On this "Face the Nation" broadcast moderated by Major Garrett:
- Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio (read more)
- Beto O'Rourke ( )
- Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas (
- Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C. (read more)
- CBS News Correspondent Janet Shamlian in El Paso
- CBS News Correspondent Dean Reynolds in Ohio
- Panelists: Susan Page, Amy Walter, Jeffrey Goldberg and David Nakamura (watch)
Click here to browse full transcripts of "Face the Nation."
MAJOR GARRETT: It's Sunday, August 4th. I am Major Garrett and this is FACE THE NATION.
Twenty-nine people are dead following two mass shootings in less than fourteen hours. And Americans find themselves asking again the painful questions, why? What can be done and what is going wrong?
The first mass shooting occurred in El Paso, Texas. A gunman killed twenty and injured twenty-six at a busy shopping center. We will have the latest from El Paso and more about what motivated a massacre, authorities say, appears to be a hate crime.
GOVERNOR GREG ABBOTT: Thoughts like this, actions like this, crimes like this are not who or what Texas is and will not be accepted here.
MAJOR GARRETT: The second mass shooting occurred overnight in Dayton, Ohio. Nine are dead, plus, the gunman. Shooting took place in a popular Dayton entertainment district. People were patrolling as usual and neutralized the shooter in less than one minute. Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley.
NAN WHALEY: Clearly, the question has to be raised: Why does Dayton have to be the two hundred and fiftieth mass shooting in America?
MAJOR GARRETT: We will get the latest from Ohio Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown. Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke canceled his campaign events to head home to El Paso.
BETO O'ROURKE: I am incredibly saddened and it is very hard to think about this.
MAJOR GARRETT: We will talk with him and Republican Congressman Will Hurd, whose congressional district is near El Paso.
President Trump called the El Paso shooting, quote, "an act of cowardice." Earlier this week, the President stepped up his attacks on American cities.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: The homicide rate in Baltimore is significantly higher than El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala.
MAJOR GARRETT: We will hear from South Carolina Republican senator, Tim Scott, about what can be done to help these communities.
As always we will bring you analysis on all the news of the week coming up on FACE THE NATION.
Welcome to FACE THE NATION. Margaret is off today. It is a grim Sunday morning as we woke up to the news of, yet, another mass shooting in this country. This one in Dayton, Ohio. Dean Reynolds will join us in a moment for more on that. But we begin in El Paso with CBS News correspondent Janet Shamlian.
JANET SHAMLIAN (CBS News Correspondent): Good morning, Major. It's an active crime scene at this Walmart today, which has become the deadliest mass shooting in America since the massacre at a Texas church in 2017. Investigators are now looking at motive and whether this was a hate crime.
JANET SHAMLIAN: A chilling image that police say is the gunman on surveillance camera walking into a Walmart carrying an AK-47-style assault rifle and wearing noise-muffling headphones. And then this: Cell phone video captured the rapid fire shots as a man hides under a table. Others record the heart-stopping chaos.
MAN #1: AK, somebody has got you.
JANET SHAMLIAN: Police say the Walmart was at capacity, packed with families, shopping for back-to-school.
GREG ALLEN: Everyone that carries a badge in this town pretty much showed up to that particular scene.
JANET SHAMLIAN: Police say the gunman surrendered to police. Twenty-one-year-old Patrick Crusius is from the Dallas area, a nine-hour drive away. The store is just miles from the border and attracts shoppers from Mexico. Detectives have found what's been described as an anti-immigrant manifesto posted online but have not confirmed it was authored by the gunman.
GOVERNOR GREG ABBOTT (Governor of Texas): This is dis-- disgusting, intolerable. It's not Texan. And we are going to aggressively prosecute it both as capital murder but also as a hate crime, which is exactly what it appears to be without having seen all the evidence yet.
JANET SHAMLIAN: More than two dozen hurt many of them in critical condition.
MAN #2: I've been here twenty-two years. This is by far the biggest shooting event that I have been involved in.
JANET SHAMLIAN: And urgent plea for blood donations delivered thousands of volunteers waiting in long lines in triple-digit heat. A heartbroken community desperate to help.
JANET SHAMLIAN: The injured are at several El Paso hospitals today. We are told that a number of them are in critical condition and children are among those badly injured. Major.
MAJOR GARRETT: Janet Shamlian, thank you.
We go now to Dean Reynolds who is at the Cincinnati airport on the way to Dayton, Ohio. Dean, what can you tell us?
DEAN REYNOLDS (CBS News Correspondent): Well, Major, this all began about one o'clock this morning in what's called the Oregon District of Dayton. It's sort of a trendy, nightlife area popular with young people, and it was full of young people and tourists and so forth at that time when a gunman, a lone gun, we are told, approached carrying a big weapon and multiple high-capacity magazines. He opened fire killing nine people before the police could subdue him and kill him. At least twenty-six people have been wounded in the attack, we are told. And the mayor, Nan Whaley, of Dayton said the situation could have been much worse. Let's listen so what she said.
NAN WHALEY: In less than one minute, in less than one minute, Dayton fire-- first responders neutralized the shooter. While this is a terribly sad day for our city, I am amazed by the quick response of Dayton Police that saved, literally, hundreds of lives.
DEAN REYNOLDS: Now it's important to remember that Dayton, the city, is recovering from a series of tornadoes that struck here in Memorial Day over the Memorial Day weekend and destroyed hundreds of properties. So this has been a very, very trying time for the city of Dayton and this just makes matters even worse. Major.
MAJOR GARRETT: Dean Reynolds, thank you.
We turn now to Ohio Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown. He is in Cleveland, but will soon be making his way to Dayton. Senator Brown, good morning. I want to ask you--
SENATOR SHERROD BROWN (D-Ohio/@SenSherrodBrown): Thank you.
MAJOR GARRETT: --the authorities will tell us more about what happened overnight in Dayton, but I want to ask you: do you believe this is a moment in American history that we are at-- or should be at a turning point on this question of mass shootings and what to do about them?
SENATOR SHERROD BROWN: Of course, it is. I-- I spoke to the mayor-- to Mayor Whaley, the mayor of this great Ohio city of Dayton earlier this morning. And she said she had gotten text messages and e-mails and calls from, she said, dozens and dozens of fellow mayors around the country, all of whom have gone through this. And, you know, we wake up to-- to grief and-- and sadness about these-- these-- these victims and these families. But it pretty quickly turns to anger that our-- that our government hasn't done anything and I-- Mitch McConnell should bring us back into session on Monday. The House of Representatives has passed a background check. We can fly back into Washington on Monday morning. We could pass the background check bill and people could fly back and be home for dinner. And the President needs to sign this bill. We know what to do. We know that background checks worked. We know that-- that a ban on assault weapons worked. It was bipartisan and it expired and we haven't renewed it. Those are the first two things we should do and in that sense it-- it could finally put the country on the right path on gun violence.
MAJOR GARRETT: Some of your Republican colleagues this morning, Lindsey Graham in the Senate from South Carolina, Fred Upton, Republican, from Michigan in the House, have said that they now are in favor of so-called red flag laws that states use to briefly detain someone who they believe-- or reasonably believe that the due process applied present a threat to the community for mental health issues. Are red flag laws in your opinion also part of this equation?
SENATOR SHERROD BROWN: Well, I-- I-- I wouldn't start with that. I mean, of course-- of course, people who have stood with the NRA in their careers will start, though, deflect into something else. But we know that background checks work. We know that the ban on assault weapon work-- weapons worked. Yet, we saw President Bush support the background-- think-- think about this. I mean we've had-- look at-- look at President Obama's response to Sandy Hook in Charleston. Look at President Bush's response after 9/11 where he went to a mosque and he said, "Muslims didn't attack the United States, terrorists attacked the United States." And-- and members of Congress need to go back to works in the Senate-- go back to work tomorrow, pass the assault weapon ban that the House has passed, get it to the President's desk. Make sure the President signs it. Then we figure other things out, but that's where we start tomorrow and do it quickly and show the country-- show the country, for gosh sakes, that-- that the-- that the people representing them in Washington don't always kowtow to the gun lobby.
MAJOR GARRETT: Senator, I know that's your point of view, that's what you're advocating for. You have a cell phone like everyone else in America. Are you getting any traffic on your cell phone from the Democratic leadership, or anyone else in Washington, suggesting to you what you just said is, in fact, likely to occur?
SENATOR SHERROD BROWN: I am not hearing from any of my colleagues, yet. I called the mayor this morning--I told you the mayor of Dayton. I-- I you know I-- I don't know. I don't know if the gun lobby-- the gun lobby seems awfully strong. I mean I've been-- I've had a lifetime F from the NRA in a state that elects a lot of people that support the NRA and that the NRA supports. But I know you can win elections-- you can stand up against the gun lobby and win elections. I-- but that aside, when is Mitch McConnell, when is the Republican leadership in the Senate going to actually bring this to a vote? The House of Representatives passed it-- bipartisan. It's a bipartisan bill in the House. When is the Senate actually going to do it and tomorrow is the perfect day. I know that the Senate adjourned for August a couple of days ago, but bring us back, have us do our job. Put this on the floor. We know it works. We know it's only-- it may only be a first step but we know it works and there's just simply no reason that Mitch McConnell won't do that except for the gun lobby.
MAJOR GARRETT: Briefly, Senator, you know that some on the pro-gun rights side of this ledger would say those things you outlined wouldn't stop every one of these, wouldn't stop maybe even most of them. Your response?
SENATOR SHERROD BROWN: Well, they're not going to stop every one of those nobody's ever contended they will. But, again, I say that background check-- checks works. We know that. And the assault on the-- the-- the ban of assault weapons. I mean this-- this-- this young man that killed nine people before the police killed him and injured, I believe, more than two dozen did that in the space--the mayor told me did that in fewer than thirty seconds. That says two things. It says the police in Dayton are terrific that they responded that quick and saved-- it says three things the police were terrific. That saved-- second thing that saved hundreds of lives and, third, he had enough-- he had enough ammunition to kill potentially a hundred or two hundred people. And that's why you ban the assault weapon. And it worked when we banned it before. It didn't stop every mass shooting, it didn't stop every murder, but a lot of people are alive today because we've had background checks in some places and a lot of people are alive today because we had an assault ban for-- for I believe ten years in the--
MAJOR GARRETT: Ohio--
SENATOR SHERROD BROWN: --United States of America.
MAJOR GARRETT: Senator Brown, Ohio Democrat, thank you.
Former Democratic congressman and 2020 presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke joins us from El Paso. Beto, briefly, you've been there a short while, what have you learned and how long will you stay in El Paso?
BETO O'ROURKE (2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate/@BetoORourke): I just came home yesterday and got to spend time with some of the victims and their families at University Medical Center, not too far from where we are at the scene of the shooting right now. Extraordinarily courageous people and just an amazing, strong community that's coming together in the face of this tragedy. So very proud of El Paso at this moment, though, deeply saddened and heartbroken by-- by what has taken place in-- in this community. I'm-- I'm going to stay here through the course of the day, continue to visit with families, be at a vigil here tonight and do everything I can to ensure that El Paso comes back as strong as poss-- as possible. But also to ensure that we do everything that we can to guarantee that this does not happen again going forward. And-- and it has to go well beyond thoughts and prayers and even beyond sensible gun legislation like universal background checks, like ending the sales of weapons of war. This is really about hatred and racism and intolerance that continues to grow in this country. Hate crime is on the rise for each of the last three years, division being sown by this President's hatred being welcomed during his administration. All of us must stand up against this and for a much better, a much safer country.
MAJOR GARRETT: Are you saying President Trump is indirectly responsible for this?
BETO O'ROURKE: I'm-- I'm saying that President Trump has a lot to do with what happened in El Paso yesterday. Anybody who begins their campaign for the presidency by calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals. Anyone who as President describes asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border as an infestation or an invasion or animals. Anyone who describes those who do not match the majority of this country as somehow inherently dangerous or defective, sows the kind of fear, the kind of reaction that we saw in El Paso yesterday. So the answer, Major, is-- is yes, but it is also something that is much larger than this President and persisted here before his administration. It's up to all of us to put an end to this racism and make sure that we don't just tolerate our differences, but as we've shown here in El Paso, we embrace them as the very source of our strength and our success. And, yes, also our safety and our security.
MAJOR GARRETT: You're no longer in Congress, but you have a voice. Should Congress come back to Washington and cancel the August recess to deal with this issue?
BETO O'ROURKE: Absolutely. You know we're-- we're grieving here in El Paso. But-- but our hearts are also with the people of-- of Dayton, Ohio; Gilroy in-- in California. All across this country in-- in mass shootings like those that we saw here in El Paso and the shootings that have become so numbingly common, they don't even make the newscasts or the headlines of-- of the daily paper happening one or two at a time. The fact that we will lose nearly forty-thousand of-- of our fellow Americans this year and every year until we change course, demands an urgency that has been absolutely lacking from Congress. So let's follow the lead of--of those students who are marching for our lives. Let's follow the lead of those moms who demand action. Let's follow the lead of those families here in El Paso who I've been listening to who demand the kind of change that we need. Congress should come back in session, pass legislation, the President should sign it into law. But then we must also acknowledge that it has to go beyond that. The kind of hatred and open racism that we're seeing in this country is having not just a corrosive result It's-- it's a deadly consequence. And we saw that on full display in El Paso yesterday.
MAJOR GARRETT: One last thing before I let you go, George P. Bush, the land commissioner in Texas, wrote on Twitter: "There have now been multiple attacks from self-declared white terrorists here in the United States in the last several months. This is a real and present threat." Your reaction?
BETO O'ROURKE: He's absolutely right. But he's got to take the next step and-- and describe why that threat exists in this country. President Trump, who called white nationalists and Klansmen and neo-Nazis very fine people after Charlottesville, who described the countries of Africa as (EXPLETIVE DELETED) nations, who said he wants more immigration from Nordic countries, the whitest places on-- on the planet. The President not only tolerates but invites the kind of racism and hatred that-- that not only offends us, but-- but changes who we are as a country and produces the kind of violence that we saw in El Paso.
MAJOR GARRETT: Former Congressman Beto O'Rourke, thank you.
We'll be back in a minute.
MAJOR GARRETT: We turn now to Texas Republican Congressman Will Hurd, who announced this week that he would not run for reelection in 2020. He is the eighth House Republican this year to announce they are leaving elected office. And he joins us this morning from San Antonio. Congressman Hurd, good morning. I know you know El Paso well.
REPRESENTATIVE WILL HURD (R-Texas/@HurdOnTheHill): Mm-Hm.
MAJOR GARRETT: Your district is right adjoining to it. I think you have some familiarity with this Walmart where this massacre occurred. A couple of questions. What have you heard from there? Are you going to El Paso to join the vigil tonight and catch up with your former member of Congress road-trip mate Beto O'Rourke?
REPRESENTATIVE WILL HURD: Well, first of, thanks for your coverage of-- of this tragedy and for any of your folks watching this-- this broadcast, if you live in Texas, if you live in Ohio, if you live in New Mexico, go donate blood. I mean you can get on the Red Cross website to figure out how to do this. These communities need blood. They are going to need it for the next couple of days and the next couple of weeks. And-- and also, if you see something on social media of someone talking about doing a heinous crime like this, take a screenshot of it and share it with local law enforcement or the FBI's website. We can all be vigilant to seeing this kind of hate and this kind of rhetoric and make sure law enforcement has the tools they need or the information in order to do something about it. But El-- El Paso is a resilient community, you have a number of families that are still praying and-- and worried because their loved one is not out of the-- out of the proverbial woods, yet, that are still in critical condition, you know, the-- the youngest person that is injured was two years old, her-- his-- the baby's mother was-- was killed. She was only twenty-five years old. You know, you have people that are in their eighties that are going through, still in-- in hospitals as well. And so this is a-- this is a trying time not just for El Paso but-- but the rest of the country.
MAJOR GARRETT: Is this national moment where the federal legislature should be involved? Do you expect anything to happen over this August recess or do you expect just five weeks of silence from Washington?
REPRESENTATIVE WILL HURD: Well, the-- the-- the House of Representatives have passed a background piece of legislation. I was actually one of eight Republicans that joined in that. We should be preventing from putting guns in the hands of people that shouldn't have them. That's pretty straightforward and simple. But there's other things that we should be-- be looking at as well, why does a young man from the suburbs think this is the way that he should do something? That is a-- a trend that we have seen so-- so many times. I have learned in-- in working with local law enforcement and federal law enforcement over the last couple of days on this issue that federal law enforcement is prevented from searching social media websites, the public facing stuff about particular threats. That's something that you don't need legislation to-- to fix. When you look at the sequence of this attack in El Paso and, eventually, in-- in Ohio, is there information sharing that could be improved between the federal government and local law enforcements? Does private security in these facilities have the training to do a suspicious activity report? That they are doing suspicious activity reports, where does that infor-- information go? How are these folks, ultimately, getting radicalized? The FBI is going to do their review; law enforcement is going to do their review. This is an act of terrorism. Terrorism is an act where you use violence against civilians for a political end and initial indications suggest that this is-- this is based on-- on race and-- and hatred, which would be white nationalist terrorism. Why are people being-- being radicalized? You can go back-- this shooter is in custody. We are going to be able to learn a lot from him. There was-- the shooting in Charlestown a number of years ago, that-- that killer learned he was doing web searches on Trayvon Martin and went down the rabbit hole of-- of white nationalism and racism and was self-radicalized. These are some of the issues that we're going to have to-- to review and, yes, Congress has a role. So does civil society, so does the media. This is an opportunity for us to focus on what unites us and not what divides us.
MAJOR GARRETT: Congressman, what role does President Trump play-- play in this? You heard your former colleague Beto O'Rourke say he invites and tolerates racism.
REPRESENTATIVE WILL HURD: I think divisive rhetoric is-- is not the way to go. I think he's denounced these-- these attacks. He has an opportunity to be the uniter in chief and I hope that's the way to go but we can't just focus on just one person or just one entity. This is a problem that has many sources and we need to be talking about all those sources in ways that every element of society can work on-- on dealing with this challenge.
MAJOR GARRETT: Your land commissioner, George P. Bush, called this white terrorism and says it presents a real and ongoing threat in this country. Do you agree?
REPRESENTATIVE WILL HURD: I-- I agree and I would leave the-- the analysis of this-- this current activity, this current shooting in El Paso to the FBI. I know they are evaluating it and believing it is-- is possibly a hate crime and fueled by this initial indication of this manifesto that the shooter-- shooter wrote suggests that. And if it is-- in that is, indeed, confirmed then, yes, this is-- this is white nationalism terrorism and this is something that we're seeing. And, again, I mentioned Charleston as a perfect example. I think we don't know enough about what happened in-- in Ohio to suggest that that may be something similar. But I know law and local law enforcement and federal law enforcement is going to be turning over every rock and-- and pursuing every lead. But, again, I-- I think the thing that I've learned in-- in my time representing a very diverse district, seventy-one percent Latino, a fifty-fifty district, is that way more unites us than divides us--
MAJOR GARRETT: Right.
REPRESENTATIVE WILL HURD: --and when we focus on those things that unite us we're going to be better off.
MAJOR GARRETT: Congressman, we want to continue this conversation. That's why we're not going to let you go. Please stay right there. We just need to take a quick break but we'll be right back with Congressman Will Hurd.
MAJOR GARRETT: Please be sure to listen to my podcast. It's called The Takeout. Available on all podcast platforms and our digital streaming news service known as CBSN. New episodes premiere every Friday morning. Stay with us. We'll have more of our conversation with Republican Congressman Will Hurd and a conversation with South Carolina Republican Senator Tim Scott.
MAJOR GARRETT: We will be right back a lot more of FACE THE NATION, including our continuing conversation with Congressman Will Hurd, Republican of Texas, and South Carolina Republican Senator Tim Scott. Plus, our all-star panel. Please, stay with us.
MAJOR GARRETT: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION, and more with Texas Republican Will Hurd. So, Congressman, you ran in 2018; as you've said, it's a very competitive district. You won. Hillary Clinton carried your district in 2016. Why not run in 2020? Are you afraid of the effect that President Trump will have on those prospects?
REPRESENTATIVE WILL HURD: No I-- I-- I'm interested in-- in helping other candidates like me. I-- I think-- I want to see a-- a Republican Party that has more folks that-- that look and-- and sound and operate like I do. I think it's an opportunity for me to help, you know, phenomenal candidates like Wesley Hunt down in Houston, Texas. He cares about his country, served his country in the military, has a--
MAJOR GARRETT: But--
REPRESENTATIVE WILL HURD: --beautiful young family, worked in-- in the-- the private sector--
MAJOR GARRETT: But-- but, Congressman--
REPRESENTATIVE WILL HURD: --and wants to continue to serve, so-- so--
MAJOR GARRETT: Congressman, you know--
REPRESENTATIVE WILL HURD: Yes, Sir?
MAJOR GARRETT: You know the way to do that is to stay, to raise money, to campaign alongside and say, he's joining me, not, I am leaving and he needs to replace me.
REPRESENTATIVE WILL HURD: Well, what-- what I find interesting and a lot of people have asked me that question, is that everybody thinks the end all or be all is actually being in Congress. The party is defined by the people that are in it, not necessarily, the politicians. And so this gives me the freedom and flexibility to operate in other parts of the country. I'm also going to stay involved in that nexus of technology and law enforcement. You can do that outside of the-- the halls of Congress. When you look at issues like artificial intelligence--and artificial intelligence is important because whoever matches it is going to rule the world. And the-- the most interesting things that's happening in-- in that area is outside of-- of the federal government. So, I'm looking forward to-- to continuing to serve my country. I left a job as an undercover officer in the CIA, a job I loved. I got to be the guy in the back alleys at four o'clock in the morning collecting intelligence on threats to our homeland. I left that job in order to help the-- the-- the national security community in a different way by bringing my skills to Congress. And I'm going to be leaving the halls of Congress to help, you know, our country in a different way as well--
MAJOR GARRETT: Before it--
REPRESENTATIVE WILL HURD: --so I'm-- I'm excited about the-- the next couple of months because we still have a lot of work to do--
MAJOR GARRETT: Congressman Hurd.
REPRESENTATIVE WILL HURD: --in Congress but I'm also looking forward to building a Republican Party of the future.
MAJOR GARRETT: Before I let you go, John Ratcliffe, a colleague of yours, was for a very brief period of time, suggested by the President to be the new leader of the director of National Intelligence, he's now pulled out. How concerned were you about that potential nomination itself and how concerned are you about the general state of the intelligence community without a leader and with the President and the White House appearing undeci-- indecisive about how to replace outgoing DNI Dan Coats?
REPRESENTATIVE WILL HURD: Well, John Ratcliffe is-- is my friend. John Ratcliffe is someone that I have been able to talk to as our-- in our time on-- on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He is ab-- ability to-- to digest vast amounts of-- of information which is a skillset that's needed within the DNI. And-- and I'm sorry that this thing turned out the way it did. I think Sue Gordon as an acting director of National Intelligence is an excellent choice. I've had the opportunity to work with her in the different roles she has played in-- in national security. But this position of-- of Director of National Intelligence has a lot of challenges. The existential threat that China is playing to us --
MAJOR GARRETT: Right.
REPRESENTATIVE WILL HURD: --you know, dealing with disinformation and how the Russians were trying to influence our elections. And, of course, continuing to deal with terrorism overseas--
MAJOR GARRETT: Right
REPRESENTATIVE WILL HURD: --and abroad.
MAJOR GARRETT: Congressman Hurd, thank you very much and thank you for staying for that extra segment.
I want to let our audience know is that law enforcement sources tell CBS News that Dayton shooter has been identified as Connor Betts, twenty-four-year-old from Bellbrook, Ohio. Police are searching his home presently.
Thank you for being with us, Congressman Hurd, as I said.
We'll be right back with South Carolina Republican Senator Tim Scott.
MAJOR GARRETT: Welcome back. We turn now to South Carolina Republican Senator Tim Scott, who joins us this morning from Mount Pleasant, just outside of Charleston. Senator, good morning, and I want you to help our audience--
SENATOR TIM SCOTT (R-South Carolina/@SenatorTimScott): Good morning, Garrett.
MAJOR GARRETT: --because you've worked through this. You've been through this as an elected leader and as someone deeply touched in a community that has suffered a mass shooting. Describe for my audience, for our audience, what El Paso and Dayton are about to go through.
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: Well, what a challenging time. Our prayers and our thoughts are certainly with both communities. In South Carolina here in Charleston, my hometown, at the Mother Emanuel Church, a white racist walked into the doors, sat through a Bible study for more than an hour and then executed nine members. My friend Clementa Pinckney was the pastor. My uncle had attended that church for over fifty years, so I am intimately aware of the challenges and the sense of disillusionment that comes in the aftermath. The-- the good news for our community was that our community came together through prayer. A lot of folks say that prayers don't matter. Well, I will disagree with them vehemently. Because of prayer, the five-- the nine family members forgave the shooter and brought unity into our state in a way that we have not seen in the history of the state, frankly. The Civil War started in Charleston and to have a white racist walk into a door of a black church to start, according to his objective, "a race riot," to have the actual opposite occur because of the power of faith in that church and in our community was fantastic and phenomenal. Walking out of that situation, what we'd started doing was meeting and talking and finding out where the differences were so that we could challenge ourselves to overcome those differences. And we did something that I thought was incredibly important. We said to each other that, "When you hear someone who looks like you say something that is out of line or inconsistent or insensitive, make it your responsibility to respond to that individual within your own community." That really did resonate here at home and it was very powerful and very helpful because when we're looking for ways to address the challenges that our nation is seeing all over the place, one of the things that we do--we must take individual responsibility and speak up when we hear something. Silence in and of itself is a part of the challenge. So we must speak up when we see things that are out of place, when we hear things that are inconsistent with that. That-- that's in the best interest of our nation and our communities.
MAJOR GARRETT: Senator Scott, on that topic, you mentioned sent-- silence, and, "that's not acceptable." I want to read to you a quote from a book that just was published by Tim Alberta called "American Carnage." It relates a conversation you had with President Trump. I want to quote from it directly. "I know what fear looks like. I think fear typically comes with anger and hostility. You're afraid that you're losing something, that you won't have something that you used to have. I think people who march with torches--who want to resurrect a thankfully dead part of who we were--these are people who are afraid." Trump took all this in rarely interrupting. "What can I do to be helpful?" He finally asked." What would you say to President Trump this morning, about what he has said, the atmosphere he has created, and, in his words, what he can do to be more helpful?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: Well, the first thing I would say is that we need to take a step back from the-- from politicizing every event. This is a issue of human hate, something that resides in the heart and that is actually, unfortunately, because of social technology and the social media we're seeing it connect it to other folks who have hate in their heart as well. What I'd say to everyone from the President to-- to my house is that we should take responsibility for how we respond to the situations. I am thankful that the President's response to the situation has been clear and decisive. I would hope that we would always have that clarity and decisive response in the face of hate and rage and racism. But it goes beyond that, we have to build a better society--a society where we all see that we are in the same boat. Poking holes or shooting holes in that boat only leads to casualties. All of us will be the casualty. Everyone looks in this world to America as a city on the Hill, the bright light within the stars. We have to act consistent with our values if we are to maintain the position, not as a superpower, economically, but as a moral compass for this world to follow. I think we can do that. I know that we have done it. And I believe that we will do it again.
MAJOR GARRETT: I don't know if you had a chance to hear it, but Sherrod Brown earlier on this program said he hopes the Senate will cancel the August recess, come back and address gun-related issues. Your colleague in South Carolina, Lindsey Graham, tweeted this morning. He is now in favor of so-called red flag laws. Do you have any anticipation, Senator Scott, that that will occur? The Senate will be called back this August and any legislative efforts will be undertaken whether it's assault weapons ban, background checks, or red flag laws or should they be?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: Well, Garrett, it's a great question. I don't have a clear answer for that. Something that I would be happy to do, I'd happy to be-- happily come back to Washington to have a conversation about gun violence.
MAJOR GARRETT: Right now?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: And I hope we'd do it in a very thorough way. I-- I'd do it tonight, I'd leave tonight, I'll-- I'll go tomorrow. It doesn't matter to me. This is such an important issue and an issue that we sometimes only get part of the picture because of the mass shootings. I heard one of your guests earlier talk about the fact that we had nearly forty thousand gun-related deaths in this country. That is a staggering number. And when you delve into the numbers, what you find is that sixty-five to sixty-seven percent of those murders were self-inflicted. They were suicides. When you look at the two-hundred-and-fifty-plus mass shootings in this country this year, about seventeen to twenty of them led to the loss of four lives or more. About half of those were suicides and/or domestic situations. We are in the midst of a mental health crisis that we have not truly identified. I am happy to talk about background checks. I have supported letters to the administration that eliminated bump stocks. I am willing to have that conversation. But let's make sure that we put a fine point on the actual place the numbers lead us. And wherever that goes, we should be willing to take a serious look at it.
MAJOR GARRETT: I just want to make sure I understand you clearly, Senator Scott. Your message this morning to the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, is "Come back, bring us back, and let's have a conversation on these various issues right now."
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: Garrett, it is-- it is painful to watch the challenges that I've lived through. And to suggest that for some reason we're not willing to go back and confront this major issue in our nation, I reject that. I reject the notion that something is more important than saving lives if we can do so. I'm not going to suggest that we will find ourselves on the same page, having the same answers from left or right, but I do think that it is an American crisis that we are part of. And as leaders of this country, we have an opportunity to go back and-- and deal with the issue and I hope that we find the-- the resolve to take apart the issue and-- and not just deal with one silo. I am willing to look at the entire ugly picture and look for solutions that our nation desperately learn-- yearns for.
MAJOR GARRETT: Republican Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, thank you so very much for your time.
And we'll be right back with our panel.
MAJOR GARRETT: As we do every week about this time, we would like to bring in our panel for some political analysis. Susan Page is the Washington Bureau chief at USA Today, Jeffrey Goldberg is the editor-in-chief of The Atlantic, Amy Walter is the national editor of the Cook Political Report and the host of the-- The Takeaway podcast on-- conversation, rather, on WNYC, which is not to be confused with my own podcast here at CBS known as The Takeout. That was a long way around for not very much. Anyway, David Nakamura is also a reporter covering the White House for The Washington Post. Good morning, everyone. I don't need to say it's a tough morning and I don't want to go through one of these banalities about, well, we're all so concerned. I just want to get a sense from you, collectively. I'll start with you, Susan. Our nation has been through this process before, and every time we ask this question, is there a moment, is this a moment? What do you think?
SUSAN PAGE (USA Today/@SusanPage): If-- if two hundred and forty-nine mass shootings in the space of a year is not enough to force political change, why would the two hundred and fiftieth one be? Yeah, Jeffrey reminded me that he and I sat at this table on this panel the morning after the Tree of Life shooting at the synagogue in Pittsburgh. And we had no particular answers then and I don't know that we have anymore answers now about why this would be the turning point that so many Americans say they want to see.
MAJOR GARRETT: Jeffrey.
JEFFREY GOLDBERG (The Atlantic/@JeffreyGoldberg): Well, you know, right after Sandy Hook a number of people observed that what we learned is that the country will accept a certain level of child homicide in order to have the-- the-- the gun rights that we have in place and other issues. So things didn't change after that. So it's hard to imagine that things change after any particular event. This does feel a little bit different because it's the confluence of a gun issue and a racism issue and both of those seem to be reaching a boiling point but it's hard to say that this is a-- a pivot. We might be pivoting toward an end to euphemism in some way. People are-- seem to be tired of talking about thoughts and prayers. This idea of having a national conversation around every issue seems inadequate to the moment, but we'll see.
MAJOR GARRETT: Amy, do you take anything of significance away from tweets this morning, from Fred Upton, Republican Michigan in the House, Lindsey Graham, Republican in South Carolina talking about red flag laws, finding some place to reposition themselves within this conversation?
AMY WALTER (Cook Political Report/@amyewalter): Well, I also think it goes beyond the legislative and I think we all are on the table know that too, that the issue really when we're talking about the consequences of political rhetoric and where the incentives are, people like Will Hurd aren't coming back to Congress, in part, I know he didn't say this but it-- it can't be much fun to be somebody like Congressman Hurd. He is one of only three Republicans who sit in a district that Hillary Clinton carried. So now there will be maybe after 2020 only two left in districts that Hillary Clinton carried. Those are the folks that bring a diversity of ideas, who are there to sort of raise their hand and say, well, it might play in your district but it doesn't play here and to bring that kind of conversation. But that doesn't happen anymore. The people who are willing to compromise, those people have all been either defeated or they've left on their own. And so what that leaves us with is an incentive structure in Washington where it's all or none. I mean, this conversation isn't-- in some ways isn't that hard to have but we can't have it because there's no and/or but into the conversation. So either you have, it's either mental health issues or it's-- we have to get rid of all guns, right? You-- there's somewhere in between here and there's also the consequence of the-- the rhetoric. And I think that's going to be-- it's, obviously, been a big issue thus far under President Trump's tenure but that there are actual consequences to stoking and inflaming, President Trump didn't invent this polarization but the constant just stoking of it has actual consequences.
DAVID NAKAMURA (The Washington Post/@DavidNakamura): Absolutely. I mean this is a President I think in 2016 there was some general sense with if-- if there was a President given his conservative bona fides for President Trump the way he campaigned that he could somehow give cover to some Republicans on something like gun control--
AMY WALTER: Yeah.
DAVID NAKAMURA: --find, you know, some common ground, as-- as unlikely as that might be, this would be a possible President who could do something like that. He has shown no inclination to do so.
MAJOR GARRETT: Right. The idea being Republicans will follow him just about anywhere as will the base.
DAVID NAKAMURA: Right. And I think what you're saying though--
AMY WALTER: That's right.
DAVID NAKAMURA: --this particular case, if this manifesto is, indeed, tied to the shooter in the case in El Paso is that President Trump is-- this is beyond an issue of mass shooting it's now tied up into questions about white nationalism, about the President's rhetoric and about Trump-- Trumpism in an election year. So the idea that we can move forward and President Trump would be the one to give Lindsey Graham and others the political cover seems extremely unlikely.
MAJOR GARRETT: I am a little uncomfortable with the word manifesto. I think it invests a kind of credibility that this essay doesn't, I think, warrant, but be that as it may, and once authorities and they are on this trail now, believe they can confirm that the two are linked. In it, it says, the increase in Hispanic population in Texas prompted his action, blames Democrat and Republican leaders and corporations for failing the country, specifies that neither President Trump nor any other presidential candidate inspired him, expressed his support for the Christchurch shooter in New Zealand. Jeffrey, this is an impossible question to answer but I'm going to give you a chance.
JEFFREY GOLDBERG: Oh, thank you.
MAJOR GARRETT: Not what can we-- what ought we conclude about it but what does this tell us possibly that we should think about and maybe act on?
JEFFREY GOLDBERG: It tells us that that the-- another term that might be antiquated now is lone wolf, after you have so many lone wolves it's-- it's a wolf pack, it's not connected in the same way as, say, ISIS or al Qaeda-structured organizations, but there is a-- a common viewpoint shared by different white males in different parts of the world about the condition of the world. Social media has allowed this to-- to grow mostly unnoticed. People are-- you don't need a terror organization anymore when people can connect their ideas to each other across social media, across the internet. And so we are in a-- we're in a completely different kind of challenge for law enforcement where people are neither radicalized by organizational structures but they're not self-radicalized either. There's so much help. And so, I mean, I agree with you on the manife-- it's a screed and what it is a screed, it's a pastiche of ideas that have been floating around in the netherworld of the internet and-- and these young minds are putting these ideas together and some are taking action.
SUSAN PAGE: And we had-- we had a warning of this last month. The FBI Director Chris Wray testified before Congress that the FBI had investigated nearly one hundred instances this year of domestic terrorism and most of them were associated in some way with white nationalism and the only reason this testimony didn't get more attention I think is because it was right before Robert Mueller was testifying about the-- the Russia investigation, but that is a pretty sobering message nearly as many examples of domestic terrorism being pursued by the FBI as international terrorism inside our border.
MAJOR GARRETT: George P. Bush is the land commissioner of Texas, the grandson of George Herbert Walker Bush, the son of Jeb Bush, very quick on Twitter to describe his career in Afghanistan as a naval officer, quoting him directly on Twitter, "There have now been multiple attacks from self-declared white terrorists here in the U.S. in the last several months. This is a real and present threat that we must all denounce and defeat." Amy, do you think that is singularly suggestive of the Bush family writ large and do you think it will be something that Republicans, like Will Hurd and others, will rally around?
AMY WALTER: So George P. Bush is in Texas, a state that is, obviously, incredibly diverse, if he wants to run for higher office in the state of Texas, he understands and appreciates what that would look like, the coalition that you need to put together to win in a state like Texas, and the age that he is right now, he's much younger knowing where we're going-- we're headed in the future, so I think he reflects where-- where the party needs to go but right now in the age of Trump, they are in a place where that's not true. I just wanted to give one statistic right now in Congress. Republicans represent eighty-three percent of-- of-- of the hundred districts with the highest share of native-born residents. So places that have the highest share of non-native born residents are held by Democrats, almost exclusively.
MAJOR GARRETT: David, it sounds like George P. Bush is thinking about the future and is suggesting with this tweet it seems to me and to pick up on Amy's point that though this may be the current trajectory he does not believe it is the long-term trajectory as a Republican Party.
DAVID NAKAMURA: Sure, I mean, there's Democrats that go back even back to Obama days that talked about, you know, trying to embed in Texas to help it turn blue. I think, though, you know, more immediately, of course, I was reminded just that President Trump himself visited El Paso. The same time he gave a speech there. And if you look-- I went and looked back at his speech. It talked about his-- his immigration agenda, did not mention almost anything about the positive aspects of immigration certainly. And also, you know, recited a number of statistics that were inflated and inaccurate about the dangers of immigrants and undocumented immigrants. He called Juarez, Mexico, right across the border one of the most dangerous cities in the world. He inflated the number of murders and violent crimes among immigrants. This is a President if you-- if you think about it, too, beyond just talking about a caravan invasion, he talked about an emergency at the border that he had to act. And if you look at sort of the-- the language of this-- the screed or whatever you want to call it that's-- that was most posted online by the-- potentially by the alleged shooter, it-- it echoes quite a bit of that.
MAJOR GARRETT: Jeffrey.
JEFFREY GOLDBERG: Just as to one note on George P. Bush, let's-- let's credit him with electoral acumen but let's also credit George P. Bush and other people in the Bush family and other Republicans with being genuinely horrified by the ethno-nationalist tilt of the Republican Party and especially its President. I mean, I think that there are numbers, large numbers of people, many of whom have left Congress recently who don't like the way this is going and don't like the association of the Republican Party with the kind of white nationalism.
MAJOR GARRETT: Susan.
SUSAN PAGE: We know over the long term--
MAJOR GARRETT: About twenty seconds.
SUSAN PAGE: We know over the long term this is a losing proposition for the Republican Party to give up on black members, to give up on Hispanic voters, but what we don't know is whether it works in the short term in next year's election.
MAJOR GARRETT: Susan Page, thank you very much.
We'll be right back.
MAJOR GARRETT: That's it for us today. As we leave, we want to thank the first responders and authorities who have acted so heroically in both El Paso and Dayton. And to the families and friends, neighbors and acquaintances of the victims, you have our deepest sympathies for your losses.
Margaret will be back next week. For FACE THE NATION, I'm Major Garrett.