure I have. I just go and try to do a better job from there. I don't think so. I think if I do something wrong, I think I just try to make it right. I don't bring God into the picture. I don't. Now, when I take, you know, when we go in church and when I drink my little wine, which is about the only wine I drink, and have my little cracker, I guess that is a form of asking for forgiveness. And I do that as often as possible because I feel cleansed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: That compared to what we heard from Donald Trump tonight really playing to the evangelical voter, very different, right, M.J.?
LEE: Absolutely. I think when he made a comment about drinking the little wine and having little cracker, a lot of people sort of raised their eyebrows and thought, you know, maybe this is the moment where his poll numbers start to slip and obviously did not happen.
I do wonder, though, with Ben Carson and his numbers going up, Ben Carson playing (INAUDIBLE) Trump whether it is more of a concern for someone like Trump to really talk about the fact that he is a religious man, and that he is a spiritual person and, you know, trying to really appeal to this evangelical crowd which will be very important in determining whoever gets the Republican nomination.
HARLOW: Absolutely right. M.J. Lee, thank you very much in Iowa for us tonight.
Let's keep talking about this. Donald Trump just wrapping up those marks at the Iowa Faith and Freedom coalition in Des Moines. I want to bring in our four political insiders for their take. Ben Ferguson, host of the "Ben Ferguson Show," Lou Gargiulo, the Trump co-chair of Rockingham County in New Hampshire. Tara Setmeyer is here. She is the former Republican communications director on Capitol Hill. And Kayleigh McEnany is with us. She is the contributor to the Blaze, founder of realratingsconservative.com and third year at Yale -- how could I say Yale? Harvard law school. Please forgive me.
Thank you all for being here.
Ben, to you first. I thought it was very interesting when he said and let me read it here. He said that when John McCain was asked a similar question about President Obama from someone in a town hall in 2008, that person called the president an Arab, Muslim. John McCain stopped that person and corrected them. Donald Trump said he didn't and he doesn't have a moral obligation to. He explained it tonight and he actually said quote "McCain ripped a microphone out of a woman's hands which I think was a little harsh, don't you think?" And he got applause.
BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. Look, I disagree with him on this one. I agree with what he said earlier. He said do I have a moral obligation to basically run around and correct everything that someone says about maybe incorrect against another politician, no. But when it is in your event that you are in-charge of, where you're paying for it, and you're the one that bought the mic time and you're the one that invited someone and somebody at your event crosses a line, it is your obligation and duty, especially when you're saying I want to be the leader of the free world, to at the bare minimum lead in that situation to say, look, I even looked into Barack Obama's birth certificate. Remember, Hello? And you can make a joke about it.
Well, let's be clear. He is an American. Remember, this guy said he is not American. And I think that's where Donald Trump really could hurt himself in this campaign. If you want to be a leader, you have to do this at your campaign event when you're the guy in charge. That's just the bare minimum of being a true leader.
[19:15:32] HARLOW: So Kayleigh, let me go to you. I see you shaking your head there. And remember, Donald Trump then said we need this question. And the man in the audience proceeded.
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, FOUNDER OF REALREAGANCONSERVATIVE.COM: Yes. But then he did say this is my first question and last and looked to the side, you know. You're acting as if he acquiesced with the comment. He didn't at all. Donald Trump was silent. He didn't want to get involved is in this issue. I don't blame him. This is not a political issue. It has nothing to do with policy. If Barack Obama wants to defend his faith, Barack Obama can do that. That's not his role. It is not his job. He has no obligation to do that. And he is certainly didn't act or comment.
FERGUSON: Is Barack Obama an American?
MCENANY: Yes. But it's not Donald Trump's job.
FERGUSON: OK. Then, you should at least at the bare minimum correct that. I mean, it is your event.
MCENANY: It is not Donald Trump's job. He has to stick to the issues. Can you fault him for that?
FERGUSON: I expect leaders to be classy when it comes to these types of things. Maybe that's a better way of putting it. But if you're at my house and someone says that you're not an American citizen and comes after you, I'm going to defend you whether you're there or not. It is because it's the classy. And true leaders take the high road and do the right thing, even if it may not get you the applause line at your event.
HARLOW: Let me jump in. Tara, Lou, I want you to weigh in. But do I want to play for our audience how John McCain handled a similar incident in 2008. Let's roll it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't trust Obama. I have read about hip. And he's not -- he's a -- he's an Arab.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: No, ma'am. He is a decent family man, citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues. And that's what this campaign is all about. He's not. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Lou, you are part of the Trump camp, the co-chair in Rockingham County, New Hampshire. Do you think Donald Trump could take a page from John McCain on that one or are you fully supportive of the way he handled it?
LOU GARGIULO, TRUMP CO-HAIR, ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, NEW HAMPSHIRE: I'm fully supportive of it. I was there on Thursday evening. I was two rows ahead of the individual who made those horrific comments. That individual was making personal attacks against Muslims. And Mr. Trump could hardly hear it. The room was at least 110 degrees with over 3,000 people there. And Mr. Trump was struggling to hear even the first part of the question. When he heard the second part of the question about Muslim extremist camps, he reacted in it and said it's something we should look into. But for people to second-guess what happened that night who were not here is ludicrous.
HARLOW: Hey, Lou. Let me just ask you this really quickly, Lou. And Tara, I will bring you in right after. He tweeted five times today about this and never tweeted he didn't hear it. Instead he said am I morally obligated to defend the president.
GARGIULO: I think his campaign manager came out clearly on that particular subject earlier today. I can tell you, I was there. He did not hear the first part of the question. It was very loud. And on the second part he came out and he stated his belief and that's we should investigate if there are in fact terrorist camps on the continental United States. And I think that's a very reasonable approach.
TARA SETMEYER, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Listen. Donald Trump's story on this has changed multiple times. See, the campaign had a day to think about what was the best way to react to this. Initially, they didn't say he didn't necessarily hear him. He just said just now, well, you know, because I didn't say anything that I was scrutinized for it. So which was it? If he - did he actually didn't him, and he would have said I didn't hear the question. If I had heard the question then I certainly would have corrected him for making those kind of misstatements.
I agree with Ben 100 percent on this. It's the classy way to handle it. Is Trump morally obligated, which is a good way for his campaign to come out, nice spin on that, to defend Obama every time someone says something offensive? No, of course, he isn't. But this is the problem here. This has opened up the issue again and giving the Democrats ammunition against the Republican Party where re-litigating now the whole birther thing. We have been over this so many years ago. And if anybody saw Hillary Clinton's response yesterday, she actually looked presidential. She was self-righteous. She was right there on the camera going on and on about how horrible and racists Republicans are because of things like this.
This in the long run just gives the Democrats ammunition. It is a flex from the actual issues. And here we are talk building Donald Trump in an issue that was litigated years ago already that should be put to rest instead of talking about the issues, talking about Hillary Clinton tanking in the polls.
[19:20:07] HARLOW: Hold that thought. All of you. Hold your thoughts. I promise you will get better during a commercial break. And you can see them right when we come back.
[19:23:45] HARLOW: Welcome back. Donald Trump just wrapping up remarks at the Iowa Faith and Freedom coalition's 15th annual family banquet, a presidential forum just a few moments ago in Des Moines, Iowa. This was the first campaign appearance by the Republican front- runner since Thursday night's town hall where he did not correct a supporter for calling President Obama a Muslim and quote "not an American." Trump read again his tweets from today addressing the controversy. He also talked about a quote "double standard" and how the United States deals with Muslims and Christians. Let's play it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: If you're a Muslim and you come in, you can come in easy. If you're a Christian from Syria where they cut off your head, where they drown you, where they do things that you're talk building medieval times, you wouldn't believe. But if you're a Christian from Syria, it's almost impossible -- in fact, it is virtually impossible to come into the United States. OK. And that's the way we have our country now. That's what we have been reduced to. Believe me, I will protect you and I will fight for you. And nobody will fight better and nobody will get you more.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:25:00] HARLOW: Donald Trump also calling the first priority of his administration should he become president protecting religious freedom. Back to our panel, CNN political commentators Tara Setmeyer, contributor and founder of realReaganconservative.com Kayleigh McEnany, CNN political commentator Ben Ferguson in Dallas. And we have the co-chair of the Trump campaign in Rockingham County, New Hampshire, Lou Gargiulo, with us.
He also attacked the media in this one saying, many of them, Lou, are dishonest. We notices that he just did not do the Q&A that was expected with reporters after that event. Usually, he is sort of first to take question. Any insight into that?
GARGIULO: No. Mr. Trump, though, has given more Q&As to reporters than any other candidate. Mrs. Clinton should be doing the same. She is finally starting to engage with the reporting community. But Mr. Trump is very good in that particular area.
I think Mr. Trump, if elected, will be a president for all people, you know. And Christians, Muslims and everyone else. And I think an issue of religious freedom in this country is under attack. And I think Mr. Trump is going to elevate that as a concern. Mr. Trump doesn't wear his religion on his sleeve, unlike some other people in the race. Mr. Trump is a very private person when it comes to religion. And I think that's good. I think the separation of church and state is a founding principle in this country. And Mr. Trump wants to hold that principle. But I do think he believes in the almighty. And I think that he will be a great supporter for Christians, Jews, Muslims and everyone else.
HARLOW: Tara, to you. When you look at these poll numbers, I think we can bring them up for our viewers, but this evangelical vote is so critical nationwide, but especially in Iowa. And in the last poll, what it shows is that Trump was actually trailing Dr. Ben Carson with the evangelical vote. What does something like tonight do for him in that respect?
SETMEYER: Well, the reason why Ben Carson is ahead with evangelicals is because they recognize that Ben Carson is authentic and sincere in his Christian beliefs. I mean, if Donald Trump was very dismissive - I mean, it was offensive to me as a Christian who believes in communion to have him talk about his little wine and little cracker like it is part of a comedy routine. That's a very serious. You are talking about the body of Christ here. It is like is a major tenet in Christianity. And he just kind of talked about it like. And forgiveness, that's another major thing. Asking for forgiveness from God, and he just, you know, blew that off.
Am I the only one tonight, when he walked out on his stage carrying his bible, that rolled their eyes saying you've got to be kidding me. So this is what he does. He goes to a Christian event with the evangelicals, think he is going to go on stage holding his bible and showing a picture of his community and saying, see, I'm just like you. Could it be any more pandering? That's so pandering.
MCENANY: Why are we questioning Barack Obama's faith and now we are sitting here questioning Donald Trump?
FERGUSON: Because Barack Obama is --
HARLOW: Hey, guys. Please. Let Kayleigh finish here. I want Kayleigh to finish her thought. And then everyone can jump in.
MCENANY: You know, I don't understand why Donald Trump's faith is fair game here. But I agree with you in the sense that the evangelical vote is his Achilles' heel. Ben Carson does have that kind of social conservative gravitas. But what Donald Trump said tonight was very important. He looked at evangelicals and said I will fight for you. That is something Christians want to hear and evangelicals want to hear. We were warned in the same-sex marriage descent by chief justice Roberts that Christianity was going to come under attack because now we have this decision where people are going to go into church and push the boundaries of this decision. And so, Donald Trump said he would fight for Christians. That is an important thing. And I'm going to take him on his word with that.
HARLOW: All right, Tara and Ben.
SETMEYER: He's going to have a busy first day in office. Because on the first day he promises he is going to do the Iran deal, he is going to build a wall, and now he is going to guarantee religious freedom in all on his first day. He is going to do this on his own as president. I mean, the (INAUDIBLE) is just unbelievable.
FERGUSON: Let me just say this real quick. The concern that I have with Donald Trump about his religion is, it doesn't seem that this is reality for him before now. Walking out on stage with a bible is not consistent with what Donald Trump's past has been. A man that opens up a casino and multiple casinos is not exactly a guy that is walking around reading his bible because the bible is pretty clear about owning a casino.
When you come out there and you start acting like you are this big evangelical but your business practices are a 180 at that, I look at your life's work. And building casinos in your life's work is not exactly hard for an evangelical Christian's philosophy.
SETMEYER: That's right.
HARLOW: I want to get Lou in here. Hey, guys. I want to get Lou in here.
Lou, you are part of the Trump camp in the critical early voting state of New Hampshire. What do you have to say to what Ben brings up there?
GARGIULO: I think it is ludicrous.
FERGUSON: How is it ludicrous? Is the bible clear about gambling?
[19:30:02] GARGIULO: His business is absolutely nothing to do with his religious beliefs? We all have a right to make --.
FERGUSON: It doesn't? So all the commandments don't have anything to do with them if you are breaking them, or scripture to do gambling and owning a casino.
GARGIULO: You are criticizing him because he was involved in casinos.
FERGUSON: Is that a Christian practice to gamble and own a casino that can help ruin people's lives?
GARGIULO: That's your opinion. That is your opinion. That's for the people to decide. And I can tell you this. The people in New Hampshire are very much in favor of Mr. Trump.
FERGUSON: I'll make it very clear. I don't know many hard-core leadership role evangelical Christians that own casinos and get people to come in and have addiction problems with gambling and then walk on stage with a bible, OK. Let's be real honest about this.
SETMEYER: Or walk around with a bible to say, look, I'm religious. See? I swear. I really am. I have a bible. I mean, that's pandering.
HARLOW: Lou, final thoughts to you.
GARGIULO: Again, I mean, we can sit here and criticize Mr. Trump about his religious beliefs, which are closely held. Unlike President Obama who went to a church with Reverend Wright. We have all forgotten that. Mr. Trump is --
FERGUSON: Donald Trump -- let me make this clear. Barack Obama is not my moral standard. He is at one of the lowest points when it comes to moral standards. He is in favor of abortion. In favor of all of these things that I disagree with religiously. If you keep having to compare Donald Trump to Barack Obama there is a problem.
SETMEYER: And Barack Obama is not on the ballot.
HARLOW: All right, guys, I'm going to leave it there. I'm going to have to leave it there. I have to get a break in. Clearly a lot more to discuss. And I'm about to have you all back to do just that.
Ben, Tara, Lou, Kayleigh, thank you all.
For all of you watching, wake up early tomorrow morning. Don't go out too late tonight because Donald Trump will be a guest on CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION." Tomorrow morning 9:00 a.m. eastern only here on CNN.
Another story we are following very closely is a historic day in Cuba. The Pope has landed on his trip. He will spend three days in Cuba and then come to the United States. One of our incredibly lucky reporters and good friend of mine, Rosa Flores was on the plane with the Pope himself -- Rosa.
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Poppy, I spent about 45 seconds in a one on one conversation with the Pope. He offered me a blessing. We have the video for you coming up.
[19:35:42] HARLOW: Right now Pope Francis is in Cuba getting a closer look at the transition that he helped create in that nation. He rode in the Pope mobile to the streets of Havana to crowds of cheers. Ecstatic people welcoming him. He will be in Cuba three days. He heads to the east coast of the United States. He was with Raul Castro was on hand to greet the Holy Father as soon as he got off the papal plane. And he gave a speech in his native Spanish, urging Cuba to grant its people the freedom and the means and the space to practice their religion and offered criticism of the sharp prescription the country has placed on the face in the past.
Our Rosa Flores rode on the plane from Rome to Havana with the Pope.
First of all, we have to show the picture and talk about the remarkable encounter you had.
FLORES: It was a remarkable moment indeed, Poppy. I mean, I really don't have words to describe the emotion going through my body at that point in time. But we talked for about 45 seconds. It of course flew by. But we, you know, I talked to one of his friends, a priest, before getting on the plane. And so, he told me, he said Rosa, you should give the Pope a hug and tell him that I'm happy that you are on the plane. I of course didn't dare to give the Holy Father a hug. But as soon as I told him the name of the priest he blew up. He was like, I remember him. He said two days before the (INAUDIBLE), he was asking me questions. Everybody on the plane started laughing. It was a remarkable, remarkable moment.
HARLOW: Can we talk a little bit about his remarks when we got off? Because there was a certain part of his speech that he gave where if you really read into it, he was criticizing the Castro regime and sort of years and years of the same regime. And he talked a lot about freedom and openness.
FLORES: You know, I was a bit surprised quite frankly, Poppy, to hear him say those words, to say, you know, and the church is here. We are renewing our commitment to help the people of Cuba to make sure that the country is in a path to justice and reconciliation and freedom. That to me was surprising to hear the Pope say that because you and I know that there's a delicate dance that the Pope is dancing throughout this entire trip. Because what he says in Cuba definitely sets the stage for the United States. So is he going to be a little harsh on Cuba? Is he going to be a little harsh on Congress? We don't know. This was a taste. I really think this was a taste of what to expect.
HARLOW: Just - take -- for people that don't know the critical role that the Vatican and this Pope played and the sort of the falling of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba, Rosa, walk us through that event.
FLORES: You know, I think it's important to know that there has been a lot of work through the years that has been playing out in Cuba. The cardinal here has had a great relationship with the Castros for a while. So that has helped. We learned that, you know, since 2003, for example, some of the political prisoners were starting to get released.
And so if you take all of those years of massaging and, you know, pretty much working the diplomacy within the country, and then you've got Pope Francis, who really has extended an olive branch to both countries and kind of bringing everyone together, I think it was the right people at the right time, Poppy.
HARLOW: Yes. It's been fascinate to go watch. And we will continue live coverage here for the next week plus of the Pope's historic trip to Cuba is and here to the United States.
Rosa Flores, have an amazing time on assignment. Thank you.
FLORES: Thank you.
HARLOW: When Pope Francis arrives in Philadelphia, that is where he will be next weekend, he will make a unique side trip there and he will also make history. He will be the first Pope ever to visit a U.S. prison. He will meet with some 100 inmates at the (INAUDIBLE) correctional facility. That is on the outskirts of Philadelphia. This week, we went there to speak with some of those inmates.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[19:40:06] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm very excited.
HARLOW: Did you think you would end up in prison ever?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, not actually. But being around certain people I ended up in this position.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think a lot of the inmates received a message so often that they're not worthwhile, that they are somehow less, that they're not fully human, not worth what everyone else is worth. To have the Pope come here is to tell them, yes, you are really created in the image of God. You really have value. You are wonderfully made. That is something they need to hear. They need to see themselves in a different way.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not only going to meet the Pope. But we are actually work on his chair.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: They did. They made a chair for the Pope there. They are going to give it to him as a gift when he visits there next Sunday. You can watch the full story from that prison this Thursday on "the LEAD" with Jake Tapper, 4:00 p.m. eastern and again on our show next weekend. We will be right back.
[19:44:29] HARLOW: A Syrian refugee family is calling the Vatican home. It is the first of two families that Pope Francis vow to house at the Vatican after personally requesting that parishes and families take in refugees. Nearly half a million refugees across the Mediterranean Sea and flooded into Europe. Nearly 3,000 have died just trying to make the journey. That is according to the U.N. refugee agency.
The United Nations world food program has been providing assistance to millions in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, and Egypt, but it is struggling to continue. Many of those refugees are now living on just 50 cents a day.
Ertharin Cousin is the executive director of the world food program and her role often poster at the center of the crisis zone. She joins me now. Thank you for being with me.
[19:45:16] ERTHARIN COUSIN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WORLD FOOD PROGRAM: Thank you so much, Poppy, for having me.
HARLOW: You and I have spoken extensively in the past about this. Can you take us into these camps and what these refugees are going through? I think it will help people understand more why they are fleeing and risking their lives.
COUSIN: Well, the reality of it is we have been feeding people who have been fleeing the conflict inside Syria for over four years now. And inside Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq, and Egypt, there are over four million refugees who have been the host of those countries, or the guests of those countries for all of that time.
COUSIN: And throughout that period we have provided them with food assistance. This year the contributions aren't coming in, so at the level that's required. So what that means is it has forced us to reduce the amount of food assistance that we are providing people. The voucher that gives people the ability to purchase their own food, we have cut in half. And as you said, what we are giving now is an average of 50 cents per person per day.
But the saddest part is that we've actually cut off 360,000 people since September. Those are people who are living in host communities in both Jordan and Lebanon. Those are people who now no longer have access to food assistance. HARLOW: Ertharin, you had the unique experience, you are based in
Rome. And you met with the Pope. And you briefed him on the situation with Syrian refugees. What was that like?
COUSIN: It was a humbling experience. To sit with someone who has the Grace of the Pope and explain to him and explain to him at his request what we were doing inside Syria, trying to feed four million people every month. Outside Syria, working to go feed 1.9 million people. And hearing him talk about his commitment to making hunger, the reduction, the elimination of hunger and peace part of his mission. For someone like me who spends all of their time trying to bring attention to those who the 60 million refugees who are now trying to find homes across the world, that was heartwarming. And as I said, it was gratifying and humbling. And I believe when you have the Pope on your side, we can begin to make a difference in the lives of people who require so much from us.
HARLOW: We have also seen what this my grant crisis, refugee crisis has done in terms of politically dividing an ideologically dividing people within Europe. We heard the president of the European commission recently (INAUDIBLE) calling for quotas for European countries. That they must take in refugees. The United States now will take up to 10,000 more Syrian refugees. Is quotas what's needed to help these people?
COUSIN: What's needed is peace. So that people can go home and find their opportunities back in their own country. But until there is peace, until there is opportunities, until there is safety in the places that are driving out these 60 million people, then we as a global community have a responsibility to embrace those who are refugees. That is part of the partnership that we make as a community of nations. And we cannot change that -- those requirements as we are seeing more people coming to the different countries, whether it's Europe or Jordan or Lebanon.
Jordan and Lebanon have kept their borders open for the Syrian refugees, for over four years. Jordan now runs two shifts of schools in order to attempt to accommodate children from Syria in schools. So if we as a global community share this responsibility, we must all live up to it.
HARLOW: You have told me before what gets you out of bed in the morning is knowing that you can make a difference. I think we all know refugees a difference. Where can people go to help, Ertharin?
COUSIN: People can go to www.wfp.org and or any of the UN agencies. Children need education. Families need medicine. And of course people need food. But more importantly, we need to ensure that refugees from wherever they come, wherever they go, that we recognize our responsibility, and our humanity requires us to continue to serve for those who are just like us, who just want safety, security, and opportunity for their children.
[19:50:13] HARLOW: I think you said it very well. Humanity requires us. Ertharin Cousin, executive director of the U.N.'s world food program.
Thank you so much for this and for all that you do. We appreciate it. And for all of you watching, I want you to go to CNN.com/impact, again, CNN.com/impact for more ways to help. We'll be right back.
[19:53:48] HARLOW: Across the nation, too many young African-American men face high incarceration rates, education disparities, and exposure to violence. The social ills can exacerbate stress and they can impact mental health. This week's CNN hero is empowering young men to use their voices with hip-hop therapy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I really grew up in a lot of different places. When you have a lot of things that aren't stable, it kind of gets you in a really bad situation. I really felt alone. And it turned into me doing the wrong things.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As a former school social worker, I witnessed how challenging it was to engage African-American male and Latino male students in talk therapy. I knew that if I wanted to really engage this group that I would have to do something different.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're going to have three statements, two that are true about yourself and one that's a lie.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Beats rhymes in life is one of the country's first hip hop therapy programs where young people turn their pain into music.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Write my feelings down because I'm too shy to speak but I'm loud on the beat, that's what makes me unique.
[19:55:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our program creates opportunities for you to reflect and tell their story.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can make a difference. And I'm always looking forward to that new day.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's important for young people to create something that they can be proud of. And this studio makes that possible.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So a pen and paper tell a story for the ages.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of people come for the hip hop but stay for the healing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was skeptical at first, but it doesn't feel like it's a therapy session.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I give you my life because it's all that I got.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I'm rapping, I just let it all go. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hip hop is everywhere. So are the mental health
disparities impacting young people of color. What people need to realize is that when young people have a voice they can learn to help and heal themselves.
HARLOW: If you want to learn more about Thomas Alvarez and the work he is doing, just go to CNNheroes.com.
Well, Pope Francis has begun his historic trip. Tomorrow morning, he will hold mass in revolution square in Havana. That will be quite a sight. We will take that live for you. We will follow him as he makes his trip from Cuba to the United States this week.
Stay with CNN for continuing coverage.
And if you want to learn more about the Pope, you will want watch this Special Report, "The People's Pope," it airs Tuesday night at 9:00 eastern right look other CNN.
All right. That will do it for me this evening.
Next on CNN, a marathon of "THIS IS LIFE with Lisa Ling." Remember, you can get the latest news at CNN.com and on our mobile app.
I'm Poppy Harlow in New York. Thank you so much for being with tonight. Have a great Saturday evening. I will see you back here tomorrow night.