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Tom Price Out from Trump's Team; Swamp that Cannot be Drained; Trump Not Backing Down Against NFL; Puerto Ricans Almost Begging for Help. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired September 29, 2017 - 22:00   ET


[22:00:15] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Before you go, Anderson, I just have a question for you. I've been watching the coverage, great coverage all day by the way. And you've been on the ground there. The president is insisting that everything is going great. What are you seeing there tonight?

COOPER: Look, I think you talk to a lot of people and I don't think that's the adjective that they would use. You know, there are people here who are, you know, tonight, they're not watching this broadcast. They have no electricity. They're sitting in their dark homes. Some of their homes don't have roofs. Some of them are still in shelters. Some of them are staying with friends.

They've spent most of the day in lines trying to get some gas or trying to get some cash or trying to get some food in the supermarket or trying to get some water or just trying to get some information about what the next couple of days hold or when those supplies might get here.

So I think there's a lot of frustration, particularly in some of the these outlying areas. The roads are -- they've done a good job getting the roads open, and FEMA people have been out to kind of assess some of these outlying communities.

But in a lot of these towns the people are waiting for medication, they're waiting for supplies. And, you know, the mayor of San Juan is very clear, you know, she says this is a desperate situation. People are dying. People are going to die.

And, you know, we're talking about people who need HIV medication. People who need dialysis, all sorts of people who have just the everyday maladies or diseases that they deal with that medication helps them live. It's not available. And that's got to change and it's got to change quick.

LEMON: Absolutely. Anderson, thank you again. Good reporting. We appreciate that.

This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon. Thank you so much for joining us. And this has been a pretty terrible week for the president. Let me

just remind you of everything that has happened. It was exactly one week ago just about this time that President Trump launched an all-out attack on NFL players protesting racial inequality and police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem.

This is what the President of the United States saw fit to say to America.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Wouldn't you love 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.


LEMON: Well, Friday was already a bad day for the president with John McCain when he announced that he would not support the GOP's latest healthcare bill, dooming their efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare again. Fast-forward to Tuesday when President Trump's candidate in Alabama's GOP Senate primary lost to the candidate backed by former White House senior adviser Steve Bannon.

Then just yesterday, acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke in a heck of a job brownie moment called the government's response to the devastation in Puerto Rico a good news story. Three and a half million people in Puerto Rico would definitely disagree with that.

San Juan's Mayor, Carmen Yulin Cruz is one of them, and she is here. She was here -- here she was on CNN's New Day, I should say.


CARMEN YULIN CRUZ, MAYOR OF SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO: Damn it, this is not a good news story. This is the people are dying story.


LEMON: And that brings us to tonight, Friday. And as you know, you know what that means. Somebody is out at the Trump administration. It happens on a lot of Fridays. This time it is Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price. Cut from the Trump team for making the boss look bad with his multiple expensive flights on private jets.

There's a lot to get to tonight but I want to bring in CNN politics editor at large Chris Cillizza. CNN political commentator David Swerdlick, and CNN political analyst Rebecca Berg. Good evening to all of you. Chris, starting a culture war, using NFL players, a loser on healthcare, a loser on the Alabama Senate primary, a loser on hurricane response in Puerto Rico. Now Tom Price. Not a good week for President Trump.

CHRIS CILLIZZA, POLITICS REPORTER AND EDITOR-AT-LARGE, CNN: And you didn't even mention Jared Kushner not disclosing that he used private e-mails. I mean, there's -- and there's other things too, Don. No.

What we have learned, I think, is the pace at which Donald Trump moves, the pace at which he creates news, social media, cable television, et cetera, make it very difficult to track all of these things. But I think it is important, as you just did, to lay out -- think about it. From Luther -- the Luther Strange sons of bitches speech to now is roughly seven days.

I mean, it's astounding. It's difficult to remember but important to remember. This is someone who I think undoubtedly dropped the ball as it relates to Puerto Rico. He was focused on the NFL. He was focused on Luther Strange. He was focused on healthcare. He was not focused on Puerto Rico despite his attempts to make good on that at least from a public perspective.

[22:05:01] And then capping the week off, you know, you said that like a lot of Fridays. You're right. I mean, Steve Bannon gone on a Friday. Reince Priebus gone on a Friday. Sean Spicer gone on a Friday. These are...


LEMON: What day was Scaramucci? I don't remember.

CILLIZZA: And that one may have broken the mold because he had to go. But all of these people, these are senior level people, Don, and we're not talking about year three of an administration. We're talking about year zero. I mean, we're talking about month eight and a half.

LEMON: Right. Was it just a matter of time before -- with Price, though? Because yesterday I kept asking a guest is it...


LEMON: ... is it going to happen by the end of the week.

CILLIZZA: Yes. As soon as -- you hit it exactly right, Don. Bad headlines.


CILLIZZA: Donald Trump watches lots of cable TV and he reads lots of headlines. The one cardinal sin in Trump world is making the boss look bad in the press, and that's what Tom Price did.


LEMON: Or getting more press.

CILLIZZA: Trump has no special loyalty to him...


CILLIZZA: ... and so there you go.

LEMON: Or getting more press than he does, David. I mean, the tombstones are piling up.


LEMON: I remember during the campaign that the president promised that he was going to have the best people. What happened with that?

SWERDLICK: Yes. He was the CEO president who even if he didn't have the -- wasn't in the weeds of every issue, Don, he was going to hire the best people and run things like a business. That has not proven to be the case.

In fact, with this administration so far in this first nine months there's been this brew of hubris and amateurism that has led the president to where he is right now which is not having accomplished that much.

What's so striking about the case of Secretary Price is that Secretary Price, unlike many of the other members of the cabinet, had a lot of government experience. He was a former budget committee chair in Congress, former congressman, a doctor, someone who in some ways seemed very well suited to the role of HHS secretary. But not only has the administration not gotten anywhere with repealing and replacing Obamacare, now Secretary Price also has a scandal on his hands.

And as Chris said, what you don't want to do if you work for Donald Trump is embarrass Donald Trump. He did that on two counts. He's out tonight.

LEMON: The writing was on the wall midweek, but tonight the president was pretty blunt. Listen to this.


TRUMP: We are looking at doing it very strongly, I think it's a shame because as a human being Tom Price is a very good man, I can tell you. Not a question of confidence. I was disappointed because I didn't like it cosmetically or otherwise. I was disappointed.


LEMON: Rebecca, he might be a very good man, but Price took dozens of flights, private and military that cost about a million dollars. How could someone whose boss ran on draining the swamp be so blind to the optics of this? I mean, it's just wrong.

REBECCA BERG, POLITICAL ANALYST, CNN: Not only that, Don, but someone as David mentioned who has been in government, who has been in politics, he's not new to government like so many other Trump officials. And so Tom Price can't say, you know, this was a beginner's mistake. He understands the way the game is played in Washington and so even if, you know, take the drain the swamp part out of the equation entirely, Tom Price never should have thought that this was going to be a good idea.

And he knew -- I mean, as a congressman he was one of the republicans who stressed fiscal conservative, who stressed that government waste should be eliminated. It's just so hypocritical in so many ways, and so you really wonder how he arrived at the point that he thought this was going to be a good idea and something that the president would approve of. Certainly as the president said the appearance of this is just not good.

LEMON: There's a lot of projection that goes on with the administration, Chris, and I wonder if people should start calling the Trump administration the Trump elites, you know, because he refers to people as the elites. As the elites in Washington, anytime you had this many billionaires and people who are using the federal government's money to take flights when they could fly commercially, maybe they're the elites.

CILLIZZA: Right. Well, and Don, we haven't even talked about it, but Ryan Zinke, the interior secretary taking private planes.


LEMON: And Pruitt as well.

CILLIZZA: Scott Pruitt taking private. We already know about Steve Mnuchin, right, the treasury secretary and his private plane issues. So, the Price thing is a sacrificial lamb that was easy for Donald Trump to sacrifice.

Candidly, you know, I think Donald Trump probably looked around at the negative headlines Tom Price was drawing, coincided with the fact that healthcare went down this week, repeal and replace, Trump although he probably wishes he could, he can't fire Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, but he can put the blame on Tom Price and Price has brought it on himself.


CILLIZZA: So in some ways it's an easy one for him.


CILLIZZA: But the chaos that Trump seems to want, right, he believes he thrives in, it does have an impact. It does lead to huge amounts -- and this is a historical amount of senior staff departure at this time.

[22:10:09] LEMON: OK, Chris.

CILLIZZA: Yes, sir.

LEMON: Let me play this for you guys because I think this is really important. Because this is what he said he wasn't going to -- you know, he doesn't -- you said that he couldn't tolerate when people, you know, bring him bad press.


LEMON: But I want you to listen to what he said. This is in July about Tom Price. I don't mean to cut you off, but I want to do it so we have enough time to talk about it.

CILLIZZA: It's your show.

LEMON: Watch this.


TRUMP: By the way, you're going to get the votes. He'd better get them. He'd better get them. Otherwise I'll say Tom, you're fired. I'll get somebody.


LEMON: Well, there you go.

CILLIZZA: Comedy is tragedy plus time, Don.

LEMON: It is. But David, I mean, he didn't -- he wasn't fired -- I mean, he was fired because of the flight thing.


LEMON: But he was talking about getting votes for a republican healthcare bill and we have to remember his failure to repeal Obamacare now hanging -- he's hanging that around Tom Price's neck. Is he?

SWERDLICK: Right. You bring a guy in who is a doctor and a former congressman because that's the synergy you want on the healthcare issue. He doesn't deliver on that and he embarrasses the president. You don't want to embarrass the president, you don't want not get healthcare done.

You do both of those things and you really have a problem. Can I just point out one thing about this, Don.

LEMON: Yes. Go ahead.

SWERDLICK: And Chris was alluding to it with tying together Secretary Mnuchin, Secretary Zinke, et cetera, et cetera.

LEMON: Pruitt, yes.

SWERDLICK: Scott Pruitt at the EPA. There are certain stories in Washington that don't cut through in a certain way, right. You know, it's like we talk about Russia a lot, but there are a lot of moving parts to that. But this is something that everybody, even people who are not following the day to day of politics can get their hands around.

Wait. You flew a private jet from D.C. to Philly, something that some people drive that every day to go to work. The idea -- you know, people don't expect that the secretary of health and human services going to fly in a middle seat on southwest airlines. But they don't think that they're going to charter a private jet. That's two ends of the spectrum. LEMON: Or a military jet.

SWERDLICK: Right, exactly. There's a happy medium in there, whether it's having your motorcade drive you there, or whether it's a first class seat on the Acela train but not a private jet for a two hour flight. People just look at that and say what's going on in Washington.

LEMON: Acela first class is perfectly fine an even business.


LEMON: It's all nice and the hot dogs are great. So, Rebecca, aside from all the people who have been fired there have been a lot of reports of the president screaming and berating White House staff and cabinet members. What are you hearing about who will replace Price?

BERG: Well, that's the big question. And you know, Chris was saying that this was an easy play by the president. Get the story out of the headlines. Tom Price is gone. Easy, he wins the news cycle.

But actually, I would argue that this makes things extremely difficult for the president and the administration in the short and the long- term because you do need to find a replacement for Tom Price, not only nominate that person but get them confirmed through the Senate.

And then they need to also be administering Obamacare and then potentially leading a health care fight at the beginning of next year as the president expressed that he is hoping to do. So actually, this could be a very tough confirmation fight, especially when you consider the healthcare fights that we have had over the past few months in Congress.

Democrats are energized by this issue right now. They feel that this is something that their grassroots is very passionate about. So anyone who the president nominates is immediately going to cause a firestorm on Capitol Hill, at least among democrats and maybe some republicans because this is a fundamental issue for them, healthcare.

LEMON: I'm going to hire the best people probably should have been followed by I'm going to fire the best people soon after as well. Thank you all. I appreciate it.

BERG: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: When we come back, hey, Mr. President, how is that drain the swamp thing working out for you? Tom Price gets the booed overall the flights on private plane. Ryan Zinke has his own plane problem. But he says, it's his words, a little B.S., not to mention the inspector general's investigation of Steve Mnuchin's trips on government planes.

Is President Trump's cabinet of billionaires bringing him down?


LEMON: President Trump is at his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey tonight for the third straight weekend. He spent a whopping 86 days at Trump branded properties since inauguration days. That is according to a count from CNN and the New York Times.

Is that a good look for a president who just got rid of his health and human services secretaries for all those flights on private planes?

Here to discuss CNN contributor, David Fahrenthold, CNN senior economic analyst, Stephen Moore, a former senior economic adviser to the Trump campaign, and former White House ethics lawyer, Richard Painter. OK. So, listen, the president, it's a tough job. The president deserves his time off. No one is saying that's a bad thing that he did.

But he was so critical of the last president and then he has all of this going on. So, David, in addition to these 13 trips on private charter planes, Tom Price also took government planes on two international trips. Candidate Trump said he's going to drain the swamp, yet here we are. What's going on?

DAVID FAHRENTHOLD, CONTRIBUTOR, CNN: Well, the problem is to drain are the swamp, it's -- we've had enough time there should be sort of concrete measures put in place. It's not just an empty promise or it shouldn't just be an empty promise. If you are going to -- if you care about this you have to set standards that start with the people who work underneath you. Not only that they have to behave beyond ethically, they have to behave beyond ethically to set an example for everybody else.

And if people like Steve Mnuchin, the treasury secretary, Price, Zinke, Scott Pruitt of EPA, if they're able to use government resources in a way that's questionable it sets an example for everybody else that says, look, draining the swamp, we didn't really mean it.

LEMON: Hey, Richard, David just went through a lot of it, but let me just -- let me remind the viewer again what it is. Price is not alone with this questionable travel. The Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin under review for trip on a government plane and he is also criticized for asking about using a government plane for his honeymoon.

The EPA administrator Scott Pruitt has taken private and military planes. The interior secretary Ryan Zinke has taken private planes including one owned by oil and gas executives. Zinke even went so far as to call this story a little BS. But is this just the beginning of the fall out? That's a lot of folks.

RICHARD PAINTER, FORMER CHIEF WHITE HOUSE ETHICS LAWYER: That is a lot of folks. The version I heard is Zinke he was going out to speak to a hockey team that's owned by a political contributor.

[22:19:58] I have no idea what that has to do with his job in the United States government. And the tone here is set at the top. The president has been going on down there to Palm Beach to Mar-a-Lago and each one of those trips costs us hundreds of thousands of dollars if not millions. We bring air force one down there. And it's one thing for the

president to go on a handful of vacations like President Bush did and President Obama. With President Trump it's been weekend, every other weekend. And now he's doing this thing at Bedminster. You know, he's been promoting the Trump brand when he's in the White House. He's refused to divest himself of complicates of interest.

So he's sending the message he's going to do anything he please in this job and the cabinet secretaries are going to do everything they can get away with. And that's the tone he wants to set, that's what he's going to do. There's nothing we can do about it unless we want to remove him as president.

LEMON: I want to get your response to that, Steven. Do you think that this is a tone, a culture that has been set by this president? I mean, he does take a lot of trips on weekend to his Trump branded properties.

STEPHEN MOORE, SENIOR ECONOMIC ANALYST, CNN: Well, no. Look, I think the American people knew that Donald Trump loved to play golf and that he -- you know, he's a rich man. He never hid his wealth, that he liked to visit his resorts.

But, look, Don, I'm a drain the swamp guy. I think the riches of Washington are incredibly unbecoming. Washington is becoming rich at the expense of the rest of the country. There's no question about that.

And I think -- look, I can't excuse some of these flights, but I will say this. Just in preparation for this segment tonight I looked at some of the Obama cabinet and, you know, so you have Loretta Lynch, Leon Panetta, Eric Holder, just those three I'd look they routinely took private jets. It's not as if this is the first time you've had cabinets agencies flying around on private jets.

I'm not excusing it. I think in most cases it probably is excusable. But for the most part it probably -- why can't they fly on commercial jets like the rest of us.


LEMON: Even if that is true, even if that is true which is not...

MOORE: It is true. It is true. I mean, they did take those flights.

PAINTER: Not true.

MOORE: I looked it up. It is true.

PAINTER: Not true, it never happened in the Bush administration. We did not allow that in the Bush administration. I talked to people in the Obama administration that is not...


MOORE: I'm talking about the Obama administration. I'm talking about the administration.

PAINTER: It is not true. I checked that out too. We did not tolerate that in the Bush administration and the Obama administration...


LEMON: I'm talking about the Obama administration. I'm not talking about Bush. I'm talking about Obama.

PAINTER: It's just not true.

MOORE: I'm talking about Loretta Lynch, Leon Panetta and Eric Holder, they all took private jets.

LEMON: To the extent that this administration is taking to the tune of a million dollars in eight months.

MOORE: Look, I don't know what the numbers are. I'm just saying that it's happened in the past...


LEMON: That's not...

MOORE: I'm not excusing this.

LEMON: Hold on. Hold on. Hold on.

MOORE: When Donald Trump found out about this, he got rid of...


LEMON: But when you do that with aboutism it does come off -- come on, Steven, you're a very smart man and I respect you a lot. It does come off as if you're making an excuse for it and the whole point of this administration is we're going to drain the swamp. There's too much being spent.


LEMON: We're a small government. The government is taking advantage of you. And then you have one guy who is spending a million dollars in eight months on private flights and then you have another one who is taking private planes and then you have another one and you have another one and another one. I mean, come on, Steven.

MOORE: Well, look, Tom Price is gone.

LEMON: And also -- and also before you said he's a rich man and we knew that he was rich and he likes to play golf.


LEMON: There are golf courses in Washington, D.C. And he's a rich man, but he's not paying for the Secret Service and for those flights.

MOORE: Well, Barak Obama took trips all the way to Hawaii at the taxpayers expense.

LEMON: Not every weekend, Steven.

MOORE: That's a long way to go. Look, I'm not excusing this. I'm not. I'm simply saying that there is a bit of a double standard here to say that Donald Trump's cabinet should be fired. I didn't hear people say that Eric Holder should be fired, I didn't hear people say that Loretta Lynch should be fired for going around on private planes. So maybe there should have...


LEMON: Steven, Donald Trump said that Price should be fired. Donald Trump said that Price -- Donald Trump is the one firing these people.

MOORE: I know. Because when he -- that's why he's not being hypocritical. He's saying, look, if you are abusing the public trust, if you think that you're somehow royalty because you're in the government, no, that's not -- they're not going to tolerate that in the Trump administration. I think it's appropriate. I don't like government officials abusing the public trust, and I think in this case the public trust was abused.

LEMON: Yes. David, I want you to weigh in on this, David, because you've been sitting by just sort of watching this happen. With your popcorn. But listen, you say if President Trump did this he wouldn't face any punishment. Why not?

FAHRENTHOLD: Well, the president -- rules are different for the president.


FAHRENTHOLD: The conflict of interest rules are different for the presidents because the people pick presidents.

MOORE: That's right.

FAHRENTHOLD: The president did the -- cabinet officials are chosen by the president. They don't have the same level of accountability to people.

So, if President Trump wants to fly back and forth to Bedminster or to Mar-a-Lago to visit his parties, that's a political question. People can ask whether that's appropriate or not.

It's not the same kind of thing as a cabinet official. But if you're setting an example, if President Trump thinks this is a big deal, thinks this matters and he certainly seems to think it matters in the case of Tom Price he has to enforce that with everybody else.

[22:25:06] What I'm interested in now is what precedent has he set now with this Price case for everybody else. Steve Mnuchin tries to take a government plane on his honeymoon, as you mentioned, also did fly a government plane to Fort Knox which just happened to put him in the path of the eclipse to go and inspect the gold. He want to inspect the gold on the one day that he needed to be in the path of the eclipse.

Things like that if President Trump is going to enforce this kind of standard about not misusing government money, taxpayer money to fly on private planes, where does this stop and who else has already stepped over the line in the cases we talked about. I'm interested to see how President Trump follows this up or if it's just left to lie after Tom Price leaves.

LEMON: So what CNN has obtained a memo saying now that the White House chief of staff John Kelly must approve all travel on government- owned, rented, leased or chartered aircraft except space available travel and travel to meet mission requirements. So why, I mean, should that have been put in place in the first -- in the first place? And then do you think that Kelly will be able to do that, David?

FAHRENTHOLD: I think it's a little ridiculous. This is the White House chief of staff policing people who are cabinet secretaries. These are not low level employees. These are people that have been trusted with the management of huge budgets, large agencies.

The idea that their specific travel, they're not, they can't be trusted to make this kind of ethical judgment on their own when we're asking them to make so many other judgments about their agencies. That they have to sort of send in a permission slip to be signed by John Kelly. I mean, I guess maybe that's the temporary measure.

But it's all ridiculous that these people apparently require that level of supervision when they have so many other things that they're being required to decide.

LEMON: So Steven, listen, I think everyone agrees and you heard my caveat at the top that the president can travel wherever he wants to go. He must be protected at all times. It's a tough job. If you want to take off. But do you understand that there is -- that maybe he might be setting an example for the rest of the administration? No?

MOORE: Well, look, again, I think that, you know, Trump has never hidden his wealth. He's made it very clear to the American people he likes to go to Mar-a-Lago, Florida and the American people knew that when they voted for him as president.

But that's different, as you just heard from a cabinet official. And cabinet officials -- I mean, look, this issue about whether they should get clearance from the White House, so there has to be somebody, there has to be an ethics office that signs off on these trips and says this is ethical and this isn't and I think that broke down in this case.

But I am impressed that Trump when he found out about this, he instantly got rid of the cabinet officer that violated the public's trust in this case.

LEMON: A lively debate. Thank you, gentlemen. I appreciate it. Thank you so much.

When we come back, what a lousy week for the president from Price to Puerto Rico to the failure, another failure healthcare, on his healthcare proposal and don't forget his feud with the NFL. I'm going to discuss all of that with Fareed Zakaria.


LEMON: Tom Price's resignation as Health and Human Services Secretary and the embarrassment he brought on to the White House capping a really, really bad week for President Trump.

I want to bring in now Fareed Zakaria, host of CNN's Fared Zakaria GPS. Hell of a week and lots to discuss. I want to start with Tom Price, but you know, and his resignation over this private jet incident. I thought this president and I'm not being facetious here was going to drain the swamp.

FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: You know, to me honestly that was perhaps the most appealing part about Trump's rhetoric on the campaign trail. And I honestly didn't find a lot that was appealing. But the part about draining the swamp resonated because, you know and I know it's true. Washington is run by lobbyists. The system is rigged.

There are enormous advantages that big money have because of the unique way that the United States runs its campaigns where we fund our campaigns essentially through the private sector, which is very unusual in western democracies. You have this enormous dependence and these lobbyists have all this power.

And Trump did seem like somebody who came from the outside. And yet what has happened is I think USA Today had a study that showed 100 lobbyists have been hired in the Trump administration. Fifteen in the executive Office of the President alone. It's not the billionaires I worry about.

The billionaires are actually less dependent on these issues. It's these people who have spent their lives in some way or the other, you know, catering to the whips and interests of special interests industries, particular companies and now they're in here.

I think at the end of the day part of it is it's something bigger than lobbying, which is, there is a lack of respect for any sense of ethical boundaries which he said from the top. The president said I'm not going to release my tax returns. I'm not going to really divest myself from my businesses. I'm not going to really pay attention to most of the rules that govern -- even the rules that they took so sacrosanct like the e-mails, right.


ZAKARIA: It turns out they're all using private e-mails.

LEMON: Private e-mails.

ZAKARIA: So I think you set the standards from the top, to send us from the top. If nobody is paying attention to these issues, yes, Tom Price is going to charter jets left right and center. LEMON: You just said more succinctly than answered what I was trying

to get out of Steven Moore earlier, it was that, you know, isn't that it comes from the top, right. If you see the president flying off every weekend to someplace or whatever, then maybe you might feel that you...


ZAKARIA: And by the way, these are his own clubs where he is in effect providing free advertising which these clubs then double and triple their membership fee. The whole thing -- honestly, the whole thing stinks to high heaven, the idea that you should be effectively providing advertising for your commercial enterprises while you are president of the United States is appalling.

LEMON: So then what -- if you're a Trump supporter and you -- drain the swamp and repeal and replace and Mexico is going to pay for the wall and tax and infrastructure and all this and none of this has gotten done, then at what point do you say I've been bamboozled?

[22:34:56] ZAKARIA: Well, you know, this piece of it I think is more deadly than some of the others, because the incompetence doesn't seem to have bothered them that much, but the drain the swamp, the idea that you have a lot of these people who are fat cats who are enriching themselves, that does seem to affect...


LEMON: More so than the administration that you had so much criticism for. But go on.

ZAKARIA: Right. And so, and that's why I think Price was let go. I think they must have recognized that this is actually affecting -- you know, this is affecting the core Trump brand. This is not something you can let go.

LEMON: And let's -- can we talk about Puerto Rico? You've been watching, you know, our correspondents and reporters and anchors down there all day, 3.5 million of our fellow American citizens currently suffering from hurricane Maria, the impact there. Our government -- members of our government have been saying and the president, the response has been great. This is a good news story, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. They responded to Harvey and Irma a lot faster. But why not this? What happened?

ZAKARIA: Look, there's no question there are first class citizens and second class citizens in the United States, unfortunately, and the Puerto Ricans have been placed in that latter category. You can just have to look at the response. It was five days after this hurricane that a single senior federal official even went to Puerto Rico. It was the homeland security adviser and the FEMA director. Five days.

And the way in which President Trump has talked about it has almost sounded like he was blaming the Puerto Ricans. He keeps saying, well, they're totally devastated. There's nothing there we can work with.

LEMON: The big ocean.

ZAKARIA: There's nothing there to work with because the island was flat understand. Unlike places like Texas, there's nothing, there's no command and control, there's no communications, there's no power. And then he talks about how they're deep in debt.

You know, when somebody is going through a crisis like this, this doesn't seem to me the point, the time at which to point out Puerto Rico's fiscal situation. It may be true, it may not be true. They're hurting. And I'm not sure what advantage there is in not showing empathy, not showing responsiveness, not showing competence, frankly. Other than to say, you know, unfortunately, clearly there's a kind of, these are non-voting citizens.


ZAKARIA: And it seems to make all the difference.

LEMON: I want to add to, but I wanted to ask you about the NFL. Man. Well, next time. There will be something else. Thank you, Fareed Zakaria. I appreciate it. Have a great weekend.

Up next, a former NFL player who is also an owner, what he thinks about the president's charge that owners are afraid of the players.


LEMON: The president ramping up his criticism again today of NFL players who kneel during the national anthem, insisting that they have to stand because it shows respect for the country and the flag.

I want to talk about this now with Warrick Dunn who owns a minority stake in the Atlanta Falcons and who played for both the Falcons and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. So good to have you on, sir. Thank you so much. Are you doing OK?

WARRICK DUNN, MINORITY OWNER, ATLANTA FALCONS: Yes, sir. I appreciate you having me.

LEMON: What do you think of -- absolutely. What do you think about what all happened this week?

DUNN: Well, it's just, it was a crazy week. The President, Donald Trump, attacking NFL players. And these guys the younger generation, they have a cause, they have a movement. And Trump really ignited that by pouring gasoline on a fire, by getting a national conversation of guys wanting to start issues in their community, inequality of black men being killed or being profiled. And there's no justice at the end. So these guys are raising the stakes. They're definitely making it a national conversation.

LEMON: It was the president's comments calling protesting the NFL players -- the NFL players who are protesting calling them sons of bitches a week ago tonight that started this whole conversation. When you heard that, what did you think? DUNN: I mean, I was taken back. A guy who was supposed to be the

President of the United States using this language. I mean, this is a guy that I can't tell my own kids or my neighbors kids or any kid in this country that this is a person you want to be like. It's disturbing that he's taken this approach against the NFL.

But the most important thing, I think, is the NFL, we're coming together. The owners are supporting the players. We're creating unity. We're trying to show everyone in this country that we can come together and solve problems by talking your issues out. But come together so that we can create some unity so that we can move forward.

LEMON: In addition to calling protesting players sons of bitches, he also called them ungrateful. Yesterday he said team owners are afraid of them. What did you think when you heard that comment and why do you think the president chose to describe NFL players that way?

DUNN: Well, I can tell you right now that the owners are not afraid of the players. They want to support their players. They want to work together. They want to show that we're all on the same page. This is unity. We're all family.

I'm not sure why the president took that stance and I don't think other owners are worried about that. I think the players in this league overall, they just want their message heard. It started with Colin Kaepernick by a peaceful protest. Donald Trump poured gasoline on a fire and ignited a national conversation.

But then you would have the NFL coming together creating an opportunity for unity, having the guys not kneeling down this week but guys are going to stand up, arm lock and they're going to ask all of the fans to arm lock as well so that we can show the country that we can come together, no matter our backgrounds and our difference, that we can come together and support each other.

LEMON: Eric Reed is a safety of the San Francisco 49ers, a former teammate of Colin Kaepernick and he tweeted this out just a few hours ago. "He said unity is great. I'm all for it. Let's be united in ending systematic oh pregnancy of black and brown people."

I mean, do you think Colin Kaepernick's original message in this protest is in danger of being lost and in part because of the president?

[22:44:59] DUNN: No, I don't think so. I think because of the Trump's actions, he's definitely made the conversation come to the forefront. We're not talking about Puerto Rico which we probably should be all focused on the things that are happening in Puerto Rico. But because of what Trump has said and how he targeted the National Football League, he's made this a national conversation. So guys are going to use their platform to continue to raise awareness.

LEMON: Do you think what's going to happen with the Falcons on Sunday?

DUNN: Well, I know right now, the Falcons, we're going to stand up for the national anthem. We're going to arm lock and we're going to ask the fans to who are attending game to arm lock as well. We're going to show unity and I think that message is going to go out to all 32 teams.

Of course, you're going to have players on other teams that they're not going to stand up and show and arm lock, but I still respect the way they're protesting because they want to raise awareness. They want their message to be heard that we want everyone to be treated equally in this country.

LEMON: Why would it change from a kneel to an arm lock when the original message was to take a knee?

DUNN: Well, I'm not really sure. I think when Kaepernick started his protest, he did it in a peaceful way. It alarmed some people because he was kneeling when the national anthem. I just think people blew it out of proportion because in this country you're a patriot, no matter if you were in the military, if you're an everyday worker, schoolteachers, bus drivers. We're all patriots. We all love this country and we're going to defend this country. And Kaepernick has his right to have a peaceful protest. And I respect him for that.

LEMON: Warrick Dunn, always a pleasure. Thank you, sir.

DUNN: I appreciate you having me.

LEMON: When we come back, a story you've got to see. The NFL and Xbox, a 10-year-old football fan and a positive story about the players and their fans.


LEMON: President Trump dividing America with his harsh criticism of NFL players who kneel during the national anthem.

I want to bring in now Rob Kelley, a running back for the Washington Redskins. We're so glad that you could join us this week. You know, NFL players, as NFL players, you guys are real role models and leaders not just in your community but around the country. Is that something that you think about?

ROB KELLEY, RUNNING BACK, WASHINGTON REDSKINS: I try to handle myself in a manner where I don't disappoint anybody and try to give the kids something they can look at and say I want to be like that. So I think I do a good job of trying to balance both being myself and also being somebody that the kids can look up to, as prtty much to be the same person.

LEMON: Let's talk about being a role model and something that kids can -- someone that kids can look up to. I want you to stand by for a minute. The president's been giving some of the guys in the NFL a bad rap.


LEMON: And that's unfortunate because millions of young Americans look up to professional athletes. You and your teammate Keith Marshall bumped into one youngster this week and I guarantee he's never forget it. His name is Jaden Watts. He walked into a gamestop in Virginia, asking about the price of an Xbox One which he has been saving up to buy.

He was wearing a Colin Kaepernick jersey, by the way, because he admires Kapernick's decision to kneel in protest of racial injustice. So you and Keith decided to change a 10-year-old boy's life. You chip in and you bought Jaden the game box the game of his dreams and that is fantastic.

And guess who is joining me now, it's Jaden and his mother Sandra Watts.


LEMON: His grandma. Sandra Watts. Pardon me for that. You do look young.

WATTS: I know. I know I look young. Thank you, Don.

LEMON: Lots of moisturizers. So thank you for joining us. Jaden, when did you realize that you were shopping with two Washington Redskins players?

JADEN WATTS, 10-YEAR-OLD GIVEN WITH XBOX BY REDSKINS PLAYERS: When my grandma came in really loud asking them if are they college players. And then they said the Redskins players so that's how it happened. And I was really shocked that they were Redskins players. They look buff, you know, but I didn't know.

LEMON: Yes. So you were shocked. It was a day of shock all around. Jaden, though, you're a Dallas Cowboys fan. That's your favorite team. But you were wearing the Kaepernick's jersey. Why is he your favorite player?

J. WATTS: He's a -- I like him because, like, it started off because of my dad. He's a 49ers fan. And I like Kaepernick and my dad really likes Kaepernick. Since I was 6, I used to, I like to follow my dad. I don't wear it just to wear it anymore. I wear it for what he does and how I admire him.

LEMON: Yes. What does that jersey mean to you?

J. WATTS: It means courage and that he -- it means bravery that he risked his job just to take a knee. And that takes a lot. Because like he makes millions and that's a job that he risked.

LEMON: Yes. Do you -- what do you think of the other players who were standing with him? Do you think that they should or does it matter to you?

J. WATTS: I don't really -- like, I'm just 10 years old. I don't really like -- I don't really like get it. So.

S. WATTS: It's not -- it's not political for us at all. Not at all. LEMON: Yes.

S. WATTS: It was just the wonderful guys in the world doing a wonderful thing for my grandson. And like I was telling somebody, the stars aligned for this to happen. I mean, everything happened that day from me taking my dog to the groomer, to me going to the makeup store till Jaden being out front and noticing the gamestop store, to him going in the gamestop store because he wanted to inquire about the Xbox.

LEMON: It was all timing it sounds like.

S. WATTS: It was timing. That's all it was. And then we meet these great wonderful guys who I thought were college guys because they look so young. I was like, who are these guys? I'm a little skeptical, you know.

LEMON: Rob, you said, listen, this wasn't about the -- it's not political either for you, it wasn't about the jersey. You were just doing something nice for a fan.

KELLEY: Yes. I mean, he had a 49ers jersey. I just -- I can recall myself being in his shoes and seeing something that I wanted and couldn't have it. I mean, I'm not saying he couldn't have it. He probably could have it. He probably could have it if his parents wanted to have it, but I've been wanting stuff and my parents didn't want to get it for me and I think that resonated with him on that. I thought it was a good idea to surprise him with it.

S. WATTS: It was. It really was.

LEMON: What do you want to say to him, Rob, anything?

KELLEY: I mean, he stand up for what he stand up here and listening to him talk. He's got a great head on his shoulders. I would like for him to keep on living his life the way he's living.

[22:55:06] And I would like for his grandma to stay on him like it seems like she's on him. Because first thing I asked him, can I buy him a game? He said, let me go ask my grandmother. Give me the game. So it shows that they teach something in their household that some type of respect or something. I mean, any other kid would have just took it.


S. WATTS: Yes. And also, we spoke with Keith also, and we were talking about that. And Keith was saying that, you know, being role models, that's what -- that's what you guys do. I told him how important it was that he did this for my grandson and how much I appreciated it. And he was saying, yes, ma'am, yes, ma'am, yes, ma'am. I told my grandson, you see this mannerisms right here? You better pick this up right now. So he listened.

LEMON: Thank you, Rob. Thank you, Jaden, thank you, Sandra, I appreciate it. Good luck to you guys. S. WATTS: Bye. Thank you.

KELLEY: No problem.

S. WATTS: Bye-bye.

LEMON: Thank you. We'll be right back.


LEMON: The mayor of San Juan couldn't have been any more explicit saying, help us. We're dying. Nine days after hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico, millions are still without electricity, water, and fuel.

I want to turn now to CNN's Leyla Santiago. Leyla, thank you so much for joining us this evening. You're from Puerto Rico. Your family is still there. How are they doing tonight? Were you able to see them?

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: So, Don, I'm happy to report they're OK. Today was the first time I was able to go into where my family is from. It's about 45 minutes west of here in San Juan. It's up in the mountains. And it's in the interior.

And I'm one of the lucky ones that has been able to reach her family. I mean, I was able to hear my -- excuse me, not my mom, my aunt, and my uncle, my cousins just say for the first time to hear them say, we're OK. We survived.

And they're saying we're OK despite the fact that they don't have power. They don't have water. There is no aid coming into that little town up in the mountains in Puerto Rico, but just to know that they're OK. That's what so many families in the mainland USA are just trying to hear from their own families to hear them say they're OK because there's no communication.

Cell phones not working in a good chunk of this island. So for me, relief...


SANTIAGO: ... to know that my family is OK, but my hometown is not OK. It's not OK.

LEMON: What are they saying, what are they telling reporters about the administration saying that they did an incredible job for Puerto Rico?

[22:59:56] SANTIAGO: Well, listen, when I talk to people -- again, I'm going to speak about my own town here, Don, if you will allow, when I talk to people there, they say, yes, we have seen FEMA. But FEMA has only been here for damage assessment.