Return to Transcripts main page


Florida Keys Residents Eager to Assess Damage in Hard-Hit Florida Keys; Conservative Uproar After Trump Says Wall Will Come Later; Trump Again Blames Both Sides for Charlottesville Violence; Aired 06:30-7a ET

Aired September 15, 2017 - 06:30   ET


[06:30:00] MAGGIE HABERMAN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, NEW YORK TIMES: And again it doesn't mean that he is guilty. But the people who support him, who work for him, will privately say, you know, I don't -- many of them will say I don't believe he's done anything here and I don't understand why he is behaving this way. And so it just does speak to a mindset.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: If they read your reporting, they will understand better.

Maggie Haberman, thank you very much.

HABERMAN: Thank you.


CUOMO: So residents of the Florida Keys, we cannot forget them. We know there's going to be other breaking news. There are going to be other big stories. The president is going to say things. Don't forget about those hit by Hurricane Irma. We have an update. They are still nowhere in far too places and far too many ways. The latest next.


CUOMO: The problem was the storm. Now it's time. It's waiting for things to happen despite all the best efforts.

[06:35:02] FEMA says every house in the Keys was somehow impacted by this monster of storms.

CNN's Martin Savidge is live in Florida City as residents tried to get back to their homes.

Martin, what are you finding?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. This is one of those places where you'll likely to run into friction between those wanting to return and those who say, hold on a minute. It's one of the many checkpoints that you'll hit on Highway 1 as you head south. Traffic is moving for now but there are other checkpoints that are going to stop these folks. Talking about good news, electricity is starting to come back. The

two power companies here in the Florida Keys, the one that covers the northern keys, say they've gotten about 40 percent back. Key West, though, they went from 12 percent to 20 percent yesterday. A lot of good progress but still 70 percent of their customers have no electricity.

They also have other problems down there. They were able to make repairs to U.S. Highway 1. Now let's get to the frustration that's building here. Because you hear that kind of progress, residents are saying, hey, come on, I want to go home.

Here's the issue. They still don't have good water down there that is to drink and they don't have good water as far as sanitation. Historically those two problems have probably killed more people than just about anything else. We're talking dysentery and cholera. On top of that, the medical facilities down there don't have the power or the staffing yet to take on the medical emergencies that would likely come from thousands of people returning to damaged homes.

So that's why health officials -- why county officials are saying you can't go back yet. It'd just be a worst disaster -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Great, great information and warning, Martin. Thank you for that.

So Tropical Storm Jose is expecting to regain hurricane strength. Where is this one headed?

CNN meteorologist Chad Myers has our latest forecast. What are you seeing with this one?


CUOMO: So that's what we're looking at. It's about -- we're about a week out from being able to predict with any kind of certainty where it will be.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Four days out from that prediction, seven days out from any kind of potential landfall. Yes.

CUOMO: I loved you before, but now I am a whole type of different disciple when it comes to Chad Myers.

MYERS: Stop it.


CUOMO: Chad, thank you very much, my friend.

MYERS: You're welcome.

CUOMO: I appreciate what you did for us down there also. It helps to know --

MYERS: Great. Great work, Chris. Thanks a lot. CUOMO: Thanks. All right. So there are new details emerging about

that White House dinner that you had President Trump, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi. It wasn't so much about who was there as it was about who was not there.

What's the current state of play? Maggie Haberman has new reporting next.


[06:40:47] CUOMO: Progress versus political chaos. Conservatives are outraged over President Trump saying he's willing to make a deal with Democrats to protect Dreamers in exchange for massive border security. Even if it doesn't include a wall and even if it doesn't include the Republican leadership. The president says now we'll do DACA now, the wall will come later.

Let's discuss what apparent strategy is at play here. We have CNN political analyst, White House correspondent and teal leaf reader, "New York Times'" Maggie Haberman.

This is the most ambitious play we have seen by the president. He's always been, during the campaign and afterwards, I'm not so much about party. I'm about getting it down. This is the first major demonstration he's done of that principle against his own party. What's your read?

HABERMAN: No, I think that's exactly right, Chris. Look, I think that -- I know you both have seen this, you know, over many months, same thing I have. He's very frustrated by the gridlock in Washington. You know, every president ends up, you know, a little surprised at how difficult things can be with Congress, although things have gotten much more difficult over the last decade.

And I think this president, you know, believed that he had the same party rule in Congress that he controlled both Houses. He was a Republican. This shouldn't be that hard. I think he is genuinely frustrated with Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan. Clearly the feeling is mutual.

I think the initial health care bill failure when it was pulled from a vote was very, very irritating to him. I think it was a real lesson for him. He told people at the time that he wished he had done tax reform first, which was his gut, and he was pushed to do ACA first.

Look, to be clear, he did campaign on all of these things. But he also was new to Washington. And I think that he is, you know, completely transactional. And Chuck Schumer is also pretty transactional. And so I think that you had conditions that are ripe for at least some kind of discussion.

We are a ways away from a deal despite how this is being described. This is an agreement. That is where Paul Ryan is absolutely right. But it is at least moving the conversation forward and turning the bicycle wheels folks in D.C. at least a bit. We'll see where it goes. It is not great for members of, you know, the president's Cabinet like Jeff Sessions who had been the champion of ending DACA, describing it as unconstitutional.

I don't think he wants to see some version of the Dream Act passed. But this is the president's administration and I do think that for all if the criticism that president receives, a lot of it justified in how he manages and how he has played to a partisan base.

This is an effort at least early. We'll see whether it continues, we'll see whether it lasts. But this is some form of an effort to be bipartisan and to at least, you know, be in discussion with the other side. And that is generally what we look for in our presidents.

CAMEROTA: Maggie, do we have any sense of how the president is feeling about conservatives' heads exploding about this? I mean, maybe we can pull up the Breitbart headlines.


CAMEROTA: You know, Steve Bannon, obviously a close ally.

CUOMO: His friend. Who'll only support the president.

CAMEROTA: Trump supporters begin burning "Make America Great Again" hats in protest against amnesty-for-no-wall deal with Dems. Next, "Nine Lies About DACA That Trump is Buying Into." I mean, it goes on. "You have become the swamp as the hat 'Make America Great Again' burns." I mean, how -- what's the president's reaction to this?

HABERMAN: It's not clear to me how much of that he's actually seeing right now. Remember John Kelly, the chief of staff, has been trying to limit what the president is getting in his clips file. So we're not seeing the same sort of side channels of information.

I don't know how much of it that he's seeing. I do know that there are people with whom he speaks. It's never clear exactly how frequently he talks to some people. But there are people who are letting him know that the base is very upset.

And look, it's going to be weighing the equities in the president's brain. We know he really likes to be liked. He is very happy with what he would call good reviews right now over talking to who he would call Chuck and Nancy. It's going to be the question of whether that equity weighs out over the criticism he is getting from his political base. I'm sure the pendulum is going to swing back at some point, but I don't think it has yet.

CUOMO: One thing is clear, one thing isn't. Those promises about Bannon supporting the president no matter that he made on "60 Minutes," those were answers that should have been tested.

HABERMAN: Right. I think we've seen that -- the limit of that.

[06:45:09] CUOMO: Right. That was hollow talk if there ever was. And there's something that's not as clear, at least not to me. Maybe I'm just waterlogged. But if this was the strategy for the president, I know I'm going to upset some people, but I'm going to get some progress here, I'm going to get some points on the board then everybody will want to come and play.

What happen to the thinking of that next step? So when the conservatives get upset and they ask, what did you do with the Democrats, here's what we'll say. It seems like, he wound up kind of blowing up his own spot when he the Democrats leaked out we may have a deal. He said no deal, no deal.


CUOMO: So he wound up making them look foolish. And I don't know how that helped him.

HABERMAN: Well, except that remember he said no deal but, you know, in a tweet. But then he went out and he did this quick gaggle with reporters when he was traveling to Florida yesterday where he said essentially we do have a deal. He didn't say deal. But it was an agreement in principle that everything that had been said the night before.

I think we are very used to this president, you know, spewing out different, often contradictory messages. And I think we have seen it repeatedly over the last day. It's why his supporters historically have listened to the parts they wanted to hear and ignore the rest because they believed he would be with them ultimately on policy.

At the moment at least what he's talking about with DACA, that's not what we're seeing. Now remember, the actual program of DACA is ending. That is -- I mean, and I'm not -- it does not seem clear that the president fully understood that initially. But, you know, we will see where this ends up legislatively.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Maggie, thank you very much for sharing all of your reporting with us.

HABERMAN: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right. So the president trying to find his way down that legislative path. But it seems that he knows where to go, or at least where he wants to go when it comes to stoking the flames of hate. Once again blaming both sides for what was going on in Charlottesville.

Why would he seek to divide at a time after Harvey and Irma when this country should be all about unity? A debate next.


[06:51:02] CAMEROTA: President Trump met with Senator Tim Scott on Wednesday. Tim Scott is the only black Republican in the Senate. And Scott wanted to talk to the president about racism and white supremacy and the president's initial controversial remarks on the violence in Charlottesville.

As to what the president took away from that meeting, here are his first comments.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think especially in light of the advent of Antifa, if you look at what's going on there, you know, you have some pretty bad dudes on the other side also and essentially that's what I said.

Now because of what's happened since then with Antifa, you look at, you know, really what's happened since Charlottesville. A lot of people are saying -- in fact, a lot of people have actually written, gee, Trump might have a point. I said, you've got some very bad people on the other side also, which is true.


CAMEROTA: Let's discuss all of this with CNN political commentator Symone Sanders and Ed Martin, author of the "Conservative Case for Trump."

Great to see both of you.

Symone, hard to know if Tim Scott's message was received by the president. What did you hear in his comments there?

SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I actually agree with Tim Scott in that you can't expect, you know, Donald Trump's heart and-or mind or just what he really just thinks about this in general to change overnight. He is who he is. And he has always been who he's always been.

I believe that the president repeated the comments about there being violence on many sides and talking about Antifa protesters because that's actually what he really believes.

CAMEROTA: That's true. There was violence on both sides.

SANDERS: There was violence on both sides.

CAMEROTA: That much is true.

SANDERS: But one side was the white supremacist side and the other side was Antifa. Only one side was yelling blood and soil. Only one side believes in an ethnic cleansing, if you will, to remove everybody but white men from America.


SANDERS: And that is the problem here. It seems as though he's continuing -- he's continuing to go equate Antifa with white supremacists. And that is not something anyone should be doing.

CAMEROTA: Ed, that's the problem, is that the president, while he recognizes violence on both sides, he doesn't draw the distinction between the ideology. The white supremacists ideology and the antifascists who are fighting that ideology. That is the nuance that -- that he always seems to lose in this discussion. ED MARTIN, FORMER STATE GOP CHAIRMAN, MISSOURI REPUBLICAN PARTY:

Well, I mean, because of Donald Trump, and I think this is a great service to the country. We're having a really important conversation. And I think, you know, I was listening to Chris earlier talking with Maggie about how -- you know, Trump is somebody who fights for his position and sometimes it's not clear to people.

But look, if you come to a rally with a hood on, that means you're trying to hide your -- that to me that's a shame. People that wear hoods, the reason we have laws in the south and across the country to not wear hoods at protests is because you're going there, you're shameful, you're trying to hide what you're doing and probably commit crimes.

CAMEROTA: Are you talking about the white supremacists there?

MARTIN: No, wait. No, let me tell you. If the hood is white or the hood is black, then you've got a problem.

SANDERS: Oh, no.

MARTIN: And Antifa --

SANDERS: Oh, no.

MARTIN: And Antifa comes to these rallies with a black hood on, they're not coming because they are proud of their ideology.

SANDERS: Absolutely not.

MARTIN: They're coming -- by the way, I disagree with you that Antifa has said the reason they're protesting is because of some thoughtful ideology on white supremacy. White supremacists and KKK deserved to be denounced. They have no place in America. I agree completely. But Antifa when they come with the hood and they commit, you know, violence, and Nancy Pelosi and I agree with Donald Trump, there's no place for that. I think that's important.

CAMEROTA: Go ahead, Symone.

SANDERS: I want to be clear. I'm not here to defend the Antifa protesters.


SANDERS: I don't think Antifa is great. No Democrats actually have you ever heard defending Antifa. But what I am saying is that it's not the same if you've got a white hood or a black hood. We cannot continue to normalize white supremacy.

MARTIN: Nobody is doing that.

SANDERS: White supremacy --

MARTIN: Nobody is doing that.

SANDERS: Well, you say that whether it's a white hood or a black hood, it's still a hood. That is what you're essentially doing.

MARTIN: No. No, no, what I'm saying is --

SANDERS: I think -- no, no, but I'm telling you what people hear, I'm tell you what I heard and probably what millions of people out there have heard this morning.


MARTIN: Let me tell you what I mean. Can I tell you what I mean?

SANDERS: Be clear. Yes.

CAMEROTA: Go ahead.

SANDERS: Be clear.

MARTIN: Can I tell you what I mean? Is the difference between --

SANDERS: Be clear.

[06:55:06] MARTIN: The difference between Hitler and Stalin, I can't weigh them. When Tim Scott says KKK is worse than Atifa, I believe him. I believe him on the ranking. But I'll tell you this, Hitler and Stalin deserve their place in hell. And Antifa and KKK deserve no place in America. When they put a hood on and they commit violence, that's what Nancy Pelosi said, that's what you just said.


MARTIN: And that's what Trump has said. So --

SANDERS: I don't want you to speak for Pelosi and I definitely don't want you to speak for me. So let me tell you something.


SANDERS: No one is defending Antifa. I think we are all on the same page here.


SANDERS: But what we are saying and what many folks have said is that you -- the president and other folks cannot continue to seemingly equate the violence of Antifa or any other groups like that and the violence and the ideology of white supremacists. And when the president repeatedly brings up that there were "bad dudes," quote- unquote, on the other side as well and the Antifa protesters were really bad, that looks like equating it.


SANDERS: You can have a separate conversation about violence and Antifa. But we cannot and shall not equate white supremacy with anything else. CAMEROTA: Yes. And Symone, you're echoing exactly what Tim Scott's

office said when he put out a statement via Twitter after his meeting with President Trump. So let me just read it so that everybody understands where he's coming from now.

"In yesterday's meeting, Senator Scott was very, very clear about the brutal history surrounding the white supremacist movement and their horrific treatment of black and other minority groups," Scott spokesman said. "Rome wasn't built in a day, and to expect the president's rhetoric to change based on one 30-minute conversation is unrealistic. Antifa is bad and should be condemned. Yes. But white supremacists have been killing and tormenting black Americans for century. There is no realistic comparison, period."

Ed, your response.

MARTIN: I've said before. I mean, Tim Scott is a very thoughtful serious guy. He's been in Missouri. I spent time with him. I really see to him the ability to tell us the ranking. All I'm saying is I agree with him. And I think we can say this is important for CNN. Today we're saying all the Antifa violence, any violence is bad. And so is the KKK and white supremacy. I'm all for condemning all of them. And if the conversation has implied moral equivalency, then we need to have a better conversation, we're having it in America and say, you know, here in Missouri I'm a few miles from Ferguson.

The people that protested at Ferguson, thoughtful people, but some people showed up and burned buildings down. Those people need to be condemned, but not the people that are worried. That's why we're having this great conversation and Donald Trump is the reason.

CAMEROTA: Yes. OK. We appreciate the debate here on CNN.

Symone, Ed, thank you very much.

MARTIN: Thank you.

SANDERS: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: We're also following breaking news because there's been a terrorist incident in London on a train. We have the latest details for you and President Trump's response in moments.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.

CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Friday, September 15th, 7:00 now in the east. And we do have breaking news.

We're going to show you live pictures of British police investigating a terror incident. Those were their words, after an explosion on a London Tube train.