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North Korea Launches Missile Over Japan; Trumps Defense on Charlottesville; President Trump Blames On Both Sides. Aired 11- Midnight ET

Aired September 14, 2017 - 23:00   ET



[23:00:00] DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: This is CNN tonight, I am Don Lemon. We appreciate you joining us this evening. North Korea is launching a missile over northern Japan tonight. President Trump is briefed from this latest provocation in Pyongyang. That just hours after the President flying back from the storm zone. Waded right back in the political storm over the Charlottesville neo- Nazi controversy, insisting there were his words, "bad dudes on both sides." But also sending a joint resolution to Charlottesville that condemns White nationalist, white supremacist, the Ku Klux Klan, neo- Nazis and other hate groups, that as the controversy heats up tonight over ESPN Jemele Hill calling President Trump a white supremacist, a lot to get through tonight and discuss. I want to begin with North Korea. North Korea launched tonight of a missile that took over northern Japan. Joining me now is CNN International Correspondent Will Ripley live for us in Tokyo. Will thank you for joining us this evening here. What are you learning about this latest launch from North Korea tonight?

WILL RIPLEY, INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: It flew a long distance, Don. More than 2300 miles of this trajectory Tokyo northern of Japan. It would have taken it close to the U.S. Territory of Guam. North Korea demonstrating here that they have the capability, they have a reliable missile that they have now shot twice over northern Japan, but if they would have pointed south obviously a very strong message for the United States and its allies. After the North Korea's launch, South Korea who has been waiting for a missile launch of this kind, they launch their own missile that could easily take out North Korea's launch site. This site was in their capital of Pyongyang. A City that I just woke up yesterday and flew from the same airport where the missile was launched from and it is surreal to come from the country launching this missile and waking up in Japan, where people are getting frightening text messages taking them to take cover in sturdy buildings.

LEMON: Your 15th trip to the country by the way. There were signs at another launch that was imminent, correct?

RIPLEY: We expected a launch potentially to happen a week ago for North Korea's foundation day, holiday. We were in the country, there were military intelligence indicating activities at the launch site, we were on standby ready to go. A thick fog rolled into Pyongyang, it was zero visibility. If they were going to launch on Pyongyang, it was not going to happen that morning. For North Korea, their scientific values that they gained from these launches, they send a message. It is also about propaganda. We know they'll have dozens of cameras pointed at the missiles and North Korea will be releasing those images in the coming hours. These missiles is never intended to strike the City. It was intended to strike fear that the people flew over and certainly did accomplish that.

LEMON: Will, this missile and the last both came uncomfortably close to Japan. You are in Tokyo, are people scared there?

RIPLEY: I would not say they are at the level of being scared. Here in Japan, people are nervous, this is the first time since World War II that Japanese school children are hearing air raid sirens and being told what to do in an event of an attack. This brings back horrific memories for this country. It was targeted two bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, countries that was scarred and now have to be prepared for another attack. That is certainly reviving old fears. In south and North Korea, the area that stands to suffer the most, people are laid back on, this is as threat that they lived with all their lives and for the most part, people shrug it off and go about their lives saying they don't have control over it anyway.

LEMON: Will Ripley, we appreciate your report, 10:00 p.m. Eastern on Friday. Thank you very much.

I want to turn to President Trump jump right back in to Charlottesville neo-Nazi controversy. Insisting they were his words, bad dudes on both sides, let us discuss now, CNN Political Commentator Jason Miller, a former Trump Senior communications adviser, Tara Setmayer, communications director for congressman Dana Rohrabacher, CNN political contributor, Michael Nutter and the former mayor and CNN political commentator Matt Lewis, senior columnist of the Daily Beast, so many titles and so many faces. Experts of all things political and knowledgeable. Karen, I would like to ask you about the President's meeting today with Tim Scott. The senate's loan African-American, the President's moral authority was compromised after his comment on Charlottesville. Here is the President on board air force one.


[23:05:11] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We had a great meeting, Tim Scott has been a friend of mine for a long time, I have been a supporter of his when I was a civilian, and I supported him when he ran. We had a great talk yesterday and especially in light of the advent of Antifa, what's going on there. You see bad dudes on the other side also and essentially that is what I said. Since then with Antifa, you look at what happens since Charlottesville, a lot of people have written gee, Trump may have a point. I said you guys are very bad people on the other side also, which is true. We had a great conversation.


LEMON: He could have said I appreciate the question and we had a great talk and we both learned a lot. Why go there? TARA SETMAYER FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR CONGRESSMAN DANA

ROHRABACHER: He can never admit that he is wrong. We had many conversations about Donald Trump's personality where he has an inability to empathize and part of the problem is, he cannot let things go. Roy Cohn was his mentor who was a horrible person but Roy Cohn worked during the McCarthy and he was a general council for McCarthy, he taught Donald Trump to never apologize ever. As a matter fact, you double down. That is what Donald Trump does when he is backed in a corner and it is universal. Donald Trump did not handle Charlottesville the right way. The comments were inappropriate and he looked like he was in a hostage video when he made the comment when he felt that oh, that is what he needed to say. We heard what he really wanted to say that he believes there is some moral equivocation here. Antifa is a left wing, violent group and they should be condemn and they did not kill anyone that day. People of tiki torches chanting Jews will not replace us are involved there are no very good fine people on.

LEMON: I think it is important to hear Senator's Scott's comment and get you guys to response.

He says that is who he is and it is true he has been. I wanted to inform and educate a different perspective. I think we accomplished that and to assume that immediately thereafter he is going to have an epiphany is just unrealistic. What's who he is, do you agree with Tim Scott?

MATT LEWIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah, I think that Tim Scott is a great guy and he has realistic expectations. Look, you are not going to change Donald Trump. Maybe you can nudge him and inform him a little bit, I think Senator Scott had the right expectations there. It is incumbent upon you, go to him, enlighten him, but don't expect a radical change, because it is not going to happen.

LEMON: Do you guys agree or disagree.

SETMAYER: Quick, Senator Scott admitted that during the time he was talking to Trump that Trump was trying to justify his position. So it was not, Trump is set in his ways on this. Senator Scott, I applaud him and everything he said is 100 true.

JASON MILLER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Clearly Antifa is on the President's mind. Don we had discuss Charlottesville a number of times. He is criticizing a violent left wing radical group Antifa. Good for the President for criticizing this very violent group.

LEMON: Now, you understand there is a time and a place for everything. Right now I am starving, pizza is on my mind but I am not going to have a conversation about it because it is inappropriate to do so and it is inappropriate to be obsessed with Antifa when the clear issue was white supremacists and neo-Nazis, racist marching on the streets of Charlottesville.

SETMAYER: Who killed someone!

LEMON: He is obsessed with Antifa. Why is he obsessed about Antifa and not obsessed with those horrible people, who are saying Jews will not replace us. Why is he does obsess with it?

MILLER: The President speaks his mind.

[23:10:00] He did not say - I want to make sure for anyone who didn't see the overall clips that they are not realizing the full context. He didn't say anything about good people on both sides. He was specifically talking about today's specifically, he criticized the people involving in the violent which we saw. We talked about Charlottesville. There is no equilibrium between the different groups that is out there. The reason why this whole thing happens because of hate groups that are marching which causes the whole thing.

LEMON: That is so depressing. Why would he be focused on it? If there is no equivalent then --

MILLER: When we saw those horrific images of people fighting and punching each other. Anyone that is involved in the violence, those are bad people and they are not good. If the President is going to criticize the people who are involve in the violence, I cannot criticize the President for doing that.

SETMAYER: there are very fine people on that day.

LEMON: We have to remember, we have to remember the context of this. Somebody's conversation with Tim Scott, no one said Mr. President, what did you think of Antifa? What did you think of your meeting with Tim Scott?

SETMAYER: That is right.

He knows he was --

MICHAEL NUTTER, FORMER PHILADELPHIA MAYOR: He cannot let things go. It is a psychological barrier for him. He cannot backup and cannot apologize and cannot understand, somewhat straightforward and simple things that they have some complexity to them. It is not within him to do that. As you were saying as the clip was playing, had a great conversation with the Senator and I learned some things today, move on. We have seen this movie plays overtime and time over again. He will go over five or seven days obsessing whatever it is and keep on litigating and arguing and bring it up out of nowhere. Why not focus on the current?

LEMON: When you keep on doing the same thing --

SETMAYER: Insanity.

LEMON: That is not what I am saying about the President. When everybody else around you is saying you know what, you got this one wrong and you are like no, no, I did not. What does that say about him?

LEWIS: Obviously, a lack of discipline, there are occasions where a politician would -- I don't want to talk about both sides and then reporter would ask you, you know, do you still believe both sides are responsible, that is sort of like what are you going say, right? It is a trick question or it is an ambush question, in this case, he

volunteered and Donald Trump was the one who acted like nothing. So it is bizarre and who knows what it is. Maybe you know there have been, I think it is fundamentally comes down to what Tara said and what everyone said is he cannot let anything go and cannot just let it go and can see defeat and move on.

NUTTER: Normalizing this idea, Jason, I understand the tough situation you are trying to explain any of this. You know the fall back for a lot of the Trump supporters as well. He is a different kind of person. He speaks his mind. By the way, we actually don't need to know what's always on any of elected officials' minds. He is an undisciplined person who thinks he can say anything he wants. Won the election he has the responsible and every now and then he keeps his thoughts to himself.

MILLER: If the President is not willing to speak out and say that a group like Antifa is a bad group. We had seen him denounce this groups, this neo-Nazi.

NUTTER: It is time and place.

MILLER: It is not the time.

NUTTER: Why did you mess up? Because he had a conversation with Senator Scott. The only black Republican in the senate who wanted to convey a particular message.


LEMON: Just be clear -- when we come back.

NUTTER: Why did he come up in the first place?

LEMON: We'll continue and talk about this. I am going to play, I am going to ask a question that a reporter asked and play what the President said and you can see if his answer out of this make sense. Is it about the Tim Scott meeting or Donald Trump? We'll be right back.


[23:18:52] LEMON: Okay, back with my panel, Jason Miller, Tara Setmayer, Michael Nutter and Matt Lewis. Ok so let me set the scene for you everyone. Onboard Air Force One, a bunch of reporters, Mr. President, you met yesterday with Senator Tim Scott, he seems to go back to the hill and suggest to supporters that he expressed some frustration of the way you handle the after math of Charlottesville maybe even press to add some more African-American in senior ranks in your administration. African-American Republicans, were those things discussed? Can you tell us a little bit more about the way you reacted? Roll tape.


TRUMP: We had a great meeting, Tim Scott had been a friend of mine for a long time. I have been a supporter of his when I was a civilian. I was one of his earlier supporters and I supported him when he ran. We had a great talk yesterday. I think especially in light of the advent of Antifa, if you look at what's going on there. You see some bad dudes on the other side also. And essentially, that is what I said. Now because of what happened since then with Antifa, what happened since Charlottesville, a lot of people is saying in fact a lot of people actually have written gee, Trump may have a point. I said you guys are bad people on the other side also, which is true. We had a great conversation.


[23:20:21] LEMON: Did he answer the question, Jason?

SETMAYER: Come on. You are the calm guy.

MILLER: What are we talking about? Let us be clear with the question was. The question was a setup to try to knock the president and he has a bad record on race relations that is really where the question is.

LEMON: Don't play into it.

MILLER: Clearly the President had Antifa on his mind so he went and teed it up.


This is completely blown out of proportions.

SETMAYER: Oh, okay.

LEMON: Matt, did he answer the question? I did not hear the part of African-Americans in the senior ranks of his administration or anything like that. Did he answer the question?

LEWIS: No, he did not.

SETMAYER: Okay, he did not because -- instead of having things that actually matter on his mind that are consequential. He was still doing and some people have said which is usually (inaudible) in his own mind or a couple of enablers that tell him stuff -- that was actually an important question. Donald Trump is not surrounded by any credible African-American conservative Republicans that for policy purposes and things like that. I mean God bless Ben Carson, Omarosa, who is an absolute joke, she works for Clinton, and she is a Democrats. She had a terrible relationship, she is antagonist with everyone. People who are serious and black conservatives dedicated in their lives trying to help the black community are being stone walled by her because she is not there to serve herself.

LEMON: Do they work back in the White House or not interested in hiring?

SETMAYER: I think it is not a priority for him. Policy professionals don't want to deal with that and General Kelly, the chief of staff is trying to get rid of Omarosa, because she is not doing anything positive there.


LEMON: Mr. Mayor, come on. That is uncalled for.

NUTTER: But at a government level and people who want to comment.

LEMON: Right. Does he know any credible African-Americans?

MILLER: You understand the point that I am making and the question is a set up to knock the President on issue of race.

NUTTER: He is a grown man.

LEMON: Why is that a hard question?

I am going to ask you, Jason, senior African-American in the White House, why are there not any in there, is that a set up question.

MILLER: In the question is put for him. A long conversation of how many African-Americans in the White House or the administration and go to juxtapose those against other people.

LEMON: It is not a fair question.


MILLER: It is a combo question of Charlottesville. It was an entire effort to try to attack the president on race issue.

NUTTER: You should be smart enough to separate the questions out. I am going to respond to you, whoever the reporter is, Senator Scott, done, now you want to ask me about my administration, done. That Director and whatever the case maybe. He is a 70-year-old man, he should be able to separate it out a very simple question in to its compliment.

MILLER: If I were to be working with the President right now that would have been a perfect opportunity to talk about the low in unemployment rate how it led to the increase of unemployment rate for blacks and Latinos.

NUTTER: What does it got to do with black people in your administration?

MILLER: Race relation in the country would increase.


SETMAYER: You know what though --

As a communication professor. I know Jason a long time. That is what you do when you don't have an answer or credibility, you find something positive and you spin it. If there are were a real communication shot there.

MILLER: That is very smart. Hold on, hold on. That is unfair.

SETMAYER: It is true.

MILLER: What legal background did --

[23:25:00] She won a credential race.


NUTTER: Why is there more black people in this administration?

MILLER: I would love more African-Americans.

LEMON: That is his answer.


MILLER: Hold on. I think for the Republican Party and you know what, quite frankly, you can say for all politics in general.

LEMON: That is the answer.

MILLER: No, it is not.

LEMON: You are saying this President is not savvy enough to answer a hard question.

MILLER: What I am saying is -- what I am saying -- the President is not smart enough to not go down a rabbit hole to get trapped by journalists. .

LEMON: He did.

MILLER: We are talking about Antifa and no one else.

LEMON: That is cool. We should not be talking about Antifa. We talk about Antifa all the time. Everyone that comes on here who says the violent of Antifa, it is unacceptable. And, we have done stories on Antifa. There is another network that is all they do of stories of Antifa and hardly any stories on the white supremacist that are there. What we realize as we learn it and there is a difference between Antifa and white supremacists, neo-Nazi, KKK and racist. There is a huge difference between the two.

MILLER: He was saying pro to any of the groups. He was denouncing the violent that was there on that day.

SETMAYER: If he would answer the question probably we wouldn't be taking about Antifa acting out with Ben Shapiro right now.

LEWIS: Not just that, we could be talking about the fact that he handled this, Florida and Texas very well. He is on the cities and he is going down there. And I think he is risen to the occasion and he cut bipartisan deal, a lot of conservatives did not like it. He cut a bipartisan deal. The fact that he goes off message here and you know basically brings up this issue or makes it an issue is distracting. I think a pretty couple of weeks that he is strung together now.

LEMON: Matt you are right, but the photo of him saving cats and animals, --


There are people out there believing it. Look at the President saving these cats. It is fake news and it is not real. You have been bamboozled by it. I will give you the last word Matt.


LEWIS: That is it. Part of politics is about, about -- defining the issue and framing the issue and spending your time talking about things that benefit you.

LEMON: Yeah.

LEWIS: Whenever he does these things. You want to believe that the media is out to get him. If that is the case he is opening the door for that.

LEMON: If you are watching, Mr. President, Jason just handed you a nugget. When someone asked you where the African-Americans and your senior administration are, "I would love for there to be more." Boom that is a great answer.

SETMAYER: You speak from the heart out of the mouth.

LEMON: Thank you. Fascinating, I love having you guys here. We got to go. When we come back the backlash against an ESPN anchor, who called the President a white supremacist, should the ESPN standby her?


[23:33:01] DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: In a string of tweets attacking President Trump. ESPN host Jemele Hill called him a white supremacist among other things. The White House is calling her and saying it is a fire able offense. Let us discuss now, CNN Correspondent Brian Stelter, political commentator Keith Boykin, Sports Analyst Christine Brennan, columnist and political commentator Ben Ferguson host of the Ben Ferguson show. This is going to be a boring panel.


Hi Kristine. How are you?


LEMON: Greta you work on the same industry as Jemele, do you think her tweets about the president were appropriate?

BRENNAN: Don I know Jemele, she is a friend of mine and she is an important voice in the sport media culture. I think her comments about her regret as we have call her statement of regrets. There were personal comment that is she said that she regrets that they cast a public light on ESPN that says it. She says it and I don't think anybody could say it better than that. She regrets that happen and I take Jemele on her words as I have many, many years.

LEMON: Brian, the White House Press Secretary said it was a fire able offense during press briefing. Did Sanders over step you think with that comment?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: She over step from normal White House press secretary and if you think from Obama or any pass past modern presidency, we would not hear that. However, we are in a different terrain and different place now with Sarah Sanders. Instead of saying she has the right of free speech but it is a fire able offense by ESPN. ESPN is not firing Jemele. She, yes, she regrets it and they're trying to move on here.

LEMON: People have been fired for tweets.

KEITH BOYKIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, they have. You are asking me?

LEMON: Yeah.

BOYKIN: People have been fired for tweets.

STELTER: Including at ESPN.

BOYKIN: Donald Trump tweets all the time and nobody fires him and questioning everybody and he called everybody racist and he called Barack Obama racist and he called the movie "jenga" racist and he says the show "blackish" is racist. It is a double standard, it is unacceptable.

STELTER: Everyone if it is an outrageous.

LEMON: I will let you jump in. I do know from experience that people of color on television who disagrees with him and around him deemed him as racist. If you challenge of the birther issue and those of African-American decent were deemed as racist if they brought up of that particular issue.

BOYKIN: The black people are who the racist is always.

STELTER: Jemele Hill is not the first person to say Donald Trump is a white supremacist.

LEMON: Go ahead Ben.

BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: All right, let's take it back to ESPN here for just a moment. Let's be clear, she is not a victim, some people are so mean talking about her. You go out there and you are publicly are the face of their biggest primetime show sports center and you tweet out and you think the President of America is a white supremacist and anyone that basically voted for him is a white supremacist and her follow up tweets, you are not a victim when you take the heat. The second thing is this, if you do sports, you do sports, if you represent a sports network and you go over to politics and you call the President of United States of America a white supremacist, you are not a victim, you are an idiot for doing it. I think my point is this. ESPN said, let me finish this because it is important. I don't think anybody is fired as long as it is consistent across the board policy of ESPN. You can go out there and say thinking you want to politically if you work for them because it is a double standard. With sports center and ESPN, if someone says this about Barack Obama, it would have been a public apology from ESPN or from ABC and it is not reflected use of the network.

LEMON: There were people who said that.


There were people who said that about Barack Obama. As a matter of fact, Donald Trump himself insinuated that the President --

FERGUSON: I am saying at ESPN. I am not talking about anybody else. Only ESPN.

LEMON: Let me get my point out. This person before he was President led this birther movement which many people deemed as racist, no one from the Obama administration or President Obama called for him or say it was a fire able offense from "the apprentice." why the double standard?


LEMON: We are analyzing the situation, why is it a double standard here?

FERGUSON: With all due respect, multiple radio shows of the birther issue and how I thought it was absolutely wrong. There were plenty of people that were conservatives that were calling in saying that he should be fired from "the apprentice." For continuing to pushes forward. No one was saying that, just absolutely not true.

LEMON: I am talking about the White House.

FERGUSON: Okay, the White House mocked him pretty well at the White House correspondent center.

LEMON: You are comparing the White House to the podium of a press briefing in America?

FERGUSON: You had the president of United States of America that went on Jimmy Kimmel in the mean tweets and read the one you will never be President, referring to Donald Trump who is now the president.

LEMON: So a joke on Jimmy Kimmel is the same --

FERGUSON: Come on. You are still the President of the United States of America.

LEMON: The joke on Jimmy Kimmel is the same as the briefing room were policy is? FERGUSON: Don, you are still the President of the United States of


BOYKIN: You are making no sense. Donald Trump said and spreading a racist lies about Barack Obama. Donald Trump went on twitter and repeatedly called President Obama a racist and somebody called him a racist and he was outraged about it and used the White House staff to call for the firing of that person from the job. What hypocrisy is that and for you to sit there and coming up with all these --


LEMON: Everybody stop, "on the other side" right after the break.



[23:44:18] LEMON: OK. Back now with my panel. Panel listen, Ben Ferguson let's keep this about sports. People do get fired for tweets but to say that sports is just about sports and nothing to do with politics, it has nothing to do with culture, I think Christine it is a bit disingenuous especially if you look at one example, Jackie Robertson, sports have actually changed things. It is not just about sports, is it?

BRENNAN: The intersection of sports and culture, we are in the intersection more than ever we have been before. Whatever the topic might be. Ray Rice and domestic violence and Jerry Sandusky, the terrible --

[23:45:00] LEMON: And Colin Kaepernick.

BRENNAN: Exactly. Kaepernick the NFL protest. In fact just last week I wrote a column that was on the front page of the USA today where I talked about the NFL protest and I said in the wake of Donald Trump's dreadful response to Charlottesville. I used that term. There are many ways for sports journalist to deal with the issues in our culture and whether it is domestic violence or whatever it maybe, it is imperative for sports journalists in the 21st century to talk about these things.

FERGUSON: I have no problem about that. What you are doing is dealing with issues that maybe on the field with Colin Kaepernick or maybe domestic violence that are involved in the actual game or the people that is playing the game. There is a big difference and I cannot believe I am going to be defending Kaepernick. At least his protest, obviously, was involving the sports arena, of course, it is okay to talk about it. That is tweet literally because you hate the President of United States of America.

BOYKIN: It is not because you hate the President of the United States of America.

FERGUSON: A white supremacist. BOYKIN: That is not what she was doing. It is not about hatred of

the President of the United States. It is about what the President has done, his behavior. It is just last month -- refused to condemn the people of the Nazis and the white supremacist in Charlottesville. We don't have to go to the whole thing again.

LEMON: It is a new story. Okay, let Christine talk.

BRENNAN: I was going to say I think that there is someone who has been actually might agree with you on the point you are making and that is Jemele Hill, if you look at her statement of regrets.

LEMON: She never apologize.

FERGUSON: Right and she is still there.


STELTER: Ben, you know, conservatives are attacking ESPN and saying it's got a liberal biased. It is been going on for many months. It is putting ESPN in a tough spot. You cannot just pick a sport because sports are political.

I think Jemele Hill written an essay for her sports center about this topic and read by her bosses and approved at a time. There is a big part of the country that agrees with her and feels the way she does and she is channeling that emotions.


FERGUSON: It does not mean you get to say it.

LEMON: Look, I get your point. That is what he is saying.

STELTER: We have to recognize anything she says if it is ESPN.

LEMON: She is representing ESPN. She is representing a corporation.

Okay, let me get in here. You said because she hates the President, is that what you said.


LEMON: Do you think this President hated Barack Obama?

FERGUSON: I don't think he was a big fan of him, towards the end of him obviously.

LEMON: This was October 3rd -- hold on, October 3rd, 2012, Obama's '07 speech not only show that is Obama is a racist but also how the press always covers for him. Why the hypocrisy? Hello?

FERGUSON: Your point is what I am trying to figure out.

LEMON: What was from Donald Trump who was hosting "the apprentice" and representing ABC at the time and no one from the podium -- NBC at the time and no one from the podium said that was a fire able offense.

FERGUSON: How many people asked the White House that question, Don? Go back and look at the tape. Was there any journalists --

LEMON: All right then.


LEMON: All right, I got to go.

BOYKIN: It is inappropriate for the White House.

FERGUSON: It is inappropriate for an ESPN anchor.

LEMON: But it was okay for a reality show host to call the President a racist as well. Thank you all.

When we come back, Florida and the Caribbean is cleaning up the devastation from hurricane Irma. We'll bring you the latest on the conditions from there next.


[23:53:57] LEMON: More than 2 million customers across Florida still don't have power and many along the west coast are likely to be without electricity for days to come. President Trump and the first lady flew to the devastated south Florida today to get a firsthand look at the severe damage caused by hurricane Irma. He told residents that he is with them one 100 percent and he'll visit them again. At least 34 storm-related deaths reported in Florida and other states in the southeast. In the Caribbean the devastation is severe. Whole islands flatten. One resident saying it feels like they're living in a war zone, like a nuclear bomb went off. Irma left at least 44 people dead across the Caribbean. CNN Clarissa Ward reports from St. Maarten.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: From above you can see the true scale of Irma's violent force. Roofs ripped off. Trees battered bare. Down on the trash clogged streets locals worked to rebuild their lives with little more than their bare hands. Time here has stood still since Irma hit six days ago.

[23:55:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The moment is desperate. We're desperate and in need of help.

WARD: President David Richardson says garbage is the biggest threat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We see a lot of rats and those carry some diseases that we really don't need at this time now. And that is my biggest concern is if we get an outbreak, what are we going to do?

WARD: Scenes like this are carrying out across many parts of the Caribbean. House after house, street after street largely devastated. And the basic aid that is trickling in is just dwarfed by the scale of the need. Christopher Terrasse says many feel abandoned.

CHRISTOPHER TERRASSE, ST.MARTIN RESIDENT: I talk to my wife who has cancer, and she needs help and we don't get any help, because we have no roof, we have no water, we have no electricity. No medication. You know, when you have cancer, you know, you're going to die. But at least to die in - other than that, you know.

WARD: Every day desperate families are trying to get out. The military has set up a checkpoint where they wait just half a mile from the airport. After more than 14 hours in the steamy heat a lucky few are chosen to go, leaving behind the battered remains of Irma's wrath. Most have no idea when they will be able to return. Clarissa Ward, CNN on the French side of Saint Martin.


LEMON: Thank you, Clarisse. That is it for us tonight. Thanks for watching. I'll see you right back here tomorrow.