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Kelly Not Pleased with NFL Comments; Pentagon Reacts to NFL Fight; Protests Erupt over Health Care; White House Press Briefing. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired September 25, 2017 - 14:00   ET


[14:00:00] PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Busy Monday.

President Trump accused of inciting a culture war, hitting NFL players for kneeling during the national anthem. They are protesting police brutality and mass incarceration of people of color. Players and team owners say the president is out of bounds, slamming his comments as, quote, divisive, after he ranted about the league while speaking to a predominantly white crowd in Alabama.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He's fired. He's fired!


BROWN: So that comment right there in Alabama not sitting well with the NFL, or the president's own chief of staff, John Kelly. Two officials tell CNN that Kelly is not pleased and did not know the Trump plan to wade into the culture war.

And teams in the NFL responded with a mass protest of the president. Some even refusing to stand while others locked arms in a show of solidarity as you see right here. Some teams didn't even come out onto the field. And more protests are expected in just a few hours.

Meanwhile, the president is denying his comments had anything to do with race, firing off this early morning tweet saying, quote, it is about respect for our country, flag and national anthem. NFL must respect this.

Now, the White House will likely respond to this controversy when today's press briefing begins at any moment now. We are keeping an eye on that.

Now I want to bring in CNN White House reporter Kaitlan Collins. She joins me live.

So, Kaitlan, how is the president's war with the NFL playing out in the White House?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, we know that there is one person who is not pleased with what has transpired over the weekend, and that's someone who's very near and dear to the president, his new chief of staff, John Kelly. John Kelly was at that rally in Alabama on Friday night and the president actually brought him up on stage just minutes before he made these very controversial remarks about the NFL to praise what a good job that John Kelly has done in the White House. But we're told that these remarks about the NFL were not in the president's prepared remarks and that he came up with them on the spot when he was there in Alabama and that John Kelly did not know he was going to make those remarks and then wade into this culture war over the weekend by continuing to tweet about it at least 13 times over the last two days.

John Kelly was brought into this White House to really instill some discipline into this West Wing, but we're seeing here one thing, Pam, that John Kelly can't control about the president, and that's remarks he makes at these rallies when he's his most true self and the things he makes on Twitter.

Now, he's not the only person who's very frustrated with this. We actually heard from LeBron James just a few minutes ago. Listen to what he had to say about the president.


LEBRON JAMES, NBA ALL-STAR: It's the most powerful position in the world and we are at a time where the most powerful position in the world has an opportunity to bring us closer together as a people and inspire the youth and put the youth at ease on saying that it is OK for me to walk down the street and not be judged because of the color of my skin or because of my race. And he has no recollection of that. And he doesn't even care.


COLLINS: So as you can see there, Pam, some very powerful comments from one of the most famous people in basketball right now. And we'll likely hear from Press Secretary Sarah Sanders any minute now and she's definitely going to be fielding some questions about this.

BROWN: Certainly so. We'll be keeping an eye on that.

Kaitlan Collins, thank you very much.

Meantime, the Department of Defense is also weighing in today on the firestorm involving President Trump, the NFL and the national anthem.

I want to bring in CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr.

So, Barbara, what is the Pentagon saying about all of this?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pamela, it's probably good to start with recalling, of course, as people know, the U.S. military's had a long, decades-long relationship with professional sports in this country. And, you know, the president, according to how many people view it, has put the military, patriotism, the flag, all of these symbols of the so-called culture war, if you will, front and center in this debate. So where does it all go from here? The Pentagon asked this morning by

reporters, would they be able to continue their relationship, especially with the NFL as we saw over the weekend. There were honor guard, color guards, flags, military personnel on the football fields. This is something that is part of that relationship of building community relations by the U.S. military.

The Pentagon, a little bit surprisingly, did come back to us with an answer on this question. And I want to read it to everybody. And what the Pentagon spokesman said, and I quote, DOD does not require or request that athletes be on the field during the playing of the national anthem when military members are part of the patriotic opener.

[14:05:00] What the Pentagon is saying here is, this is something they really do not want to get involved in. They provide the color guards. They provided military personnel, whether they're active duty or National Guard. They build these relationships in the community because, frankly, a lot of this is a recruiting tool, showing the face of the U.S. military in towns and cities across the country to football fans who may be parents of young people thinking about joining the military. It's a very important relationship to the Pentagon. It's gone on for decades.

And to make this statement here that they are not requiring anybody to do anything is not only just factually accurate, what it really is doing is the Pentagon trying to take itself out of this debate where patriotism, the flag and all the rhetoric about support for the troops, whether you stand or not and what it all means, the Pentagon doesn't want to be involved in it.


BROWN: But releasing that statement nonetheless, making that clear.

Barbara Star, thank you very much.

Well, from sports locker rooms to the stage of an international music festival, football players and basketball players alike coming together against the president. Take a listen.


LESEAN MCCOY, BUFFALO BILLS: I can't stand, you know, and support something where our leader of this country is -- is just acting like a jerk.

JOSH NORMAN, WASHINGTON REDSKINS: We was in unity. We want to stand for something. I'm just telling you right now, this man is not welcome here.

DREW BREES, NEW ORLEANS SAINTS: I think it's very unbecoming of the office of the president of the United States to talk like that, to degrade people like that.

MIKE THOMAS, MIAMI DOLPHINS: I've got a daughter. She going to have to live in this world. You know what I'm saying. And I'm going to do whatever I got to do to make sure, you know, she can look at my dad -- look at her dad and be like, hey, you did something (ph) to make a change.

REX RYAN, FORMER NFL HEAD COACH: I'm pissed off, I'll be honest with you, you know, because I supported Donald Trump. I'm reading these comments and it's appalling to me. And I'm sure it's appalling to almost any citizen in our country. It should be.

TOM BRADY, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: I certainly disagree with, you know, what he said and, you know, thought it was just divisive.

LEBRON JAMES, CLEVELAND CAVALIERS: And for him to try to use this platform to divide us even more is not something I can stand for and it's not something I can be quiet about.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm taking a knee for America. But not just one knee, I'm taking both knees.


BROWN: All right, I want to go straight to Capitol Hill now, where protests are erupting during this hearing over the latest GOP health care bill. I want to go to Gloria Borger to get the latest.


GLORIA BORGER , CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, look, you know, this -- this health care bill is important to every American and it's really been a flashpoint. And it's going to be voted on this week or it won't be brought to the floor this week. And what you're seeing in these -- and you're seeing in these -- in these demonstrations is people who feel very strongly that any vote for Graham-Cassidy is a vote that would -- that would hurt them and that would take away their coverage for their preexisting conditions, et cetera, et cetera.

We're going to have a debate tonight on CNN about this between both sides, Graham and Cassidy on one side and Democrats on the other. And they're going to lay out the stakes here and the differences between what the Republicans want and what the Democrats want. But there is nothing that affects voters so personally as -- as their health care.

BROWN: It affects every American family.


BROWN: And that is why you are seeing passion -- so much passion on both sides of this.

I want to bring in Sunlen Serfaty, who's right in the thick of it all there on Capitol Hill.

So set the stage for us, Sunlen.

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: OK, I can tell you that many, many protesters, about a couple of hundred, have been lined up (INAUDIBLE) behind me. We'll try to give you a vantage point. We've been kept back by Capitol Hill Police because, put simply, the scene just all of a sudden broke out -- out of control. There are a few people who were escorted away from police -- by police.

We were outside the Senate Finance Committee hearing room, the first and only hearing that this Graham-Cassidy bill will get. Hundreds of protesters waiting to get inside. They said they intended to disrupt those hearings. They are now chanting things like kill the bill, kill Trumpcare. So clearly today, Pam, really trying to make their voices heard.

We will, inside the hearing room, hear from Senator Lindsay Graham, one of the co-sponsors of the bill. Again, the first and only formal hearing that this bill will get. Normally bills go through a more thorough, a more complete, extensive mark-up process, hearing process. But, no, today is the one only time that they will be able to defend their bill and certainly hear from people about the bill.

That is encouraging a lot of these opponents of the bill who are out here today chanting, who have been out here for many, many hours. That has encouraged them to speak louder. Many people saying that they wanted this to be a more open, more normal process. They want to know what's in the bill, not have it rushed through by Republicans.

[14:10:07] And to be honest, that is one of the criticisms of another Republican, Senator John McCain, who came out on Friday of last week. He said that is one of his chief criticisms of this bill, the fact that he believes it's been rushed through.


BROWN: And we're just learning, Sunlen, that they just declared recess until they can get order there amid these protests there on Capitol Hill during this hearing of the latest GOP health care bill.

I want to bring in Nia-Malika Henderson.

Nia, what do you make of these pictures?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, I mean, I think this is something that Democrats want Americans to see, right? I mean there had been criticism, I think, of people on the left basically saying they were caught flat-footed in responding to what looked like a resurgence among Republicans and trying to repeal and replace Obamacare.

But here you see some of that activity on The Hill there. We still don't know what's going to happen with this bill. I mean we've heard from Susan Collins, who seems to be leaning no. We've heard from Rand Paul, who even after this latest iteration of the bill, which came out today, which will be scored by the CBO later today, he has said it's not enough to his liking, so he's still a no on this.

This will be a key week. They've got until September 30th to figure out if they're going to be able to corral enough votes. I've talked to some people who were kind of in the wheeling and dealing side of this. They say the goal is to get to 49 and then pressure whoever is still on the sideline to say that they can be the deciding vote to put this thing over the top.

But, listen, getting to 49 is still an uphill climb for this, but we'll see tonight. Maybe that will make a difference in terms of what we hear from both sides of this, from Graham and Cassidy on one hand and then Democrats Amy Klobuchar and Bernie Sanders on the other.

But again, you look at this. This is a passionate issue. I think Republicans haven't necessarily really tapped into how people take this so personally because it is about their health. Their kind of selling of this has had to do with block grants, with giving power to the governors, in talking to people about their health care and their problems with the health -- sort of the health care industry. I've rarely heard people say, well, I really wish that my governor could handle health care. They usually complain about prices and about accessibility in premium increases. And so far, from what we've seen from this bill, there isn't a lot of indication that it addresses those real problems that a lot of people have.

BROWN: And we're just seeing this play out here on Capitol Hill. Protests happening as the -- the hearing was just put on recess because they want to wait until order is installed in the wake of these protests. This hearing about the latest GOP health care bill.

I want to bring Gloria Borger back in. You know, it's interesting, Gloria, because over the weekend the president spoke more about the NFL and criticizing players for not standing during the national anthem than he did about this health care bill. What do you make of that?

BORGER: Right. Well, I think a lot of Republicans are not happy about that. They also wanted him to talk about tax reform, which is coming up, and he didn't do much of that. And still he was full of grievance about Steph Curry and about the NFL and continued to lash out over the weekend rather than deal with the issues at hand. He criticized John McCain, of course, for his decision to vote no.

And, you know, one thing I would say about this is, you know, you can't have it both ways. If people want an open process and they want to have more hearings, I get it, then let the hearing proceed. Let this hearing proceed because it is the one hearing -- I completely understand the argument--

BROWN: OK, Gloria, I'm just quickly have you hold for a second --


BROWN: Because we need to go to the White House for the latest briefing with Sarah Sanders.


SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It's another busy day here at the White House. On the economic front this week, the president will continue his push to secure tax relief for hard-working American families. We are pleased to announce that the president will be traveling to Indianapolis, Indiana, on Wednesday. While there, he will deliver remarks on the historic tax cuts and reforms that he has been working on with members of Congress.

During his remarks, the president will discuss new details on the framework for these cuts and reforms. These details will include specific proposed rates for individuals, small businesses and corporations. And he will also discuss the elimination of loopholes that have rigged the current tax code in favor of the wealthy and well-connected.

As the president has said before, we will give our workers the level playing field they deserve. And they will win, because if the fight is fair, no one on Earth can beat the American worker.

These cuts and reforms will deliver massive job creation and economic growth, and we are confident the American people will be very excited about what we are proposing.

While working to grow the economy of today, the president will also sign a presidential memorandum to ensure that American children are empowered to succeed in the workforce of tomorrow. Technology is playing a growing role in our economy, and this means that technical knowledge and skills are more important than ever. But more than half of our schools do not currently offer courses in computer programming, and nearly 40 percent do not offer physics.

The memo the president will sign today directs Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to take several steps to address this issue for our students.

First, it directs the secretary to establish high- quality STEM education, with a particular focus on computer science, as one of the Department of Education's priorities.

Second, it directs her to establish a goal of devoting at least $200 million per year in grant funds toward this priority.

Finally, the memo directs Secretary DeVos to explore administrative actions that increase the focus on computer science in existing K-12 and post-secondary programs.

This memorandum comes on the heels of the executive order the president signed in June to expand apprenticeships, giving more Americans the opportunity to earn while they learn and to receive skills training that will put them on the path to fulfilling work.

The president believes it's our responsibility to give our students -- especially under-represented groups, minorities, and women, and those from rural communities -- every opportunity to succeed. By signing this memoranda, he is taking action to ensure they have access to the high-quality STEM education they deserve.

The timing of this memo, which will be so important to America's underserved communities, is particularly fitting today. September 25th is the 60th anniversary of the Little Rock Nine's first day of class at Central High School.

A few weeks prior to their first day, Governor Orval Faubus called in the Arkansas National Guard to stand by as segregationists blocked the nine black students from entering the all-white school.

One of the nine students, Elizabeth Eckford, recalled, and I quote, "They moved closer and closer. Somebody started yelling. I tried to see a friendly face somewhere in the crowd, someone who could maybe help. I looked into the face of an old woman and it seemed like a kind face. But when I looked at her again, she spat on me."

Twenty years ago today, as a new student at Central High myself, I watched President Bill Clinton and my dad, Governor Mike Huckabee, open the doors for the Little Rock Nine, the same doors that had been closed to them because they were black.

The Little Rock Nine -- Melba Meals, Minnijean Brown, Elizabeth Eckford, Ernest Green, Gloria Ray Karlmark, Carlotta Walls LaNier, Thelma Mothershed, Terrence Roberts and the late Jefferson Thomas -- are American heroes who courageously advanced racial equality. As president trump has said, racism is evil. It has no place in our country. Today, Central High is one of the most racially diverse and high-achieving schools in Arkansas. This is a testimony to how far we've come in the last 60 years.

It's not lost on the president or his administration that there is more work to do. We need better schools and we need better jobs to provide a safer, stronger, more prosperous future for every American. President Trump (ph) is working to make America great again for all of our citizens, and his actions continue to show just how committed he is.

And with that, I'll take your questions.

QUESTION: Sarah? Sarah?

SANDERS: John (ph)?

QUESTION: Sarah, clearly the president has strong views on whether or not players in professional sports teams should stand for the national anthem. Given the response that the president has gotten over the last 48 hours, even from Tom Brady of the New England Patriots, who believes that what the president said on Friday night was very divisive, does the president regret at all describing these players who take a knee for the national anthem as SOBs who should be fired?

SANDERS: Look, this isn't about the president being against anyone. But this is about the president and millions of Americans being for something, being for honoring our flag, honoring our national anthem and honoring the men and women who fought to defend it.

I think General Martin Dempsey, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said it best when he said this this morning. "It's important to remember that our military is composed entirely of volunteers. It obviously takes a special kind of patriotism for people to volunteer to risk their life for their country. "Theirs is not blind patriotism that pretends there's nothing wrong with the country. Every man and woman in uniform knows we still have work to do to achieve the equality, opportunity and justice for all to which we aspire.

"But every member of the military also knows that what is right about America is worth defending. And if it's worth defending, it's worth honoring."

He continued, "I just hope that the athletes who are using the anthem as a protest understand why people like me intend to keep standing during the national anthem. We do so not because we agree with everything that America has done or everything that has been done in America's name, but because, despite all of that, the world is a better place because America exists. That seems to me to be worth the honor of respect during the national anthem."

QUESTION: I understand General Dempsey's position. I think people would thank for his service to this great nation.

But did the president go to far in referring to these players as SOBs who should be fired?

SANDERS: I think that it's always appropriate for the president of the United States to defend our flag, to defend the national anthem, and to defend the men and women who fought and died to defend it.


QUESTION: Sarah, let me ask you, you've often talked about how the president uses Twitter as a platform to sort of emphasize those things that are most important. Over the course of the last 72 hours the president has Tweeted more than a dozen times about sports, about kneeling, about Nascar on this topic. He Tweeted zero times about Puerto Rico.

So I guess the bottom line question is, what message is the president sending by emphasizing sports right now and not of the crisis that's affecting so many (inaudible)?

SANDERS: He's not emphasizing sports. You're missing the entire purpose of the message.

He's emphasizing something that should be unifying. Celebrating and promoting patriotism in our country is something that should bring everybody together.

When it comes to Puerto Rico, the president has sent both Administrator Long and Senior Adviser to the Department of Homeland Security Tom Bossert to Puerto Rico today. They're on the ground to assess the damage.

We've done unprecedented movement in terms of federal funding to provide for the people of Puerto Rico and others that have been impact (sic) these storms. We'll continue to do so and continue to do everything that we can possibly under the federal government to provide assistance.

QUESTION: So to be very clear, you say the president is instead emphasizing something that brings Americans together.

Then what message does is say for the president to stand behind the presidential seal at a rally in Alabama and call an American citizen who's expressing his First Amendment rights a son of a bitch?

SANDERS: Again, I think it's always appropriate for the president to defend our flag, to defend the national anthem...


SANDERS: Hold on. I'm not finished.

It's always appropriate for the president of this country to promote our flag, to promote our national anthem and ask people to respect it.

QUESTION: How about to promote the First Amendment?

SANDERS: Peter, I've answered your question.

Jim (ph)?

QUESTION: Switching topics, Sarah.

North Korea's foreign minister said that President Trump had declared war on North Korea and that it reserves the right to take countermeasures, including shooting down U.S. aircraft.

Does the White House view President Trump's comments at the U.N. as a declaration of war?

SANDERS: Not at all. We've not declared war on North Korea. And frankly the suggestion of that is absurd.

QUESTION: What is the White House's reaction to North Korea's threat to shoot down U.S. aircraft even if it's not in their airspace?

SANDERS: It's never appropriate for a country to shoot down another country's aircraft when it's over international waters.

Our goal is still the same. We continue to seek the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. That's our focus, doing that through both the most maximum economic and diplomatic pressures as possible at this point.

QUESTION: Thanks, Sarah.

Does the president believe that there are very fine people who kneeled yesterday watching those games, or are they all SOBs?

SANDERS: I -- I think you're trying to conflate different things here.

Look, we certainly respect the rights that people have, but I think we also need to focus. Again, this isn't about the president being against something, which is what everybody wants to drive.

This is about the president being for something. This is about the president for respect in our country, through symbols like the American flag, like the national anthem, and the hundreds of thousands of people that actually stand versus the few hundred that may have knelt.

QUESTION: One follow-up if I can.

The president said that kneeling has nothing to do with race.

Colin Kaepernick took a kneel -- took to his knees in these games -- many of these games, specifically because, he said, black people in this country were not being treated fairly by police. How is that not an issue of race?

SANDERS: I think that the focus has long since changed, and certainly the message, and what a lot has been communicated over these last several weeks through this process -- through this protest by these players.

QUESTION: Sarah, from this podium you've often expressed some frustration about the media not focusing on the agenda that the president has, substantive issues, things he wants to get done: tax reform, health care, et cetera.

When did the president decide at this rally that he was going to spend so much time talking about the flag itself?

And -- and doesn't that distract from the things that you are trying to accomplish this week, whether it's tax reform, or health care, or the efforts in Puerto Rico, or the showdown with North Korea?

SANDERS: Look, I certainly don't think that talking about the American flag is a distraction for the president of the United States.

Again, this should be something that every American can get behind and support and celebrate. It is national pride in our country, and supporting those that have fought and died to defend it from all different backgrounds.

And so I think, again, that that is -- certainly should be a priority of the president. But you act like that's all he did over the weekend. We also did a lot of other things; are continuing to push forward on tax reform, continuing to push forward on health care, continuing to push forward on the safety and security of the border in our country.

QUESTION: So do you think the rally -- with that in mind, though -- that was a point. He said, "I want to put this in the headlines."

SANDERS: I'm not sure when -- when that decision was made. I wasn't there. But I -- I know that it's a priority for the president to always defend our flag, always defend the national anthem, and certainly to support the men and women in uniform.

Jennifer (ph)?

QUESTION: A couple questions, if you don't mind, Sarah.

On the German election, has the president called Merkel yet to congratulate her on her win?

SANDERS: I know they spoke on Friday, and they're working on timing for a second call of congratulations. But I don't believe that's taken place yet today.

QUESTION: (inaudible) on Sunday. Is there a particular reason why he hasn't called her?

SANDERS: No, I think they're just working on the logistics piece of both leaders coordinating, so...

QUESTION: And then on tax reform, can you say when the president was briefed on the Big Six's plan? Has he signed off on that? Is it -- does the president have a final plan now for tax reform?

SANDERS: I know he's had quite a few conversations with members of his team, both Secretary Mnuchin and Gary Cohn. Those will continue, and he'll make those announcements on specifics on Wednesday in Indiana.

Mike (ph)?

QUESTION: Could you address the L.A. Times report of -- over the weekend that the president was warned by top aides, including McMaster, not to provoke Kim, particularly in the United Nations speech (inaudible) -- because of the potential backfire?

SANDERS: I'm sorry? I -- I missed the first part of your question -- sorry -- what you said.

QUESTION: The L.A. Times report that -- that the president was warned not to provoke Kim Jong Un in -- in his United Nations speech because -- that it would potentially backfire. And now we see that they've -- they've taken this as a -- as a declaration of war. (inaudible).


SANDERS: Yeah, on that (ph) -- sorry.

As I've said many times before, I wouldn't use another news source as your source, but -- and I pushed back on that story at the time. But that's a -- a false narrative.

The national security team was involved and engaged throughout the speech-writing process, and was very happy with the president's speech at the U.N.

(inaudible), go ahead.

QUESTION: Sarah, when the -- when Colin Kaepernick says that his protest is about fighting police brutality, fighting racial disparity, racial injustice, you're not taking him at his word. You're saying the focus has long since moved on. But when white supremacists say that their protest is about heritage, not hate, the president does take them at their word.

So why is there this disparity about who gets to decide what protest is about?

SANDERS: I think if this is -- the debate is really for them about police brutality, they should probably protest the officers on the field that are protecting them, instead of the American flag.


QUESTION: I wanted to ask, on the interview the president gave this morning, on the radio, he seemed pretty pessimistic about health care and I wondered what his interactions were today. Is he calling individual senators? Is the vice president calling? I know the vice president had been doing that.

What is the thought today? And do you think there will be a vote this week?

SANDERS: Whether or not there is a vote, we sure hope so. We've been calling on Congress to do what they were elected to do, and certainly what most of them campaigned on, and that's to repeal and replace Obamacare.

We're continuing to push forward. We know we can't live with the Obamacare status quo. It's a complete disaster. And so, we're hoping that this moves forward and goes through.

QUESTION: (inaudible) is he doing something specific?

SANDERS: He's continuing to be engaged, both directly and through his team -- legislative affairs team and the vice president.

QUESTION: Tomorrow, he's going to New York. Can you tell us what that dinner is? It looks like some kind of fund-raising dinner, as we've seen from (inaudible) e-mails.

Can you tell us what he's doing tomorrow?

SANDERS: There is a fund-raising dinner, and I'll have to get back to you with specifics.

Jon Decker?

QUESTION: This is a significant week, a pivotal week, for the president, for Republicans. It's an opportunity, some are saying the last best chance, for repealing and replacing Obamacare. And yet much of yesterday, the beginning part of today, was focused, as far as the president is concerned, on the NFL, on players who take a knee. Can you explain how that's helpful to that effort of repealing and replacing Obamacare when the president spends so much time on that other issue, the issue involving sports? SANDERS: It really doesn't take that long to type out 140 characters. And this president's very capable of doing more than one thing at a time, and more than one thing in a day.

John Gizzi?

QUESTION: But don't you see (ph), Sarah, how it's taking up so much oxygen, right? When the president speaks about that particular issue, you see how the majority of questions that have been asked of you so far today have been about this particular issue?

SANDERS: That's determined by you guys.

QUESTION: He has a tremendous amount of power when he tweets, and we report on it. And so, when he tweets something, it does take away from his legislative agenda. Would you not agree?

SANDERS: Ah, no, I don't. Because I think that it's important for a president to show patriotism, to be a leader on this issue, and he has.

John Gizzi?

QUESTION: Thank you, Sarah.

Two questions.

One, Secretary Carson recently voiced his disagreement --