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National Anthem Protests Grown in Rebuke of Trump; Trump Administration Unveils New Travel Restrictions. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired September 25, 2017 - 06:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm pissed off. I supported Donald Trump. But it's appalling to me.

[05:59:23] DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, say, "Get that son of a bitch off the field"?

LEBRON JAMES, NBA PLAYER: For him to try to use his platform to divide us even more, is not something I can stand for.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Right now they don't have my vote. I want to get there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: GOP leaders hoping to win over holdouts with a new version of the health care Bill.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Republicans have campaigned on repeal and replace. It's going to be very close.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the biggest catastrophe in modern history for Puerto Rico.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: There are 70,000 people at risk of another life-threatening situation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's going to take a lot of prep work, but Puerto Rico is a resilient community.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Monday, September 25, 6 a.m. here in New York. Chris off today. John Berman joins me. Happy Monday.


CAMEROTA: Absolutely. So let's get right to it. Here's our starting line.

A sweeping wave of protests and solidarity at football games across the country in defiance of President Trump's repeated calls to fire players who kneel during the national anthem. The president insisting that his criticism has nothing to do with race. Now even some of President Trump's staunchest supporters in the NFL are coming out against his rhetoric.

Meanwhile, new developments on the president's travel ban. The White House issuing a new order, imposing new restrictions on travelers from three new countries.

BERMAN: Also, the battle to repeal Obamacare appears to be on the brink of failing. Two Republican senators are against it. One more "no" vote would sink this last-ditch effort. Will a new version of the Bill win over skeptical Republican senators?

And the war of words continues to escalate between President Trump and North Korea. North Korean leaders saying that firing rockets at the U.S. mainland is inevitable, as President Trump warns the North Koreans they won't be around much longer.

It's been a very busy morning. We're covering it all for you. Let's begin with Joe Johns live at the White House -- Joe.


The president doubling down on his remarks condemning professional athletes for taking a knee during the national anthem. The president's critics questioning why he had harsher words for NFL players involved in peaceful protests than he did for white supremacists implicated in violence in Charlottesville. The president insisting his remarks have nothing to do with race.


TRUMP: I think it's very disrespectful to our country. I certainly think the ownership should do something about it.

JOHNS (voice-over): President Trump exacerbating a culture war with this unexpected rant Friday night.

TRUMP: Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, just say, "Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He's fired."?

JOHNS: Despite a day of widespread backlash, the president calling again for an NFL boycott and for players who kneel during the national anthem to be fired or suspended.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're the leader of the free world. This is what you -- this is what you're talking about?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our leader of this country is -- is acting like a jerk.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just think it's very unbecoming of the office of the president of the United States to talk like that, to degrade people like that. JOHNS: Dozens of NFL players taking a knee or sitting during the

national anthem Sunday. Other teammates and coaches standing shoulder to shoulder on the sideline, interlocking arms.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's no disrespect to the anthem. We just locked arms in unity.

JOHNS: The majority of Steelers players choosing to stay in the locker room until after the anthem was over. Some singers even showing their solidarity, taking a knee along with players.

The president responding saying, "Standing with locked arms is good. Kneeling, not acceptable."

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell sounding off in a statement, saying, "Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the league and the players."

Even prominent Trump backers finding it hard to defend the president.

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.

JOHNS: New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Mr. Trump's friend, who gave $1 million to the president's inaugural fund, says he's deeply disappointed by the town of Mr. Trump's comments.

TRUMP: I like Bob very much. He has to take his ideas and go with what he wants.

JOHNS: President Trump adding fuel to the fire by publicly rescinding a White House invitation to the NBA champion Golden State Warrior Stephen Curry after he said he wouldn't go.

STEPHEN CURRY, NBA CHAMPION: I don't know why he feels to the need to target certain individuals. It's not what leaders do.

JOHNS: Curry's long-time rival LeBron James criticizing the president's response.

JAMES: For him to try to use this platform to divide us even more is not something I can stand for.



JOHNS: The president's attacks on players pitting fans fans against each other at Sunday's game.


JOHNS: Meanwhile, there are big issues hanging in the balance here in Washington, D.C. The administration continues to hold its breath over the current condition of the latest health care revamp effort on Capitol Hill. The president holds a jobs event here today in Washington.

Back to you, John and Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Joe, thank you very much.

We have a lot to talk about, so let's bring in our political panel. We have CNN political analyst David Gregory; CNN contributor Wesley Lowery; and CNN political commentator and host of "SMERCONISH," Michael Smerconish. Gentlemen, great to have you all here.

So David Gregory, where do you want to begin with this? And what's happening and why this is happening?

[06:05:08] DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think the "why" is everything we've come to know about Donald Trump as a political figure and as president. "The Wall Street Journal," in its lead editorial this morning, described this issue at the NFL as cultural catnip for Donald Trump. I think there was little doubt that he would seize on this issue to wrap himself in the American flag, to take a stand against who we call the SOB's who are leading protests in the name of civil rights and against police misconduct and using the forum that they have as part of the NFL to make that statement when there's a lot of people watching. And it's a big platform, indeed. And I think what he lacks as a president, and what you saw in the response, is a softer touch, a more deft touch to understand how sensitive this issue all -- is all around and that there -- this is a really contentious issue.

And you know, the reality is that if you're players who are doing this, asserting your right to make this kind of statement, it's not going to be celebrated all the way around. There's going to be fans that boo you. That means people who are against that statement. You can't -- you have to understand that if you're going to do it.

But if you're the president who inserts yourself in this way, you see what the outcome is, which is why go out of your way to be more divisive instead of trying to find a way to bring some of the heat out of this issue.

BERMAN: The outcome, last week there are fewer than 10 players who kneeled or did some kind of protest. This week, more than 250 did something, including whole teams who refused to take the field. And the president claims overnight this is not about race. Listen to what the president says.


TRUMP: There was great solidarity for our flag and for our country. This has nothing to do with race. I've never said anything about race. This has nothing to do with race or anything else. This has to do with respect for our country and respect for ourselves.


BERMAN: Well, there was solidarity. The players on those teams standing together against what the president said. But as for race, Wesley Lowery, do you buy what the president says, that his statements are not about race?

WESLEY LOWERY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, of course not. I mean, this issue is unquestionably, to some extent, about race. I think that there's a long history sometimes of us trying to suggest that, if someone doesn't explicitly talk about race, right, if you don't say these black players should be punished, that all of a sudden, the dynamic of race does not exist.

What we know is that in this nation, you know, this premise on racial inequality from the beginning, that many of our issues, socially and politically, are at their core, about race and our disagreements about race, right?

This is an instance in which you have players protesting, primarily African-American players for the last year, who have been protesting specifically about what what they believe to be racial disparities and police use of force and police killings, right?

You have a dynamic in which you have a majority African-American league with a majority of white owners. And here you have a president who, time and time again, both on the campaign and here as the president of the United States, who has inflamed racial tensions nationwide, who's calling on those white owners, essentially, to take punitive measures against their black players for speaking out. So the racial dynamics here are clear. Whether there's explicit racial language used or not, I think we have to accept that race is obviously a factor here.

CAMEROTA: And Michael, I mean, of course it's been pointed out that the president has -- is speaking more critically about these players who are taking a knee than he did about the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, who he called "Some of them are very fine people."

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, HOST, "SMERCONISH": True. But the same token, I don't think you can say all criticism that's directed at Colin Kaepernick and other athletes is racially driven, because there's a legitimate debate here about the propriety of protesting during the national anthem.

And here's a barometer of just how much the country has moved in this regard. In 1992, George Herbert Walker Bush, running for reelection, made an issue of Bill Clinton, as a Rhodes Scholar while at Oxford, protesting against his country overseas. And it was then perceived as a bona fide point of contention, a legitimate debate.

I took note of the fact that yesterday the first game, which was 11 a.m. our time, East Coast, was the Jaguars and the Ravens at Wembley overseas. Twenty-seven players, according to "The Guardian" in the U.K., protested. And I've not heard any controversy here in the United States saying, "Huh, it's one thing to protest within our country, but what about overseas?"

My point is that the politicization of everything has become universal. And that's a sad thing.

BERMAN: Go ahead. GREGORY: I think Michael raises a good point, and I think that the debate about the appropriateness of this kind of protest is totally legitimate. But I think there's a willful disregard on the part of the president for what is a racially-charged issue.

[06:10:13] These are not players who are doing this for no reason. They are largely African-Americans who are using their platform as other people do in our society. These are powerful young people who make a lot of money to play an incredibly popular sport, who are seizing that platform to take a stand.

And other powerful people in this country, use their platforms, whether it's owning teams, running the government, running major corporations, which largely white men do, to use their power. So in this particular case, it is to willfully disregard the racial charge that's in part of this protest.

And by willfully disregarding it, it is insensitive. At the same time, the president is out there talking about how they're -- you know, people on all sides of the Charlottesville business. He knows what he's doing. He knows exactly what he's doing, just like he did during the campaign. And that's why he's more destructive, particularly as the president, who has an ability to bring people together, to try to hear people and not stoke this kind of thing.

BERMAN: What struck me was the responses in the league, though. The league, inside and out, clearly thought that a line was crossed there. You had owners who had donated to the inaugural committee of the president standing on the field. Bob Kraft writing that letter.

You had Rex Ryan, who introduced the president at a rally, with a blistering attack against the president. Terry Bradshaw, who you know -- I don't know where Terry Bradshaw is on politics, but Terry Bradshaw went out of his way to criticize the president. These people, white people involved with the NFL, Wesley, thought the president crossed the line.

LOWERY: Sure. Of course. What you saw here was the president repeatedly calling for the firing of people for expressing political views he does not agree with. But I think removed from the context, even, of these specific contexts or from football, is something that we can't lose sight of how significant that is.

So you have the president of the United States, using his bully pulpit, to call on private businesses and corporations to fire their employees for expressing political speech he disagrees with. I mean, that is a breakdown of a norm. It's very difficult to imagine previous presidents doing that type of thing.

You know, but again, I think that we can't forget. It's unsurprising to me that there's a show of solidarity for these players, from their owners and from their coaches, because you have to remember what he said. You know, two nights ago, he goes to Alabama to an all-white -- almost all-white crowd and says, you know, "I'm upset when people like you have to watch people like them doing this thing and disrespecting our flag calling these players, you know, SOBs. Look, if you said that about one of my colleagues, I certainly,

whether I agreed with my colleague's politics or not, would -- would not be pretty happy with you about that.

CAMEROTA: Michael, look, it's interesting to see what the president said before he was president. So here's a tweet from 2013. It's relevant. It was about the Redskins. And he tweeted then, when he was just Donald Trump, "Presidents should not be telling the Washington Redskins to change their name. Our country has far bigger problems!" Exclamation point. "Focus on them, not nonsense."

So, I mean, then you have to say, well, why now? Why is he weighing into the culture? Why is he throwing a grenade into the culture wars. And, you know, a lot of people say it's the heart of distraction. If health care isn't going well, if the Russia investigation seems to be encroaching on Paul Manafort, time for a culture war.

SMERCONISH: Consistency has never been his strong suit, Alisyn. And I think it's just a pattern we've seen over the course of the last nine months. There really hasn't been an effort to build bridges. It's been, politically speaking, all about reinforcing the 46 percent who gave him his victory.

The jury is out, in my mind, by the way, as to how this plays with his hard-core supporters. The conventional wisdom is that the athletes might be lined up against him, as well as the owners and certainly the media, but that his fan base will support his endeavors to be upholding of the flag. I'm not sure. I think it's going to cut more divisively than that. I'm eager to see the polling data.

GREGORY: Can I just make a larger point, I think that Smerc was getting to earlier? Which is let's put this in a larger historical frame. If you've been watching this amazing film on PBS about Vietnam. You know, you're taken back to a time when there was dissent in this country around the policy in Vietnam.

And people, you know, reacted to those protesters, including the president of the United States, who said they were being infiltrated by the communists, the anti-war left in this country. And, you know, counter-protesters saying love it or leave it.

So this is consistent with that, about the idea of, you know, kneeling during the national anthem that creates these kind of divisions. And again, I think the solidarity picture on the part of the NFL doesn't dismiss that as a legitimate debate but says something to the president about how he wants to weigh in on a matter that's so tough and whether he wants to try to heal some of it or just kind of lock in some of these divisions.

[06:15:16] CAMEROTA: Gentlemen, thank you very much for all of your perspectives.

We should let everyone know that coming up on NEW DAY, obviously, we'll be talking much more about this, and we're going to with NFL legendary sportscaster Bob Costas. He'll be with us. BERMAN: All right. We've got some breaking news this morning. Trump

administration unveiling new restrictions for travelers in eight countries, North Korea and Venezuela among the new additions to the list, which stands to replace for the so-called travel ban.

CNN's Jessica Schneider live in Washington with the breaking details -- Jessica.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN Correspondent: Well, John, this ban will be a permanent replacement to what we saw over the summer. Beginning October 18, there will be new restrictions, and in some cases an all- out ban on travelers from eight different countries. They include Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen.

Now, there are some new notable nations on this list. In particular you heard North Korea. Chad and Venezuela have also been added. The administration could use these additions to bolster its argument that this is not a Muslim ban, as the past two executive orders have been criticized as.

Now, these new travel restrictions are taking effect after the Department of Homeland Security spent the summer reviewing the way countries around the world vet travelers, and those that don't have sufficient screening, they are now on this list.

So the president weighed in overnight. He tweeted that "We will not admit those into our country that we cannot safely vet."

But right now, civil rights groups are still crying foul, even saying that this is just one part of the administration's, quote, "ugly white supremacist agenda."

Now, the legality of this latest version of the travel ban, it could take center stage on October 10, when the Supreme Court is hearing arguments about the temporary travel ban that took effect over the summer. The Justice Department filed papers last night. They're urging the parties to file additional briefs that also address this latest travel ban.

Important to note, though, this ban does not take effect until mid- October. And the restrictions do vary country by country. And people with valid visas or green cards from those eight affected countries, Alisyn, they will still be allowed into this country. But still a big change.

CAMEROTA: Absolutely. OK, Jessica, thanks so much for all of that reporting.

Now to health care. Republican leaders sweetening the deal on their health care proposal, trying to get the GOP holdouts on board. What do they have to offer? Who's taking the bait? All that, next.


[06:21;00] BERMAN: Senate Republicans revising their health care repeal bill, in an effort to win over holdouts. Happening just five days before the deadline and before a CBO score, a limited partial CBO score, which is expected today. So will this move win the votes they need?

Let's bring back David Gregory, Michael Smerconish. We're joined by senior policy correspondent for FOX News, Sarah Kliff. Sarah, first, let's talk about these sweeteners. Something in it for Alaska, something in it for Maine. Not coincidentally, where Lisa Murkowski and Sarah -- Susan Collins are from.

SARAH KLIFF, SENIOR POLICY CORRESPONDENT, FOX NEWS: Yes. This really is a bill trying to win over the senators who have expressed reservations about the health care bill. You see more money going to places like Alaska, Maine, Arizona where Senator McCain, who is currently a "no" vote, is from.

And you also see things some things in here to win over conservatives. One of the things that's quite different about this bill than the last version we saw, is that it makes it a lot easier for states to charge higher rates to sicker people, to cut out essential benefits we heard about a lot about in this debate. Those are changes trying to win over someone like Rand Paul who is currently a "no" or Ted Cruz who said he's not quite there on the gill.

So I really look at the revisions of this bill as an attempt to bring on those folks who have expressed reservations. And we will see over the next week whether that is successful.

CAMEROTA: David Gregory, here's our visual representation of those who have reservations. Here's our graphic. And you see that it's six people, which is a tough, you know, hill to climb. So you have Rand Paul, McCain, Collins, Murkowski, Ted Cruz, and Mike Lee. So how is all of this going to work before September 30?

GREGORY: Well, I don't know is the answer. And I think that, you know, what we've seen is kind of handicappers on how much momentum it has and how much has been lost. I think this is going to be very difficult, as it was before. And I don't think politically they have overcome I think one of the big tests, which this has the, you know, every appearance, and not just appearance but substance, of trying to do this on a party line vote in the way that Democrats did it.

And that's the danger. I think for people who care about it for John McCain, who says, "I may agree with certain points of this, but I don't think we ought to be doing it this way."

The reality from a policy perspective is that the impact of Obamacare took a long time to really understand. And understanding what the impact of some of these alternatives would be, I think, is also going to take a long time. And I think that's what's making it so difficult to try to cherry-pick these senators off at the end by sweetening the deal.

But I don't think you can count it out yet, because of how much pressure there is on Mitch McConnell and the Republicans to finally deliver on this.

BERMAN: Let's listen to Susan Collins with Jake yesterday, talking about her reservations.


SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: It is very difficult for me to envision a scenario where I would end up voting for this bill.


BERMAN: She talks about Medicaid, Michael Smerconish. She talks about pre-existing conditions. It's hard for me to see how you give Susan Collins more of what she wants without giving Rand Paul, who was already a "no" vote, less of what he wants.

SMERCONISH: She referenced pre-existing conditions and the fundamental obstacle I think that Republicans face is this. How do you cover those with pre-existing conditions if you get rid of the individual mandate?

Because the only way, in a macro sense, that the economic model works is if you say, "Everybody get in the pool, as in the insurance pool, especially all of you young invincibles." And if you give individuals the opportunity to opt out, then you've got no funding source left for the most vulnerable among us. They've never had an answer for that, and frankly, I don't know how they'll come up with one.

CAMEROTA: Well, I mean, Ted Cruz has something of an answer for that. And I think it will reflect a lot of what Republicans say. More choice. You know, more choice is going to be the answer. Because if you have more choice, he thinks, then that's sort of the market, you know, decides.

Let me just play this for you, Sarah, and you can tell us your analysis. Listen to this.


[06:25:03] CRUZ: Right now they don't have my vote, and I don't think they have Mike Lee's either. Now, I want to be a yes. I want to get there, because I think Obamacare is a disaster.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But there's work to be done.

CRUZ: But the price to getting there, I believe, is using on consumer freedom. If you want prices to go down, Econ 101. You want prices to go down, you want more choices, more options, more competition, and prices fall. What does Obamacare do? Fewer choices, less options, less competition, prices rise.


CAMEROTA: It's very simple, Sarah. Econ 101, he says.

KLIFF: Yes. As you know, our president just said, who knew health care could be so complicated? It's not really a normal market. It's a place where you have a lot of people who, you know, aren't really shopping who have a condition like cancer or something serious, where they won't have much choice about their health care.

So it is certainly true that, for some people, for the young and the healthy, they would see their premiums go down if there was more choice. If they could choose to buy a plan that didn't cover something like cancer treatments.

But you also have those people with really expensive conditions who need that robust coverage. And if you do have that marketplace, like the one Senator Cruz lays out, you would see them really disadvantaged when insurance companies have the choice to cover expensive chemotherapy drugs, or other really costly benefits. They will often say no.

Right now, Obamacare requires insurance companies to cover a really robust set of benefits. If you take away that requirement, we'd go back to a market pretty similar like the one we had before the Affordable Care Act, where it was very hard for people with costly conditions to even get coverage.

GREGORY: And I think -- I think it's important to remember, too, this is market intervention on the part of the government in a way that's not pure. The insurance companies always have to get taken care of in this deal. That was the deal with Obamacare on prescription drugs. And it was also guaranteeing that, if you cover more people, you're going to make more money to offset the fact that you have to cover people with pre-existing conditions.

And when younger, healthier people don't go in -- this is how insurance works. If you don't buy in, then you're looking for the pull of people who need the insurance. The more people who need their insurance, means the insurance companies paying more and make less. And that's what I think continues to be out of balance.

BERMAN: You know what I learned over the past couple years, Michael Smerconish? Using a private e-mail account, if you're a government worker, can be problematic.

CAMEROTA: What are you referring to?

BERMAN: Hillary Clinton ran into some problems with that over the last few years. And overnight, Michael, we learned that Jared Kushner, senior advisor to the president of the United States, who happens to also be his son-in-law, has been using a private account while he has worked in the White House for some official business. Now, it's fewer than 100 e-mails. His private attorney says Shouldn't Jared Kushner know better, Michael?

I can see how it would happen. He comes into the government. Obviously had an e-mail address, maybe multiple e-mail addresses at the time of his arrival. Somebody corresponds with him via the old e- mail address. And here's the mistake. He replies to them.

You would think, after all that we went through in the campaign and those chants of "lock her up," that the day that he was given a White House e-mail address, he would never have had a private e-mail address. Apparently, didn't have a private server. There's a big distinction here. But nevertheless, should not have continued.

CAMEROTA: Go ahead, David Gregory. Is there a big distinction that this is a private account, not a private server, and he didn't send any classified information? Obviously, Hillary Clinton's, we can get into that, that it was classified after the fact. But either way, do you see this as a big distinction?

GREGORY: I mean, it's just being hypothetical. I mean, his father- in-law talked about jailing her for all of this. And this e-mail issue on the part of Hillary Clinton was so overdone and so overwrought. And she made mistakes. And there are distinctions here between them. I

And nevertheless, I mean, I just think the hypocrisy of it is what -- is what stands out. But I think -- and he didn't destroy the e-mails, as Clinton did, as she claimed were private e-mails, you know, to have some zone of privacy that she's argued in her book. But I mean, I think it highlights the fact that there's, you know, difficulties with these communications in that the reaction has been overrun from the start.

CAMEROTA: All right. David, Michael, Sarah, thank you very much for being with us. And be sure to tune in tonight, to tell you about a special CNN production. This is senators Bernie Sanders and Amy Klobuchar are going to debate senators Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy on health care. And they're going to take questions. And that's tonight, at 9 Eastern, only on CNN.

BERMAN: Hurricane Maria's devastating toll on Puerto Rico still being felt. The entire island, still without power, and now a large dam is beginning to fail, forcing 70,000 people to evacuate. We have a live report next.