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At Least 59 Dead, 527 Injured In Las Vegas Massacre; Tragedies To Test Trump As Nation's Comforter; Desperation Grows In Hurricane- Ravaged Puerto Rico; All Patients Who Arrived Alive At University Medical Center Have All Survived. Aired 7:30-8a ET
Aired October 3, 2017 - 07:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[07:30:00] VERONIKA MALDONADO, LOST FRIEND IN VEGAS SHOOTING: She had a boyfriend of four years who loved her so, so much. Their relationship was just something straight out of a movie, you know.
And they, literally, joked around that they would be the first one of us to get married. And just, you know, I see her, you know, in 10 years just typical white picket fence family living her best life.
And I know that she had the time of her life this weekend and just knowing that her last weekend was spent doing something she loved, listening to country music and being with the love of her life is -- I mean, I'm OK with that, rather than something else.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: I know you started a GoFundMe page and you want to help the family. You've raised a lot of money now. I think it's getting close to $50,000.
What does that mean to her family?
MALDONADO: It's, honestly, amazing. I -- we're all just in shock that, you know, it's had this much of an outpour of people.
Riverside is an amazing community, you know. They've always helped out each, helped one another when families have needed this.
And I'm just so in awe of all of the donations. We -- our original plan was just $10,000 and we achieved that in three hours only, so the fact that it's almost at $50,000 is unbelievable.
I know that her family wants to start a foundation with everything that is left over from the money, so it's just amazing.
CUOMO: Well, and that's important for people to know that they want to help others with the money. And it was really big-hearted of you to try and help them make their daughter's life matter even more than it did. So that even though she's gone, people will be benefitted in her name.
I'm sorry for your loss --
CUOMO: -- and I hope that you're OK going forward. And please, send out best and our condolences to the family.
MALDONADO: Thanks so much.
CUOMO: All right. So, that's Veronika and may (ph).
BRAD BAKER, STAYED ON SAME FLOOR AS THE SHOOTER: Amen.
CUOMO: I'm glad that you got out of there --
CUOMO: -- and you listened to the first responders.
CUOMO: And I know you're dying to go see your daughter.
CUOMO: Enjoy your life going forward.
BAKER: All right.
CUOMO: That's the biggest lesson.
BAKER: Thanks, Chris.
CUOMO: All right. Thanks for being with us.
CUOMO: I appreciate it.
Alisyn, we're going to keep focusing on the stories of the people who made it through and helped others to do the same, and the lives that were lost because those are the lives that matter most. It took one man to ruin all these other lives. He matters the least in this situation.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Chris. Thank you very much for all of the reporting from there. We'll be back to you in a minute.
Meanwhile, President Trump is facing, obviously, a major leadership test with these two big crises on his hands. He heads to Puerto Rick today, then Las Vegas tomorrow.
What's going on inside the White House during all of this? That's ahead as we remember the lives lost in the tragedy in Las Vegas.
[07:36:54] CAMEROTA: President Trump facing a major leadership test with these two major crises. In just minutes, the president will head to Puerto Rico to tour the storm-ravaged island. And then tomorrow, he heads to Las Vegas following the massacre there. Let's talk about how he will do it all with our CNN political analysts. We have David Gregory, and Maggie Haberman joining us from D.C. Great to have both you.
So, Maggie, let me start with you because there's these two national catastrophes. Obviously, everything that we've seen in Puerto Rico with the humanitarian crisis there. People not getting aid fast enough, according to people on the ground. And then, this massacre in Las Vegas.
Do you have a sense of what's going on inside the White House in terms of preparing the president to deal with these two things that no president ever asks for?
MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Sure. Look, the White House is very aware that this is a major leadership test this week for the president, a president for whom the rhythm of grievance and the rhythm of disasters has not always come -- I'd say almost never has come naturally.
They are more concerned about the trip to Puerto Rico today than they are about the trip the Las Vegas tomorrow. In Las Vegas, he's expected to be surrounded by law enforcement. Puerto Rico is going to, I think, pose a different challenge, especially after his weekend Twitter attack on the San Juan mayor.
What they are trying to convince him to do is basically stay focused on thanking the first responders. First responders who are helping from outside and the first responders who were there on the ground in Puerto Rico in the first place. We will see if the president is able to maintain that.
As we know, he has often had trouble sticking to a script, especially on these longer days. He did do well -- or at least was perceived as doing well after the hurricanes in Texas and in Florida. And he's going to have to really call on that spirit and muster some of that on this trip today.
CAMEROTA: David, let's just remind people about what happened this weekend where the president did go after the mayor of San Juan who had, on our show, made this sort of passionate plea that aid was not getting there soon enough and that people were dying.
And the president responded by saying "Such poor leadership ability by the mayor of San Juan and others in Puerto Rico who are not able to get their workers to help. They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort. Ten thousand federal workers now on the island doing a fantastic job."
He said -- the mayor of Puerto Rico will be at these hearings. This could be awkward.
DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. I mean, look, I don't understand why the president would attack someone who's on the ground trying to deal with disaster. At the very least, if you think that a leader is off base, given him
the benefit of the doubt because they're dealing with so much. They're dealing with a crisis. They've got so much on their plate.
So that's not him. He tends to attack anyone who attacks him.
Look, whether it's Puerto Rico and then in Las Vegas, these are moments that you don't plan for. The presidency is not something that Donald Trump planned for. You really have to get outside of yourself.
And I think in the case of Puerto Rico, it is to insist upon what is being done for the island, how much more has to be done.
And he represents not just himself, he represents the presidency. People look to the President of the United States as someone who's going to be able to help. Who can martial resources in a way that no one else can to be able to make their lives better.
[07:40:03] If your government can't look after you, than who else can? Not all the private aid, not Pitbull's private jet. Those are incredible acts of kindness.
But the federal government has an ability to really make a huge difference. He's got to be able to communicate that in terms of Puerto Rico and Las Vegas. We'll keep talking.
CAMEROTA: Let's talk about Las Vegas.
So, Maggie, you know, obviously, there's this apocalypse that has happened there.
And now, all sorts of people who have connections to Las Vegas, like Jimmy Kimmel who grew up there. He just made, you know, his own sort of emotional statement about it last night so -- and, of course, what the government and Congress can do. So listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, ABC "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE!": Here we are again in the aftermath of another terrible, inexplicable, shocking, and painful tragedy, this time in Las Vegas, which happens to be my hometown.
There's probably no way to ever know why a human being would do something like this to other human beings who were at a concert. It's the kind of thing that it makes you want to throw up or give up. It's too much to even process.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: So, Maggie, what do you think the president's tone will be?
HABERMAN: I think the president is going to be -- I think that everything that Jimmy Kimmel said is correct about this. That it is convulsive in how terrible it is. I think what the president is going to try to do is stay away from -- or at least he's been advised is to stay away from this discussion of gun control which really is where you are starting to see the discussion move. You didn't see it right away -- right after the shootings and as the death toll is becoming clear.
But he is being advised to -- sort of, to be presidential, to be loftier, to be above a larger debate. That said, while he might be able to that Wednesday and he might be able to succeed in doing that for the day, he's not going to be able to do that forever.
There's going to be a larger debate about gun control and this is a president who has taken various positions on the issue of gun control over the years, as he has on most other issues. A lot of his supporters are wondering whether he is going to adhere to what was pretty strict support for the Second Amendment during 2016.
Remember, the NRA was one of his biggest outside supporters -- $30 million on his candidacy in 2016. How he responds to this is going to be very telling.
CAMEROTA: One thing before you respond, David.
"Axios" has an article this morning in which they quote Steve Bannon saying that if the president were to somehow move towards fighting gun violence through gun control of some kind -- Steve Bannon is quoted as saying, "Impossible. That would be the end of everything." Meaning the support from the base.
GREGORY: Right, and I -- so, I think that's an incredibly difficult area for him, which I'll come back to in a second, but I just want to pull back.
Whether you think about the Oklahoma City bombing which killed 168 people, including those children in the day care center, or you think about 9/11. The response by the president at that time very much defined their presidencies.
For Bill Clinton, it helped him overcome the loss of the congressional elections in 1994 -- sent him on a different heading.
And for President Bush, of course, it defined his presidency. There would be other things in the war in Iraq and so forth that would also define it, but that resolve in the face of that tragedy and that attack did so much.
I do think that Donald Trump faces that moment, one that he's not accustomed to as a political person, but one that's he got to absorb as a way to kind of bring people together.
CAMEROTA: The president has just put out his first tweet in 24 hours and just crossed the transom. This is what he's thinking about this morning. "I am so proud of our great country. God bless America."
OK, I think we can all get behind that. GREGORY: Right. I mean, look, there is -- out of something that is
so difficult to process at this stage, as Jimmy Kimmel was saying, the stories that we're telling this morning on the air really highlight what we do for each other when something awful happens, and I think you saw that on the ground in Las Vegas.
I think that sentiment is certainly appropriate and there'll be a lot more space for him to comment more and to say more.
And I think just before -- I think on the issue of -- I'll give it back to you. We're out of time.
CAMEROTA: Are they wrapping -- are they giving you the hard wrap in your ear like they are me?
GREGORY: Yes, yes. I'm used to it.
CAMEROTA: OK. On that note -- you know what? Stay tuned. David will be back at some point to finish that thought.
Maggie, thank you. David, thank you.
Let's go to Chris who is on the ground for us in Las Vegas with all of the stories of the past 24 hours -- Chris.
CUOMO: What we saw here in Las Vegas is people stepping up to help one another after an evil act.
We just came from Puerto Rico and when the president gets on the ground there he's going to see a reality the likes of which he has never seen before. He's also going to see a test of the proposition that he just tweeted.
[07:45:03] What is it that makes us proud about being Americans? It is our diversity and our ability to come together in a time of need. That has never been needed more than what you're going to see next.
We will take you to Puerto Rico. We will show you what we saw on the ground and heard from the people there who are desperate need.
And here from Las Vegas, we're going to continue to show you the lives that were stolen here in Las Vegas. Please, take a look.
CUOMO: In just minutes, President Trump is going to head to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico. The president is going to get his first look at the actual devastation. He's going to meet, hopefully, for the first time, with the people who are actually living in what is a hell there.
The island is in shambles and what you will see is not the worst of it. It's what people are feeling, what they don't have, what you can't see. No food, no water, no power.
There's a new phrase on that island. "Agua e luz," you keep hearing -- water and light or water and power. The need is so great and the one they're looking to is going to arrive there today.
Here's what we were told. Here's what we saw about the reality of the recovery.
CUOMO (voice-over): Canwell (ph) wants to tell you directly. His house was destroyed. Now, they have nothing.
These kids' smiles betray the obvious. Everything is gone.
And there is another obvious truth here in Toa Baja, just 15 minutes from the capital of San Juan. There is not enough help.
CUOMO (on camera): So you still don't have the help you need and you don't know when you're going to get it?
KAYLA VALDEZ GUZMAN, RESIDENT: No.
CUOMO (voice-over): Kayla Valdez Guzman says no one has the answer for where to get help. They're trying to move back in to this muddy mess. The whole top floor is a death trap. They say they have no choice.
This is all that's left of the kids' toys but like everyone we meet on the island they're making the best of it.
Houses like this were filled with water for days. Here's a picture. Everywhere you go what was inside is now outside.
Streets, too often a maze of downed power lines and trees.
There is progress. Cars, traffic -- lines for gas are still hours long but you can buy as much as you can carry if you have cash.
Some fast food is open, as is a pharmacy with people waiting for essentials.
But a reminder of the despair is always near. A soccer field now a rancid dump where we're told rats the size of cats come at night.
But we see no government vehicles. No word of FEMA or any other agency bringing help. This was the closest thing we saw.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Foreign Language).
CUOMO: The voice says where to go to file a FEMA claim and wishes people well.
[07:50:04] There is no cell service here. Most of the towers are down or look this this. So if you're not within earshot of the speaker you just wait for agua e luz, water and power, like Felix and three generations of his family.
CUOMO (on camera): OK, this is where the water was.
CUOMO (voice-over): They've been cleaning and gathering what they can, but as for help coming, he says all he's heard are rumors.
CUOMO (on camera): Nobody's come here yet?
FELIX, RESIDENT: No, no.
CUOMO (voice-over): Time is the enemy and people like Rafael live in fear. His store filled only with the stench of rotting food. He says he wants to provide for his community but he can't get power and water.
RAFAEL, RESIDENT: (Foreign language).
CUOMO: He says we are the closest thing to outside help he's seen. Two weeks in, that's almost too much to take.
CUOMO: Now, obviously, we thought we were going to be anchoring the show from Puerto Rico when the president got there. That became just impossible because of what we've been dealing with here in Las Vegas.
But we know two things for sure, all right, Alisyn?
One, the first responders are there. They're there in significant numbers they are working their butts off. There's no question about it. And any criticism certainly does not go to the hearts and effort what you're seeing first responders to there on the ground.
And here's the other thing. It ain't enough. They have huge logistical nightmares. The relief that is needed is not getting to the people who need it most and that's not because people don't want to help them. That's never been the issue.
CUOMO: It's just not getting done. Logistics, divisions of government, divisions of responsibility, leadership. That's what the problems are and the people are paying the price.
CAMEROTA: Yes, but I mean, Chris, this is what's so vexing about covering the story and why it's so important to have folks like you and all of our team on the ground there because the story is so different-- the discrepancy between what the federal government is saying.
I just interviewed Gen. Buchanan who says yes, you know, food and supplies have gotten to virtually all of the island, you know. They're touting their success. And then when we hear the people on the ground who say it's been two weeks and we haven't gotten food.
So, you know, this is the story that we --
CUOMO: Yes, but both are true.
CAMEROTA: Yes. CUOMO: Both are true. They might have gotten things to 78 municipalities but if I don't have a cell phone then I don't know that. And if you haven't told me how to get there and I don't have car, then it's no help to me.
CUOMO: So both things can be true but the reality remains the same. The need is great. Hopefully, the president sees that and he lives that reality for the people there. They need him.
All right, Chris. We'll be back with you in a second.
This is the only level one trauma center in Nevada, so how doctor's training there helped them handle this unprecedented catastrophe, next.
[07:56:15] CAMEROTA: When shots rang out in Las Vegas, the doctors and nurses at University Medical Center, the state's only level one trauma center, jumped into action. Within minutes, 100 victims were rushed into their E.R. Because of their hard work, the patients who arrived at the hospital alive have all survived.
Joining us now is Dr. John Fildes. He's the trauma medical director at the University Medical Center.
Dr. Fildes, thank you so much for taking the time for us this morning. Can you just tell us --bring us back to that moment when you heard that a disaster was unfolding and that victims were headed in your direction.
DR. JOHN FILDES, TRAUMA MEDICAL DIRECTOR, UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER, LAS VEGAS: Well, shortly after the first shots rang out and we activated our disaster plan and were able to bring in dozens of teams of doctors, anesthesiologists, O.R. crews, nurses, technicians, and so forth.
Once the patients started arriving it was just a matter of creating throughput in the initial treatment area and trauma and emergency department, and to open up additional new wards within the hospital to get these patients into beds and to continue their care.
CAMEROTA: Doctor, we understand that you have, I think, two disaster drills a year where you prepare for the unthinkable. And do you think that those are what -- I mean, do you credit those for why you were able to save so many people?
FILDES: Well, there's no question that that played into it. The whole county exercises twice a year so from command and control all the way down to seen and pre-hospital medicine and in-hospital medicine, all of those steps are rehearsed each year. And there's no question that that contributed to a favorable response here. CAMEROTA: In fact, I understand that you drilled in the past on what would happen if something horrible unfolded at a big concert venue, which is actually what ended up happening. How similar was your drill to then the real-life catastrophe?
FILDES: I believe that it was comparable in terms of staff preparation. And these drills will rotate, looking at maybe the top five or top 10 most likely scenarios for a disaster. In this case, we had anticipated something like this could happen some day and we were prepared for it.
CAMEROTA: And could you prepare for the idea that you'd be seeing hundreds and hundreds of gunshot wounds?
FILDES: We considered that that's a possibility here, the same as we considered that an airline crash is a possibility or that a terrorism attack is a possibility, but those are all things that we drill for.
CAMEROTA: So the patients that are in your hospital today and that came in yesterday, can you just tell us what condition they're in? Do you have people who are still in critical condition there?
FILDES: Yes, we do.
CAMEROTA: You can take that. I mean, look, your business -- your job is much busier so you can take that beeper if you need to go or whatever's happening. That message that you need to read.
FILDES: No, that's OK. No, it's all right.
CAMEROTA: OK. So, tell us about the conditions there of the patients.
FILDES: So, about a quarter of the patients are still in critical but stable condition. Most of the other patients have been downgraded from serious to stable.
CAMEROTA: OK, that's really good news. And obviously, all of your training and your calm and collectiveness in the face of the catastrophe obviously saved lives.
Dr. Fildes, thank you very much for all the work you're doing and for being on with us.
FILDES: Thank you. Glad I could be here.
CAMEROTA: Me, too.
We're following a lot of news so let's get right to it.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
CUOMO: All right. To our viewers in the United States and around the world, you are watching NEW DAY. It's Tuesday, October third, 8:00 in the east.