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Trump Twitter Rage Engulfs White House; Interview with U.S. Senator Susan Collins of Maine. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired June 29, 2017 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:10] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And good evening. Thanks for joining us.

On a day that began with the president of the United States sending a pair of tweets personally attacking a woman, insulting her intelligence, questioning her sanity, and expressing contempt for her appearance, I want to read you a passage from a book full of advice on how a president ought to behave.

Quote: The president of the United States is the most powerful person in the world. The president is the spokesman for democracy and liberty. Isn't it time we brought back the pomp and circumstance and sense of awe for that office that we all held?

The writer went on to say: That means everyone in the administration should look and act professionally, especially the president. The writer concludes: impressions matter.

That quote is from a book called "Crippled America". It was written in 2015. The author, Donald J. Trump.

The same Donald J. Trump who wrote this after Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski criticized him this morning on MSNBC. Quote, I heard poorly rated "Morning Joe" speaks badly of me. Don't watch anymore. Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe came to Mar- A-Lago three nights in a row around New Year's Eve and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face lift. I said no.

Now, it's easy at this point to just shrug and say, well, this is what our president does. That's who he is. Maybe to some, this even seems normal.

But it's not normal. This is the most powerful man on the face of the entire planet, a man struggling to fulfill promises he's made on health care reform and a whole host of other issues, lashing out personally at a cable news anchor, making snide comments and allegations about her appearance.

Now, people say stupid things all the time. People say inappropriate things, cruel things, crude things. Adults apologize for them. The president sends his spokespeople out to do just the opposite.


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think he's been very clear that when he gets attacked, he's going to hit back. I think the American people elected somebody who's tough, who's smart and who's a fighter. And that's Donald Trump. And I don't think that it's a surprise to anybody that he fights fire with fire.


COOPER: Donald Trump is many things, but tough is not one of them. Tough is fighting for the health care reforms that you actually campaigned on. Tough is rising above insults and actually leading.

What our president does is not a display of toughness, it's a display of weakness of character, of thinness of skin.


SANDERS: The things that this show has called him, and not just him, but a numerous members of his staff, including myself, and many others, are very deeply personal. So to then turn and pretend like, you know, this approach is -- I guess it's like we're living in the twilight zone.


COOPER: Well, somewhere in the twilight zone, a teeny tiny violin is playing the world's saddest song for the most powerful man on earth. Other than that, few are shedding any tears for the president's plight, notably, not Republican lawmakers today who've been lining up to condemn his remarks. Oh, and on top of all the other things that Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said today, this was her response when asked if the president's tone creates an atmosphere of violence.


SANDERS: The president in no way form or fashion has ever promoted or encouraged violence of anything. Quite the contrary.


COOPER: Now, Sarah Huckabee Sanders is simply not being honest there. It's not the first time.

Here's Donald Trump on the campaign trail. You can judge for yourself if he's encouraging violence or to the contrary discouraging it.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I would like to punch him in the face, I'll tell you.


COOPER: The president on the campaign trail early last year. There were other comments as well. However, there's no sign that anyone in the White House even acknowledges the possibility that his statements are over the top. To the president, his spokespeople, even his senior adviser and daughter, this is all about the president or themselves as victims.


IVANKA TRUMP, SENIOR ADVISER TO THE PRESIDENT: It is hard, and there is a level of viciousness that I was not expecting. I was not expecting the intensity of this experience. But this isn't supposed to be easy.


COOPER: She's not talking about her father's viciousness. That's Ivanka Trump who has made the dignity of women, especially women in the workplace allegedly a central mission of hers. She's not commented on her father's attack in a woman in a workplace, particularly an attack about her physical appearance.

And here is the first lady on the issue that she said she wanted to champion as first lady, cyber bullying.


MELANIA TRUMP, U.S. FIRST LADY: My passion is the same, helping children and helping women. And also, you see now in the 21st century the social media, it's very damaging for the children. We need to guide them and teach them about social media because I see a lot of negativity on it. And we need to help them.

It has some positive effects as well, because this is the life that we live in now, but has a lot of negativity as well. And I see more and more children being hurt by it.

[20:05:01] COOPER: There's a lot of bullying that goes on online.

MELANIA TRUMP: A lot of bullying.


COOPER: Well, as far as her husband's Twitter attack today, her spokesperson telling CNN, quote, As the first lady has stated publicly in the past when her husband gets attacked, he will punch back ten times harder -- which is not quite the same as Sarah Huckabee Sanders suggested voters elected him to do, which is to fight on their behalf and not his own.

Continuing the work done by our friends on "THE LEAD," we analyzed more than 750 tweets from the president since taking office. We just found 206, or a bit more than one in four were about policy. Almost 400 more were on meeting foreign dignitaries, holiday greetings, assorted other subjects. Eighty-four were attacks on the press or the coverage of him. Thirty-one directly attacked a person or people.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders complains that we focus on those 31 and not the others, or the other big concerns of the country. What she won't acknowledge is that these kind of tweets are taking away from the president's own agenda. Remember, this is energy week. We've been reporting on that. We've

had infrastructure week and plenty of other weeks and initiatives this White House wants to accomplish, but so far has yet to. Including, we should add, any major initiative yet on cyber bullying.

In a moment, a leading Republican senator weighs in. She's someone the president needs if he wants to get his health care legislation.

First, let's go to CNN's Jim Acosta at the White House.

So, still nothing resembling an apology certainly from the president of the White House, right?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Anderson. No apology from President Trump. No apology from the White House. I don't think we're going to have one coming.

Keep in mind, earlier today, as you said, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the deputy press secretary, essentially said this was an example of the president fighting back.

But, Anderson, keep in mind, earlier this month, it was just a few weeks ago, the White House said the president's tweets are official statements from the president of the United States. It was very likely these tweets, which went after Mika Brzezinski over at MSNBC will be stored for all eternity, memorialized for all eternity over at the National Archives at the Library of Congress.

And earlier this evening, the president was asked about these tweets, whether he had any regrets, and here's what he had to say.


REPORTER: Mr. President, do you regret your tweets this morning at all?

REPORTER: Mr. President, how do you get China to cooperate with North Korea?

REPORTER: Mr. President, no regrets over your tweets you sent out this morning?


ACOSTA: And there you have the president not responding to those questions, Anderson. Keep in mind the video you were just watching there was the president welcoming South Korean President Moon to the White House. They're obviously going to be talking about some weighty issues, including what's happening in North Korea right now, and the threat that they pose to the region and the world. And yet this White House is having to play defense about tweets.

And, you know, we were asking earlier today, I tried to ask in the briefing room whether the president apologizes for any of this. Keep in mind, the president rarely ever apologizes. The only time I recall covering the campaign when the president apologized is after he was caught on tape saying it was OK to grab a woman by their private parts. And even in that apology, he pivoted quickly to an attack on Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton. And so, it's just not really in the president's DNA to do something like that.

COOPER: Yes, Jim. I mean, the White House said, you know, in the past they wanted the president's tweets to speak for themselves. I mean, I guess that wasn't the case today.

ACOSTA: Not the case today. And, Anderson, keep in mind, this is part of a pattern, it appears, with the president's treatment towards women. It was just earlier this week that he summoned an Irish reporter who is a woman over to his desk in the Oval Office and was making comments about her appearance and her smile. Something that the -- that that Irish reporter tweeted about that she felt was inappropriate.

This is not the first time this has happened. You'll remember during the campaign when he went after Megyn Kelly in that very offensive fashion. But the White House was insisting time and again today, Sarah Huckabee Sanders from the podium insisting time and again today that this is not a pattern for the president, and not exhibiting any kind of rhetoric that encourages violence in this country.

As you played in that tape, yes, he did say one rally in Nevada, I was at that rally, where he said I'd like to punch that protester in the face. But keep in mind, this is also somebody that he said on the campaign that he could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and get away with it -- Anderson.

COOPER: Jim Acosta, Jim, thanks very much.

As we mentioned, Republican lawmakers have been taking their shots all day. Senator Ben Sasse from Nebraska says, quote: Please just stop. This isn't normal and it's beneath the dignity of your office.

Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska: Stop it. The presidential platform should be used for more than bringing people down.

Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina: Mr. President, your tweet was beneath the office and represents what is wrong with American politics, not the greatness of America.

Senator Susan Collins of Maine tweeted, this has to stop. We all have a job. Three branches of government and media, we don't have to get along. But we must show respect and civility.

I spoke with Senator Collins earlier this evening.


COOPER: Senator Collins, I saw your tweet about the president's comments earlier today about Mika Brzezinski. Do you not believe that the president shows respect and civility here?

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: I believe that the president failed to show both respect and civility. [20:10:03] The president should be modeling behavior -- good behavior.

And this language falls far short of that.

COOPER: Does it demean the office of the president?

COLLINS: It's unworthy of the office of the president of the United States. And I'm concerned about how we look in the eyes of the world, as well as our own citizens.

COOPER: You know, Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that -- earlier today, defending the president, that the president fights fire with fire, and, you know, punches back if punched.

Should the president be doing that? I mean, it's -- is that appropriate for someone who has the highest office in the land?

COLLINS: No, it's not. When you're a candidate for public office, I think you've got more latitude when it comes to your rhetoric. But once you become the public official, particularly the president of the United States, you're held to a different standard. And given how polarized and divided our country is already, the president's words simply add to that polarization. And I think that's harmful to the culture, and to our ability to work together to solve real problems.

COOPER: Yes. I mean, you know, there was condemnation on this from a handful of Republicans today. But, you know, as you said in your tweet, this has -- this has to stop. And it comes, you know, just days after we saw the awful shooting in Virginia of Congressman Scalise, and the president spoke eloquently about, you know, turning down the rhetoric, about civility and things like that. It seems that's forgotten.

COLLINS: The president did speak eloquently after the shooting of the congressman and others at the congressional baseball game. And that's why I was particularly surprised to see him revert to this kind of language, because he clearly recognized that he has a role to play in uniting and healing the country. And unfortunately, he threw some gasoline on the embers today.

COOPER: Let's talk about health care. I want to play something that you said earlier this week. And then we'll talk.


COLLINS: This president is the first president in our history who has had neither political nor military experience. And that's -- it has been a challenge to him to learn how to interact with Congress, and how to push his agenda forward.


COOPER: I mean, do you think it is the lack of military/political experience that is the challenge here on an issue, as important as health care, or is it something else?

COLLINS: I think that's a large part of it. We've never before had a president who did not have political or military experience. So, this is very new to President Trump. This isn't like cutting a real estate deal in New York City, at which I gather he was quite skilled.

This is an area where he has to persuade people. He has to bring them along. He has to make the arguments. And --

COOPER: And he hasn't done that?

COLLINS: Well, he has begun to. And I give the president credit for the meeting held earlier this week. He listened very intently to all of our issues.

I brought up four issues about the health care bill that are particularly troubling to me. And he sat there for an hour and a half, and really seemed to be taking everything in. And that's what he should do more of.

COOPER: The president yesterday said that there's a, quote, big surprise when it comes to health care coming. Do you have any idea what he means by that?

COLLINS: I don't. It could have been the $45 billion opioid fund. But I wonder if perhaps he is going to suggest that the repeal of the tax, the 3.8 percent tax on investment income would be dropped from the bill, which I think would be a good start. Because it would give us some of the funding that is needed for the Medicaid program.

COOPER: How far away from being able to support a repeal and replace are you?

COLLINS: Well, first let me say that I think the Republican leaders and the White House are making a sincere effort to listen to us and try to accommodate concerns. But for me, I have fundamental concerns about the bill, and it's going to be hard for me to get to yes.

COOPER: Senator Collins, I appreciate your time.

COLLINS: Thank you.


COOPER: Well, when we come back, more in the White House's defense of the president's tweet today.

[20:15:00] And later, breaking news in the GOP effort to pass a Senate health care bill before the holiday recess. We'll have late reporting on why it appears to be fizzling.


COOPER: A short time, the president was asked about his attack tweets. Here's again his response.


REPORTER: Mr. President, do you regret your tweets this morning at all?

REPORTER: Mr. President, how do you get China to cooperate with North Korea?

REPORTER: Mr. President, no regrets over your tweets you sent out this morning?


COOPER: No reply.

Joining us is Maggie Haberman, Jeffrey Lord, Ryan Lizza, and Kirsten Powers.

I mean, Maggie, it's -- I mean, I don't know where to begin on this. But it's tough to overstate the mess the president created for himself today. Again, it overshadows all the stuff he's supposedly trying to do.

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It really -- it's hard to find the words. It is not funny.

His folks will say, you know, he's hitting back, he gets attacked, he's counterpunching, this is a television show where the hosts have been guests of his, they say. I have no idea whether that's true or not, at Mar-a-Lago. And, you know, they, quote/unquote, attack him.

And it is true they've said all manner of things about his mental state, and they've been very, very aggressive about some members of his White House.

[20:20:02] But he's the president. And he is supposed to set the tone and set the message. I can't tell you the number of times I have had my oldest child say something to me in the last six months, and when I have said, you can't talk that way, he says, why not, the president does it?

And so, there is why -- there is a difference between a cable show host and a president. His words do carry meaning. And I don't -- look, I don't agree with those necessarily who say this is going to hurt him politically, meaning that he will lose support. We have seen him do --

COOPER: Right, nothing else --

HABERMAN: -- some version of this. Right. Over two years -- it's almost two years ago that he said the thing about Megyn Kelly.

So, I think that -- but I do think that he is damaging himself with people who could be friends on Capitol Hill. And I don't mean in the context of current legislation. I mean, at some point, there will be some crisis not of his own making, not related to Russia, where he's going to need allies. And I don't know that he's going to have a lot of people who are inclined to defend him.

COOPER: I mean, Kirsten, it does seem he has -- I mean, he frequently goes after women, and often on the way they appear or the way he believes they appear, or things he wants to say about or wants people to believe the way they appear.

KRISTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. I think -- you know, it's fine for a man to disagree with a woman, and even if he wants to attack her based on a disagreement. You know, if they were questioning his mental stability and he questioned their mental stability. I'm sitting aside the fact that he's president. He shouldn't be doing this because he's president. But let's just suspend that for a second, and say they hit him, he hits back.

What he did went well beyond that. You know, what he did was a misogynist attack against her. And that's what you see in a lot of the other attacks. has a great story up sort of outlining all the different attacks he's made on women. This isn't the first time he's made cracks about plastic surgery that probably didn't happen.

And it's something that's meant to go at -- to demean the woman specifically to her womanhood, right? It's a misogynist attack.

And so, that is in a different category. That really isn't something that Sarah Sanders should be defending. You know, the idea that anything that was said on that show comes anywhere near about what he said about Mika is just preposterous.

COOPER: Jeff, do you agree that is a misogynist attack?

JEFF LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, I don't. But, first of all, let me say, I don't think he should have done it. And Maggie is --

COOPER: Because?

LORD: I just think that if you're going to go down that road, don't. Just in general. There are other people, if they want to go out and do that kind of thing, there are other people in talk radio land --

COOPER: Do you think it's beneath the dignity of the office of the president?

LORD: Yes, I don't think it's -- I don't think it's a good idea. And I also think it's distracting. That said, though, there is another world out there. I mean, this business that this is misogynistic, I find that so patronizing of Mika Brzezinski.

She is a liberal talk radio -- or talk TV host. Like any guy. So, if he would say these things about a guy, why not her?


HABERMAN: What man has he said this about?


COOPER: What man has he gone after in physical appearance?

POWERS: No, on having plastic surgery. I mean, seriously? I mean, who has he said that about. I mean, that's preposterous.


HABERMAN: I'm sorry, I don't mean to talk over Kirsten. He -- it's not true. I mean, he's certainly attacked men. Little Marco, Lying Ted --

LORD: That's a physical thing, right? Little?

HABERMAN: Really, you think that's the same as talking about a woman's plastic surgery that he claims happen?

LORD: It's a physical appearance. Yes?

HABERMAN: I don't think -- he has a specific way that he has attacked women. It's usually --

COOPER: Carly Fiorina's face.

HABERMAN: He tweeted about Ted Cruz's wife. In fact, that was one of the only things I've heard him say was a mistake when he tweeted a side by side picture he got off the Internet, someone got off the Internet, of his wife and Heidi Cruz, Ted Cruz's wife. The tweet was a picture says a thousand words.

And it was cruel. There was a cruelty there. There was a cruelty about the tweet this morning, too.

COOPER: Kirsten?

POWERS: Yes. Can I say one other thing? Can we just talk about the fact -- I don't know if people talked about this -- that this actually never happened, right? I mean, that's the other thing. He just made something up.

I mean, Mika -- there's picture of Mika Brzezinski at Mar-a-Lago during this time and she looks quite fetching, you know? There's no blood coming off of her face.

So, I mean, what is this? He just makes up something? I mean, even if there were no pictures, I could sit here with absolute certainty and tell you that Mika Brzezinski did not show up at Mar-a-Lago with a bleeding face. I mean, let's just use some common sense here.

So, he's actually making up something, you know, to try to demean her. I just don't understand what the argument is, how this isn't misogynist. Why is he talking about her even -- why would Mika even need a face lift? She's a beautiful woman, you know, who looked great -- she looked great a year ago and she looks great today.

I mean, this is the idea that he has that I guess, you know, a woman gets to be a certain age and they must need to have to be getting plastic surgery. I mean, try to explain that to me, because I don't understand it. Jeffrey?

LORD: Well, I volunteered to be waterboarded instead of doing this segment here.

[20:25:04] POWERS: Well, you're the one who just said it was absolutely not misogyny. So, what is it?

LORD: Right, because I believe in the equality of the sexes. And I think if you are a radio -- a TV talk show host, and you're out there saying the president of the United States is mentally ill, which is what she has said, when Joe Scarborough is saying he is a schmuck and running -- there's a whole long list of things that these people have said about him and he fights back.

Now --

POWERS: But he's not -- can you see that it's not proportionate?

LORD: What did Mika do in response? She put up the thing of little hands. Hello? Is that male-hating?

POWERS: I mean, I don't -- I don't know. I didn't see what she put up.

LORD: Well, I saw it. I saw it. And it was clearly a physical reference. All right?

POWERS: I mean, I guess she didn't like --

LORD: The larger point I'm trying to make, Kirsten, is that particularly conservatives. I mean, I'm old enough to remember when Barry Goldwater was said to be nuts. They put out a psychiatrist's report when he ran for president and said that he was, A, bordering on being crazy --

POWERS: I know, he calls us crazy too.

LORD: And he was also -- but this is what happens to conservatives all of the time.

POWERS: Jeffrey, but he called her crazy. And he called Joe psycho and he called her low I.Q.

LORD: Joe Scarborough called him crazy.

POWERS: I don't understand -- OK, but like --

LORD: Where's the outrage?

COOPER: Let her respond.

POWERS: I'm suspending the fact that he's president of the United States here, which he should not be doing this as president. But even if I'm just accepting that you think you hit back. Fine, he hit back. They called him crazy, responds crazy.

But you don't see any difference in going after a woman and claiming that she --

LORD: I don't see her as a woman. I see her as an equal, as a talk show host, that's it.

POWERS: That has nothing to do with equality.

LORD: That's sexist.

POWERS: Equality would be not talking to the woman that way. You're trying to make it out that somehow it's equal for women to be demeaned.

LORD: Just like men, little Marco. Case in point.

COOPER: Ryan, go ahead.

RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Jeffrey, look, this is who Donald Trump is. And at this point, none of us should be surprised. I mean, he's someone that is incredibly accused of sexual assault, that bragged about sexual assault in the famous tape --

LORD: He hasn't been accused of rape like Bill Clinton.

LIZZA: Actually, his former wife retracted it, but she did accuse him of rape once. So, he was once accused of rape despite his wife's retraction.

And he is someone that repeatedly, despite Jeff saying that this is not misogynistic, he repeatedly has a habit of attacking physical characteristics of women, whether it's Heidi Cruz, Heidi Klum. If you're attacking Heidi Klum's physical appearance, you really got some judgment problems. Arianna Huffington, the list goes on.

POWERS: Rosie O'Donnell.

LIZZA: Rosie O'Donnell, what's her name, Alicia Machado.

So, Jeff, I don't know how you can sit there and say Donald Trump doesn't have a history of going after women specifically on the way that they look. And I know you have this idea that that's -- it's your version of feminism that he attacks women --

LORD: It is feminism.

LIZZA: But when you are a powerful man, a president of the United States, Jeff, and attacking people well below --

LORD: Oh, please, she's a powerful player in television.

LIZZA: No one's more powerful than the president, Jeff. And conservatives like you used to make this point when Bill Clinton had a habit of some bad behavior.

COOPER: What about the freaking dignity of the presidential office? What about the days when -- yes, I mean, George W. Bush insisted people wore tie in the Oval Office. And now, that seems like a laughable notion.

LORD: Anderson -- COOPER: It's like why should any kid look up to the president of the

United States now?

LORD: Point taken, I agree with that. I agree with that.

But all I'm saying to you is, there is another world here where conservatives are relentlessly attacked and nobody cares. They can say the most outrageous things. These folks sat there on their television set and said the president of the United States was mentally ill. Those are her words, and nobody blinks.

You called the president of the United States mentally ill. No, I'm sorry you don't.

COOPER: We got to take a break. Hold on. We're going to continue this conversation.

We're going to take a quick break. We'll right back. Of course, we'll be right back.


[20:32:33] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We're with a panel talking about the President's attack tweet, particularly ones this morning against Mika Brzezinski. His spokesperson's defense of them, which is that he is the real victim. Virtually no one is defending them. Here is what Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins told me earlier about their impact.


SUSAN COLLINS, (R) SENATOR, MAINE: It's unworthy of the office of the president of the united states. And I'm concerned about how we look in the eyes of the world, as well as our own citizens.


COOPER: I'm back now with the panel. Maggie, you were about to say something.

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: We were talking about why is it OK for people to sit on a television set and call the President crazy. And it's very heated type of rhetoric. It certainly is advisable, I think psychiatrists often think say people should not diagnose in the media. And that's all fair.

But part of becoming president is that you get criticized. That is just what comes with the job. And, you know, I think we can all remember the current President criticizing his predecessor and questioning his birthplace. Which that President had to basically sit and take and eventually put out his birth certificate in response to what were pretty demeaning statements.

No one said that Donald Trump didn't have a right to do it. People questioned whether it was OK or not. But there is free speech in this country. This is how this works. And every President gets criticized. And every president ends up feeling like they are the only ones who do. By the way, he is not the only one but he is the only person who has giving sort of realtime venting to it. And has basically put himself on par with everybody else. And that can work in some circumstances, but it doesn't really work here.

COOPER: To me, it's so interesting, Kirsten, you know that the President's spokespeople are always defending him as being strong and tough.


COOPER: When to me, this seems like the exact opposite of being tough.

POWERS: Right.

COOPER: I mean tough is actually leading.


COOPER: Tough is actually having thick skin. Tough is actually doing your job, not all these other distractions. Not watching cable news in the morning and going after the, you know -- we're talking about basic cable here.

POWERS: Yes. I mean, I think often the hardest thing is to not respond to something, right? Like Maggie was just talking about with President Obama not responding to being told that, you know, he wasn't born in this country. And so, you know, I just -- I don't see this as a proportional reaction, even if you accept the fact that the President should be doing this. Which I don't.

And I also think that, you know, we've listed off a lot of the things he said about women. But there's also the thing about the blood, right? What's up with the blood? He talked about with Megyn Kelly that she was supposedly bleeding. And now Mika Brzezinski is supposedly breeding. I mean, there's something very, very bizarre about this.

[20:35:08] And I think Jeffrey, you know, I'm just going to keep doing this consciousness raising with you, I guess, and maybe some day I'll get through to you. But you should spend some time on the time lines of some of your colleague of female journalist and see what we deal with on a regular basis. Especially from Trump supporters who do frequently say these kind of things. I don't know if they got it from Trump, I don't know it's the chicken or egg or how it works exactly. But it is very specific to Trump supporters. And I think that you would maybe see that there is a double standard, that women are treated quite differently. And there is a real focus on appearance that you just don't see with men. That's what the president was doing today.

And so, like Maggie was talking about her son. I mean, kids also look to the President as an example. And said, he's reinforcing really the worst behavior that even drives some women off of Twitter and even sometimes out of public -- being in the public, you know, domain because they find it so humiliating.

JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: There is, I think, Anderson, something that we're not looking at here. And that is the way the media functions. I was listening to Rush Limbaugh today who was talking about this at length. In essence what he's saying is, we here are the -- not just here at CNN, but cable television, "The New York Times," the "Washington Post," are the old elite media. The new wave, the new media is Twitter. And Facebook and this kind of thing. And that he is in overriding that and appealing just to that audience. It angers the people in the old media, across the board.

HABERMAN: Do you think that's what people are angry about? With the New York Times, that's not rational.

RYAN LIZZA, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORKER: First of all, quoting Rush Limbaugh as some kind of icon of modern media, and what the kids are doing, is --

LORD: He's got 20 million listeners a week, Ryan.

LIZZA: Yes, but --

LORD: I know. Hello.

LIZZA: Right. Right, his audience, right. But I'm not --

COOPER: But that's not exactly -- I mean, you know, it's not --

LIZZA: It's not Mark Zuckerberg is what I'm saying, OK? Look, the -- what the media is reacting to, Jeffrey, is not that Donald Trump is a master of new media and we're all jealous that he's so good at Twitter and has so many followers, if anything, we, you know, in the media thrive on the insane situation he's created on social media. It's his aides and lawyers that want him to stop tweeting. What we're reacting to, Jeffrey, is literally the content of what he said, all of us who have covered politics for a long time can't wrap our minds around what's happening, the President of the United States who attacks women based on their looks, and calls them crazy. And uses these like old gendered stereotypes. That's what we're reacting to, Jeffrey. We're not reacting to jealousy --

LORD: Ryan, are you telling me there's a difference between calling a woman crazy and calling a man crazy, seriously?

LIZZA: Yes, one is a --

LORD: Wow. Wow. That's sexist, don't you think, Ryan?

COOPER: I don't think anyone --

LIZZA: I don't think it's sexist, Jeffrey. Just as raising certain stereotypes about Italians or Irish or Jews, sometime when you say them about one group, it actually is more offensive than saying about other group. Context matters, Jeffrey.

COOPER: I mean, women are held to a different standard. I mean, when a woman walks down -- you must have seen this -- a woman walks down the street, guys whistle at her and say things to her all the time. They don't do that to guys. Women have to put up with stuff all the time that you or I have no idea --

LORD: It was my understanding that the world we're headed to is a world of straight-out equality. I believe in that passionately.

LIZZA: But, Jeffrey --

COOPER: OK, so --

LORD: Race or gender.

LIZZA: But Jeffrey, even if we accept that --

LORD: Mika Brzezinski is our there saying the President --

COOPER: So when is the President going to talk about, you know, guys' face lift and blood coming out --

LORD: Little Marco.

COOPER: I mean, a little Marco. OK, that's the only -- OK, so that's one example. What else -- what other physical attributes --

LORD: I'm sure if I looked I could find lots of them.

HABERMAN: I think Kirsten's point about what happens on social media, which is this President's favorite medium to use, what happens to women versus men is very different.

LORD: Absolutely.

HABERMAN: What happens with women on the internet is very, very different than what happens with men. And I think that that in particular is something that is helpful for everybody around this discussion.

COOPER: So I just think it's not helpful when it's coming from the President of the United States.

LIZZA: Exactly.

COOPER: Because I think it sets the wrong tone.

LORD: So let me ask this. So --

LIZZA: But Jeffrey, even if we accept your view of feminism -- hold on one second. Jeffrey, even if we accept your enlightened view of feminism, you know, walk Jeffrey Lord's view of feminism, who cares. This is the President of the United States taking to Twitter in the middle of health care negotiations, in the middle of dealing with North Korea, in the middle of a hundred different more important issues, he's waking up, turning on basic cable and tweeting attacks on people. I mean, don't you find that slightly unsettling? LORD: Ryan, all I can say, look, do I think he should have done it? No? I think Mika and Joe should apologize and get the ball rolling. Let's have a little Kumbaya, they're not going to do it, because they love to say the stuff about it. But let's move on here, for God's sakes. Let's move on.

[20:40:05] LIZZA: You know, I've been listening to this all day from people at the White House and others, "Let's move on. Let's move on," and criticizing us in the media for talking about this. We are not the president of United States who tweeted this out. We're not the ones that -- the move on has to come from the most important person in the world.

COOPER: Jeffrey.

LORD: This smacks too much of elitism for my taste. I mean I think it was wrong. I think --


HABERMAN: But then why do you think it was wrong? If you think it was sensible (ph), then why is it wrong?

LORD: Why do I think it's wrong? I don't think the president should be doing this kind of thing.

HABERMAN: Then that seems like the beginning and the end of the conversation. I mean, I'm serious.

LORD: But the fact that he does do it doesn't mean all these things are being attributed. And do you think Sarah Huckabee Sanders -- is she not a woman, because she stood up there and defended him?

HABERMAN: Why shouldn't the president of United States, why in your mind --

COOPER: She's a paid spokesperson who is going to say anything to defend the president of United States.

LORD: Well, by the guidelines, I'm hearing from everybody here tonight, we have to treat her as a woman and not a presidential spokeswoman, right?

HABERMAN: But why shouldn't the president do it? In your mind, why shouldn't the president do it? You said that the president should be doing that.

LORD: Well, one from very practical sense that has us all talking about this instead of health care. And two, I don't think he should be doing this as president of the United States.

HABERMAN: But what's the rest of that sentence, because why? Why he shouldn't be doing this?

LORD: Because I don't think it's the right thing for a president to do. OK? COOPER: Because?

HABERMAN: Because why?

LORD: Because it causes all this controversy. It's unnecessary.

COOPER: But inherently, what you're saying is it's unseemly?

LORD: No, no. Dealing with Mika Brzezinski as an equal is a good thing. Not a bad thing.

COOPER: Right. How would you think so? It seems like, first of all, an imbalanced situation. He's President of the United States.

LORD: No. He is --

She's a basic cable news host. She's not even part of the premium package. You know?

LIZZA: Anderson, that's a terrible thing to say --


COOPER: I'm saying just I think basic cable host. I'm not part of the premium package either.

LIZZA: Wait, we're not part of premium?

COOPER: No, I think we're all just basic.


POWERS: Can I just say --

HABERMAN: Let's never forget, we're the real story.

POWERS: Yes. But can I --

COOPER: Go ahead, Kirsten.

POWERS: I just think that it is equality, it would be not using gendered attacks, like that's the point. It's like when you bring up little Marco, I mean that's just -- I don't see this even being the same thing. But even if we said it was same thing, it's like one example, right, so whereas we have a long list of him doing this to women.

And so the point is that it is a gendered attack. And he also, by the way, I mean I'm sure unleashed. I can't even imagine what the kinds of attacks Mika is getting on top of --

COOPER: Yes, right. And by the way, remember, his modeling agency was for women. I mean that Miss Universe pageant is for women. I mean it's not as if there's a nutty track record here of who we're dealing with and his relationships with women. I mean he's not to say that this is all just equal. He is not dealing with them either. LORD: Anderson, all I can say is, by way of example, when Clarence Thomas had his problem; women wrote these things in "The New York Times," women tell the truth, et cetera, et cetera, listen to us. Then we get down to Bill Clinton with allegations of rape and all the stuff, and suddenly it's only about sex. That's what I'm talking about. There's a double standard here. There's a double standard the way Donald Trump is being treated. There's a double sense.

POWERS: That makes no sense.

HABERMAN: With the "The Times" actually wrote during the campaign about those cases and about those allegations, I just don't think that that's -- I also think that Bill Clinton was not running for president in 2016.

LIZZA: I think this is actually one of the rare days where there's a single standard, where almost every conservative voice, every media voice, every liberal voice has basically said that this is beyond the pale. And the only people that are defending it are either paid, or either be paid White House Spokesman and they'll have to deal with their own conscience on that, or frankly, so far, that I've seen, you, Jeffrey.

LORD: I'm not defending it. I'm not defending it.

LIZZA: Well, you're kind of defending it actually. You're sort of saying --


LIZZA: -- he shouldn't have done it, but -- well, first of all, your reason for him not doing it is you think that was politically stupid, it sounds like to me.

LORD: No, I think it's the wrong thing to --

LIZZA: So do you think it's morally wrong?

LORD: I think it's wrong to get -- no matter who they are, no matter who they are. But you can't have a double standard where, you know, the "The Washington Post" --

LIZZA: Where's the double standard?

LORD: -- is saying he is Hitler and "The New York Times" is saying he's racist, and all of this sort of stuff, and you slam him all the time for this stuff. And then he fights back and everybody says, "Oh, you can't do that."


LIZZA: Well, we can be accusive. It's holding the President to a high standard. We hold the President to a high standard. That is true.

HABERMAN: But we're also just covering -- I mean if you want to do what Kirsten was doing earlier, which was put aside the deputy of president. We're also just covering it and we were criticized by the White House for covering it and asking questions about it. And of course we're going to ask questions about it, he's the President. He says this. So we're going to ask question.

COOPER: More to talk about, mainly, as we've been discussing some of the details of the President's past attacks on women. A Trump biographer joins us after a quick break.


[20:46:57] COOPER: The President's latest personal attack on a woman's appearance is unfortunately not unprecedented. There are so many examples of him lashing out in this way, we start to see normal to some, it is anything, but Randi Kaye tonight looks back.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Donald Trump has been dishing it out for decades. There's his long-running feud with Rosie O'Donnell who we called a fat pig. And later when she announced she suffers from depression, he said this.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I said, I think I can cure her depression. Most of you heard this. If she stop looking in the mirror, I think she'd stop being so unhappy.

KAYE: And this doozy about former Fox News Anchor Megyn Kelly, following a presidential debate.

D. TRUMP: She starts asking me all sorts of ridiculous questions, and, you know, you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, uh, blood coming out of her wherever.

KAYE: Critics charged he was referring to menstruation. Trump insisted it was a big misunderstanding. So with this, he said after mocking a disabled reporter.

D. TRUMP: You got to see this guy. Oh, I don't know what I said. I don't remember. He said, I don't remember. Maybe that's what I said. This is 14 years ago. They didn't do a retraction.

KAYE: He later said he never even met that reporter, and would never have mocked him. On Twitter, he takes aim in 140 characters or less.

D. TRUMP: Why wouldn't I use it? If I have all these millions of people, and it's a great way to get a message out.

KAYE: His message about Carly Fiorina during the campaign, "Look at that face," Trump told "Rolling Stone" magazine, adding, "Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?"

(on camera): Trump also made inflammatory remarks about women during a 2005 interview with "Access Hollywood". The tape was leaked just weeks before the election. On it then candidate Trump is heard bragging about grabbing women's genitals without invitation, saying he can do so because he's a star.

D. TRUMP: Grab them by the [ bleep ]. Do anything.

MELANIA TRUMP, FIRST LADY, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: He apologized. I accept his apology. I hope the American people will accept it as well. And it was many, many years ago. He's not the man that I know.

KAYE (voice-over): Trump especially likes to go after political types. In his Twitter feud with Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, Trump attacked her heritage calling her Pocahontas. It's a controversial issue dating back to her 2012 senate campaign. Trump tweeting, "Let's properly check goofy Elizabeth Warren's records to see if she is Native American. I say she's a fraud."

Others he's lashed out against on Twitter, media executive, Arianna Huffington. In 2012, Trump wrote, "She's unattractive, both inside and out. I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man. He made a good decision." He also tweeted about what he called actress Bette Midler's ugly face and body.

And while watching the Oscar's in 2014, he tweeted about actress Kim Novak, writing, "Kim should sue her plastic surgeon #Oscars."

[20:50:04] SEAN SPICER, PRESS SECRETARY, WHITE HOUSE: When he tweets, he gets results.

KAYE: Results? Really? Randi Kaye, CNN New York.


COOPER: We're back now with the panel. Joining the panel also is Michael D'Antonio, author of "The Truth About Trump".

What are the things that are surprising you, Michael? It's just for a guy who has reached the pinnacle. Obviously, the business role now is President of the United States. Well, he has won. It's as high as you can go. He still is so thin-skinned that he wakes up in the morning and watches "Morning Joe," which he claims he doesn't watch, and is so outraged that he launches this attack. I mean if I'm a world leader anywhere in the world, I just read his tweets and you can kind of figure out what his weaknesses are.

MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, AUTHOR, "THE TRUTH ABOUT TRUMP: Well, that's true. I think what's extraordinary. And this is an unusual thing to note, I think, is that despite his achievement and the fact that he is now the most powerful person on Earth, Donald Trump's life experience is actually quite limited. If you think about what makes a person strong, what gives a person thick skin, it's adversity, it's suffering. He's never really been in a situation where he personally suffered over anything.

He's born into great wealth. His bankruptcies were burdens for his bankers, not for him. He always had this life of guaranteed luxury and he's actually always been the most powerful person in the room. Even if you think about his personal relationships, when wives didn't please him, he got rid of them. And I think there's a problem here of people who haven't pushed back against this kind of behavior in the past. He hasn't paid a price for it. And as a result, he's actually quite sheltered. I mean the rest of us here, I think, have heard more negative feedback from our families and friends than he has in his own life and we benefit from it. And now he's really at pains to adapt to this level of criticism and not respond with this ten times harder thing.

COOPER: It is right to know that growing up to the physical attributes, is his -- I mean he's growing up to somebody as like ratings or poll numbers and physical attributes that seems to be for him the deepest cut of all.

HABERMAN: Yes. He has certain go-tos, and we saw them over and over again on the campaign.

COOPER: I mean it sort of says what he's afraid of people criticizing him on.

HABERMAN: I keep thinking about, I was thinking about the sort of the last year that when he's had times when he should be, to your point, feeling like he's at the top of the summit, you know, and he's climbed the mountain, when he -- the day that he was given the nomination formally in 2016, what was preoccupying him that day was something that his former ghost writer Tony Schwartz had done publicly. That was he was focused on.

He tends to, when things are very -- and I don't actually know what Michael thinks about this, but he tends to, when things are getting very intense or very possibly uncertain or anxiety-provoking, he focuses in on these little slights and what he can kind of push back on.

COOPER: That's interesting.

HABERMAN: I do think it's sort of remarkable though. So part of his success is that he brands things in certain ways. He says things in certain ways that are memorable and that sticks. And so we've had two years of -- nobody has forgotten for the most part the Megyn Kelly blood comment, right? So he made it through a campaign very rarely talking about any specifics on policy, being clear on where he stood the most issues. Right now, you have a major debate about the future of health care in this country and that's not getting talked about at all. And there are millions of people who are facing the potential of having their coverage severely impacted if this Senate Bill goes through, and he has created a storm where that's not being discussed. Now, I don't agree with people who think everything is an intentional distraction but I think that that's been a benefactor.

COOPER: And Mike, I mean has he always -- I mean, you've spent time with him in the past.

D'ANTONIO: He takes things very personal. This is a problem for him. And I think when you're not serving constituents, it's OK. His only concern was the bottom line of his companies and this attention- seeking work for that bottom line that makes sense. The few times that he's had obligations to large numbers of people have involved stockholders who bought shares in his company and bond holders who invested in his bonds. And in both of those cases, the results were disastrous. The stockholders lost 90 percent of their investment and the total loss for bond holders and stockholders combined is 1.5 billion.

So I think this move now into an environment where he serves the American people is really challenging for him. I don't think he's yet grasped that he can step back, pay attention to the people's business, let these things roll off him and maybe achieve a few things.

COOPER: Kirsten, do you think this argument that Sarah Huckabee Sanders makes this and that he's ended that he's always made and his life makes it, that he's a counter puncher, he gets punch, he punches back. Do people continue to buy that? I mean there's one thing during the campaign when the argument is, "You know what, and I'll punch back for you, I'll do this for you."

[20:55:06] POWERS: Right.

COOPER: At a certain point, I mean maybe people continue to believe that's what he's doing. But it doesn't seem like he's doing it on health care right now. It's really about punching back at Mika Brzezinski.

POWERS: Right, exactly. And I think PBS "NewsHour" and Marist have this poll that came out and they asked people what they thought about this tweets. And a no group, including Trump supporters, that any group of voters go over 50 percent of people saying that they thought the tweets were helpful or good. And I think the overall number was 70 percent think that they are unhelpful and sort of a distraction.

So even among his own supporters, they don't even find the tweets to be that helpful. And I think these kind of tweets fall into their own special category, right, where I think they're even less helpful in terms of moving an agenda forward and even -- I know Jeffrey is kind of hanging on and defending him, but we've heard all these other republicans coming out and saying, "No, sorry, this crosses a line." And I think that it doesn't help him.

LORD: I just want to be clear. I want the same standards for everybody.

POWERS: No, you don't. No, you don't.

LORD: Yes, I do.

POWERS: No, you don't, because there aren't the same standards, because you want women to be on the receiving end of misogynist attacks and just accept them because that's your idea of equality. I'm sorry, that is not equality.

LORD: No. That's not true. That's not true. That's not true. I mean what I'm saying to you is that when you have liberals who are charged with all sorts of things, you give them a pass. POWERS: No. OK.

LORD: That's the double standard.


POWERS: Can I just --


COOPERS: OK. Let Kirsten response.

POWERS: Let me address this. I think that that's a totally fair complaint. And I've talked about that before and I think that there can be a double standard and I think the Bill Clinton thing is a good example of that.

LORD: And Ted Kennedy.

POWERS: I think Ted Kennedy is a good example as well. But I think today, you're going back quite a ways, Jeffrey. I mean Ted Kennedy was a long time ago. Bill Clinton was a long time ago. Today Bill Clinton would not --

LORD: The principle is alive and well.

POWERS: Can I just finish my sentence? No, it's not, because Bill Clinton would not get that pass and we saw it even in Hillary's campaign, blow back even from people on the left, particularly younger people, who were hearing about this for the first time saying that's not OK. I don't like that these women have accused Bill Clinton of this.

So in today's world, actually Bill Clinton would not be defended. He would not get away with what he got away with. I firmly believe that.

LORD: Well, all I'm saying is the standard should be the same for everybody.

POWERS: I agree.

LORD: Period. That's it.

POWERS: I totally agree.

LORD: That's my point. Beginning and end.

POWERS: Right. And it's not. And that's my point. My point is with Donald Trump, he's feeding into a long history of misogyny that we have finally gotten to the point where most people agree is not acceptable and now we have the president of the United States coming out and engaging in behavior that's reinforcing it. And like I said, I guarantee Mika Brzezinski is right now on the receiving end of unspeakable attacks against her personally and her physical appearance all spurred by, who, the president of the United States of America. COOPER: Maggie, I mean, as soon you've reported a lot on the kind of inner workings of the White House, I just am fascinated how this White House works and actually what this President does all day long and how it compares to what past presidents have done. I mean, are there -- do we know, are there briefing books that he's reading? Are there -- you know, meetings where he's going into the weeds on policy issues? Because it seems like past presidents have done that. Even ones who didn't delve all that deeply, it seems like there were -- I mean I don't know of any past presidents who watched T.V. as much as Donald Trump seems.

HABERMAN: So I mean that I think is the biggest difference. This President prefers, all of his aides say, a fair amount of slack time, where he basically, you know, it's unstructured time, he gets to sort of do what he chooses, he's got this very large television. My colleague Glenn Fisher (ph) reported on it many months ago. They got installed in a tiny dining room off the Oval Office and he spends a fare amount of time in there. He doesn't look he does have meetings. But his office is more sort of Grand Central station and kind of really firmly structured, you know, guarded space.

There are people coming in and out all the time. People have told stories about trying to brief him on certain things and they constantly get interrupted. He does have briefing books he reads. There are certain areas where he is more familiar than others. But one of the complaints that came out of this meeting with senate Republicans earlier this week on health care was that there was just a level of granular detail that he didn't possess about their bill. And that was -- I don't know if it was troubling to them, I don't know if they just noted it. But he's not a deep reader. That is known about him. And I do think where I think Sarah Huckabee Sanders is correct, there's something that she said from the podium, which was pretty honest that people knew what they were electing when they elected Donald Trump. That's true.

COOPER: Well, that's certainly true.

LORD: Just quickly. That same specific criticism was made of Ronald Reagan, by the way, throughout his eight years.

HABERMAN: Ronald Reagan had been a governor and Ronald Reagan had done a whole lot than Trump.

LORD: Right. But he was always accused of not knowing the details.


[21:00:01] HABERMAN: I understand.

LORD: One other thing, everything we're talking about tonight has in a sense been litigated already. We had the election.