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Trump Flip-Flops on Issues; Browns Kneel During Anthem; Arts Committee Resigns; Awe and Oddities from Celestial Show. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired August 22, 2017 - 08:30   ET


[08:30:00] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: White supremacy or white supremacist.

I know who he is but I never met David Duke.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, and then there is the biggie -- health care. Citizen Trump wrote about and talked about universal health care. And candidate Trump still promised, we're going to have insurance for everybody. There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can't pay for it, you don't get it. That's not going to happen with us.

Trump also said the new plan would do more and cost less. The plan he ultimately agreed to wasn't even close to that. It left 24 million people over about a decade without care, according to the CBO. The White House had to backtrack for Trump calling what he said, a goal, and not a promise, and saying the important thing is more people would have the option of great health care.

So you see some differences on major issues motivated by different things.

Let's discuss with our CNN political commentators. We got Mike Shields and Ana Navarro.

It's good to have you both here.

Let's start with last night and what we heard at the top of the speech, Ana. What I heard was the president taking the opportunity - yes, he was using the metaphor of the military and what kind of home they deserve to come back to, but it seemed like he was discussing what he didn't get done last week, the flames he fanned, as I suggest, of hate in this country and the most toxic kind of left versus right. Did you hear that and did it work for you?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I heard it. I didn't hear it directly. I didn't hear it expressly. I heard a veiled reference to Charlottesville without even mentioning Charlottesville, without mentioning Heather Heyer, the woman who was killed. But he did talk about race. He did talk about the need for the nation to heal. Look, he could spend the rest of every speech he gives between now and

the end of his term talking about this, and people are not going to forget the hurt and the division that he fanned that first time he came out and then when he did it again on Tuesday. You only get one chance to make a first impression, and he made it. And he made it a terrible one. And it's going to stick with a lot of us.

That being said, he should take every single opportunity from now on to be inclusive, to be the uniter, to be the consoler in chief and the healer in chief. It is part of the job description of being president of the United States.

CUOMO: So, Mike, you know, the task is, you can say the right things but do people believe them, right? And that is one of the tests that the president was taking last night. So, to your ears, what he said up at the top about what the nation needs to do to heal, do you think that that will be accepted by the American people? And to the extent that he's laid out a case for Afghanistan that's so different from what he believed for so long, do you think people will accept that this is what he believes now?

MIKE SHIELDS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, on the Charlottesville thing, look, I disagree. I think the president made a huge mistake in what he said the Saturday that it happened and the Tuesday when he sort of -- at the transportation press conference went off on a different -- in a different direction that was very harmful to his presidency, I believe. I think what he said on the Monday was exactly right. And I think if he continues to do that over and over -- I don't know if people are ever going to believe him, but I think one of the ways to try to get them to believe you is to keep doing it over and over again.

I think if he didn't talk about it, people would say, why is he - why has he moved on from this. I think that if he puts it in every speech -- he's going to Phoenix today to do a rally. If he talks to his own base of supporters there and says some of the same things, he can begin to heal this problem for himself and for the country by never - never stopping talking about this. Talk about it every chance you get. I think that's important for him.

In terms of the Afghanistan policy, look, the president gets criticized all the time by his critics for being stubborn or, you know, not listening to people or never admitting that he's wrong. You guys have criticized him for that before. Why won't he admit when he made a mistake? He literally, in words, said last night that he changed his mind, he made a mistake, he was wrong about something and he's come up with a new policy that he actually (INNAUDIBLE) -

CUOMO: Well, he didn't use those words, but it's certainly the closest that he's come.

And Mike makes a very instructive point, Ana. Last night wasn't really the test. He read a prepared speech. It does show that he adhered to a process that our leaders should always follow, right? It was deliberative It took time. There was back and forth. Questions were asked. And an eventual assessment and conclusion was drawn and he delivered it and he executed it last night. Good for him.

Tonight's the real test. Off the prompter in front of people who will cheer whatever he says. Will he stick to the same message that he gave at the top? Will he say anything close to, I got it wrong the first time, now I want to get it right?

NAVARRO: Who knows? What we have seen from Trump time and again is Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. We don't know which one's going to show up tonight. What we have seen consistently is that the Trump that shows up in front of rallies, in front of rallies at - in front of the base is very different than from the guy that reads from the teleprompter.

[08:35:03] There needs to be some consistency from this president. It is disconcerting for so many Americans. And I think today, tonight in Phoenix, is a unique opportunity. This is a rally that's controversial. The mayor of Phoenix asked him not to cancel it, asked him not to show up because he was afraid of what would ensue. This is a unique opportunity in a swing state where immigration, where racism, where racial profiling has been such an issue, for him to be a uniter, if he wants to.

But he cannot expect people to believe a word that comes out of his mouth if he can only say it when he's reading it off a teleprompter. And yet when he's speaking off the heart, off-the-cuff, he screws it up royally and what he does is throw a bone to racists and bigots and try to equate the wrong side with the right side. That will not pass muster.

So if he thinks that by doing a teleprompter, fairly presidential speech last night, and then going today and giving red meat to the base and doing the contrary it's going to pass muster and he's going to be good with both sides. No, he's actually, I think, going to lose with those (ph).

CUOMO: Mike, Ana, appreciate it, from both of you.

And, you know, the three most loaded words in politics, we will see tonight what kind of speech he gives and mixed messages to the American people. But thanks for making us better here this morning.

All right, Alisyn, to you.


More NFL players are making a statement during the national anthem, but this protest was different. Coy Wire has the "Bleacher Report," next.


[08:40:29] CUOMO: All right, you had a dozen Cleveland Brown players taking a knee during the national anthem before their preseason game against the New York Giants. Coy Wire has the "Bleacher Report."

What as this about? COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Chris, 12 is the largest numbers of players kneeling during the national anthem on one team that we have seen until this point. So that's significant. Also significant, Seahawks Michael Bennett, who sat during his first two preseason game, said last week that it would take a white player joining protests to really see change. Well, last night Cleveland's Seth DeValve became the first white player to take a knee during the anthem since these types of protests started last year. His wife, Erica, is African-American and Seth say that the tragedy in Charlottesville was a big factor in his decision.


SETH DEVALVE, CLEVELAND BROWNS: We wanted to draw attention to the fact that there's things in this country that still need to change. And I myself will be raising children that don't look like me. And I want to do my part as well to do everything I can to raise them in a better environment than we have right now.


WIRE: All right, let's get you your feel good from the sports world today. Venezuela celebrating a game-winning hit in the final inning of the little league World Series action last night. They're playing in the Dominican Republic. Well, on the other side of victory is defeat. Nobody took it harder than pitcher Edward Duseta (ph). He's been the star for his team until this point. He gave up the winning hit. But the coaches from the opposing team rush in to console him and these young opponents, the 11 to 13-year-old boys from Venezuela, Alisyn, giving us all a lesson in humility and sportsmanship and being there for someone in the time of need.

CAMEROTA: This is so touching, Coy. That is a real -- that's sweet video right there of them hugging him and everything. Thank you.

WIRE: You're welcome.

CAMEROTA: All right, so President Trump's entire White House arts and humanities counsel resigning in the wake of the president's response to Charlottesville. Actor Kal Penn was one of them. He joins us, next.


[08:46:34] CAMEROTA: Every single member of President Trump's committee on the arts and humanities resigned in protest over the president's response to Charlottesville. Then the White House responded that President Trump was going to disband the group anyway.

Actor Kal Penn didn't think that was true, so he tweeted this. LOL, Donald Trump, you can't break up with us after we broke up with. Laugh my funny ars off. OK, I'm cleaning it up.

Kal Penn joins us now. That's a bad breakup, Kal Penn, so --


PENN: Yes.

CAMEROTA: So I mean why did you feel the need to resign from the advisory committee?

PENN: Sure. So I think, you know, the committee was probably two times larger than this and we are appointed to serve until we're replaced. So we don't term out like a lot of other boards and commissions. And so we -- those of us who stayed on after the inauguration decided to because we felt like the work we were doing was nonpartisan, mostly in the arts education space and the culture diplomacy space.

And we work with a lot of kids. You know, we work in 18 or 19 different states in this program called Turnaround Arts, that's now been moved to the Kennedy Center by the way and is still running very vibrantly.

But after the president's Charlottesville response, you know, I think most of us just didn't feel that it was appropriate anymore and we just didn't want our names associated with him.

CUOMO: Why this? There have been plenty of opportunities for you to act out, if it you wanted to.

PENN: Yes.

CUOMO: Why Charlottesville?

PENN: Well, we don't see this as acting out. I mean part of it is, you know, when you choose to stay on between administrations, obviously we disagree with the Republican agenda when the president went and attacked trans service members and was trying to roll back Obamacare and pull out of Paris and that's I think his right to do. He was fairly elected.

Our role, I think we felt, was to focus on arts education and cultural diplomacy. But once you -- and we are cultural advisors by mandate on the -- or we were on the president's committee on arts and humanities. So this is very much a cultural issue, right? I think the response to Charlottesville is -- his response was the worse of who we are and we felt like that was not who we are at all and we're better than that and this was an opportunity to show that.

CAMEROTA: So, Kal, what had you been planning to do on this commission that now you won't be doing?

PENN: So there are a few things. One, the cultural diplomacy piece in general, we were the -- had an opportunity to go to Cuba as the first ever U.S. government arts and culture delegation. A lot of that work obviously may have stopped anyway given the president's stance on Cuba.

But I think one of the bigger pivotal portions is economics progress and arts education. Those are sort of two buckets. A lot of people forget about the role of arts in economic development, and typically Democrat or Republican, if you have presidents who are pushing things like STEM and innovation, the difference between engineering and innovation is often a vibrant arts education program. And so absent that we may not be able to compete as strongly against countries like India and China who are investing in all these spaces. So that's one thing that we hope certainly the White House would continue the way the previous administrations had.

And then the arts education piece, this Turnaround Arts program had actually been moved slowly before we had all resigned over to the Kennedy Center. So that is still very, very vibrant.

CUOMO: Let me ask you something. Here's the tension. You don't like what he said. Doesn't represent what you think matters. So you step away.

There's another side to it, which is, stick in there, brother, because if you're there to fight the good fight, this is your opportunity. This is as close to the seat of power as you can get. And you make the case that, well, OK, you don't agree, exert that influence, create a different message, have a different projection of that come out of that administration. Now you can't.

[08:50:09] PENN: Sure. I understand how that could be something that you see, but I view it the other way, which is, this is largely a dysfunctional government period. And you have a White House that has gone into federal agencies and essentially put in a freeze, right? So they're wasting taxpayer dollars. The agencies are not often allowed to do anything at all.

We had these vibrant programs, like I mentioned with the Turnaround Arts program where you could actually push it to an outside entity like the Kennedy Center and continue it. And we felt like this was a point where an opportunity to resign en masse would send a stronger message about who I think the majority of Americans really are, the love that we have for each other, the opportunity to move the country forward, in ways that a lot of folks are doing outside of government. And that if government is so dysfunctional and you can't get anything done, what if we focus on things outside the government to actually do those things together. And especially, look, you're dealing with a tiny fingered Vulgarian (ph) who loves to tweet crazy things as his way to get policy done? Come on, we're better than that.

CAMEROTA: Spy (ph) magazine reference I heard there. Well played.

PENN: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Kal, "The Washington Post" saw this as sort of a watershed moment. And so they wrote -- they had this article where they said seven months into President Trump's rein, the elites are striking back. From Wall Street to West Palm Beach and West Hollywood, the past week has been a turning point, perhaps even a tipping point. The growing numbers of groups canceling galas, stars boycotting ceremonies and chief executives resigning from advisory boards is further isolating Trump.

Is that how you see it? Are the elite striking back?

PENN: I can't speak for other boards and commissions, obviously. I think in our case the majority of our members work in the nonprofit art space. I understand that because I work in the commercial art space, you know, interviews like this are oftentimes something that people want. But, honestly, the majority of our folks work in the nonprofit arts space. They work with children. They work with community development organizations. These are the folks who are really worried and wanting to do -- or continue to do the really good work that they've been doing before.

So, for us, a lot of it was just a reflection on how can we best continue to serve these committees? Is it going to be inside a committee like this or on the outside? And, for us, the answer was very clear, particularly after Charlottesville, that that was going to be on the outside.

CUOMO: All right, Kal, appreciate you coming on to discuss this with us. And we look forward to getting good work done on the outside. Let us know how it goes.

PENN: Thanks, guys, appreciate it.

CAMEROTA: Thank you.

PENN: Have a good morning.

CAMEROTA: All right.

CUOMO: Pretty controversial. You know what I mean. There are two different sides to it, but that's the side they took.

CAMEROTA: Absolutely.

CUOMO: All right, how about we have a little "Good Stuff" when we come back?


CUOMO: I got a great story for you. Stay with CNN.


[08:56:30] CUOMO: All right, here's a good "Good Stuff."

An Indiana man races to save a woman's life. Take a look at this picture. The car is engulfed in flames. It hit a downed power line or something like that. By luck, Russ Jones rolls up before the fire broke out.


RUSS JONES: I said, you OK? She said, I'm hurt. And I said, well, you're going to have to get back here. We're going to have to get you out. The car's starting to burn.


CUOMO: Russ gets the woman out of the car and just minutes later it bursts into flames. Now, what would you do? A lot of people wouldn't even stop, let alone approach a situation like that. The firefighters say this man is nothing short of a hero.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh, I love Russ Jones, angel on earth.

All right, speaking of other earthly delights, the first total solar ellipse over America leaving millions in awe and sparking some wacky moments. CNN's Jeanne Moos sheds light on the eclipse oddity.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Silly glasses, who cares, everyone from Superman to President Trump donned them.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is incredibly dark. It's very eerie. It's a spooky, spooky experience.

MOOS (on camera): I see a shadow covering the earth.

MOOS (voice over): It was the blanket news coverage of the eclipse.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Totality now arriving.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So happy I could cry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm a little breathless.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was our two minutes of ecstasy.

MOOS: Coverage ranged from the couple that found ecstasy getting married during the eclipse --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And two hearts aligned today.

MOOS: To "The Washington Post" live streaming the eclipse's effect on fainting goats. When scared, they sometimes do this. But during the eclipse --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They almost just didn't move.

MOOS: Bonnie Tyler sang her signature song on an eclipse cruise.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Can you stare into a total eclipse of the heart without glasses?

BONNIE TYLER, MUSICIAN: Look into my heart. I wear it on my sleeve.

MOOS: People sure were scared into wearing those glasses.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're not supposed to stare right at the sun unless you hate your eyes. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's concentrated energy that can not only burn

your glasses, it can also burn your eyes.

MOOS: When it was over, "The Guardian" pranked readers with a "how to tell if you damaged your eyes article that was intentionally blurry. "

Outside the path of totality, the 71 percent eclipse in New York City was underwhelming.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's cooler to watch the people watching it.

MOOS: Especially people using oddball boxes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You still see it?

MOOS (on camera): Does it work better if it's organic?


MOOS (voice over): And though the president's glasses worked, that didn't stop him from glancing up without them, landing him on the cover of "The New York Daily News." This newborn was named Eclipse. Others were dressed in eclipse outfits. And NASA released a photo of the International Space Station silhouetted against the sun, which was, of course, then Photoshopped from Chris Christie to E.T.

During the last solar ellipse over North America in 1979, a network anchor spoke of the next one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's 38 years from now. May the shadow of the moon fall on a world of peace.

MOOS: There was no peace, even from cars this time around.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you hear the car alarm? Apparently the car is excited about the eclipse as well.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


CAMEROTA: All right, so you stared at the sun and won.

CUOMO: I did. Are your kids out of the bomb shelter yet? Are they (INAUDIBLE).

[09:00:00] CAMEROTA: It was so underwhelming, I guess they could have left the house yesterday afternoon at some point, but (INAUDIBLE).

CUOMO: Alysin says, I'm going to keep my kids inside.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Like their mom.

CUOMO: JB was out there staring up at the sun like a man.