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More Than 78% Of Puerto Rico Still Without Power; Congresswoman Stands By Comments Made About Trump's Call To Army Widow; Leon Panetta's Take On Kelly's Comments; Obama Decries State Of American Politics; Bush: Bullying In Public Life Sets National Tone; Trump Rates Federal Response 10 Out Of 10. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired October 19, 2017 - 21:00   ET


[21:00:04] BILL WEIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Let's put it this way. If you lived in one of Donald Trump's buildings and only 20 percent of the people who had power and 50 percent had water and there was holes in the roof, would you give him a 10 or an A plus?

Our president came up as a salesman on television and the thing about selling yourself on T.V. in Puerto Rico is no one sees it because they haven't watched T.V. since Maria hit because there is no power here.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Appreciate you being there. Thanks very much.

Now the extraordinary moment at the White House today, John Kelly, White House chief of staff, and Gold Star father, defended President Trump's condolence calls to an army widow.

The controversy was over the call to the White for fallen army La David Johnson, one of the four U.S. army soldiers killed and ambushed in Niger earlier this month.

You'll recall Congresswoman Frederica Wilson has criticized the president's phone call. She was in the car with the widow when he called. The congresswoman said the president told Mrs. Johnson that her husband, "Knew what he signed up for but I guess it still hurts." That was her recollection.

Tonight the congresswoman still stands by those words and the statement she issued last night. That statement reads in part, "Despite President Trump's suggestion that I have recanted my statement or misstated what he said, I stand firmly by my original account of his conversation with Myeshia Johnson, the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson. Moreover, this account has been confirmed by family members who also witnessed Mr. Trump's incredible lack of compassion and sensitivity."

Chief of staff Kelly is critical of the congresswoman. He was also listening to the condolence call. Kelly's son, Marine Lieutenant Robert Kelly, was killed in Afghanistan in action in 2010. Kelly has not wanted to talk about his family's loss publicly. Today he did and he didn't hold back much. Take a look. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN KELLY, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I was stunned when I came to work yesterday morning and brokenhearted at what I saw a member of Congress doing. A member of Congress who listened in on a phone call from the president of the United States to a young wife and in his way tried to express that opinion. He's a brave man, a fallen hero. He knew what he was getting himself into because he enlisted. There's no reason to enlist. He enlisted. And he was where he wanted to be, exactly where he wanted to be with exactly the people he wanted to be with when his life was taken. That was the message.


COOPER: CNN White House Correspondent Sara Murray joins us now with more. The decision to send General Kelly out there to speak at the briefing today, do we know who was behind that? Was it his decision? Was the president's? Do we know?

SARA MURRAY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, the White House has been very guarded about the details of how General Kelly ended up in the briefing room today. Of course, we know that he has been very quiet about talking about his son's death in Afghanistan.

But we also know, look, this is a four-star marine general, retired four-start marine general. This is not someone who is going to be pushed into doing something he doesn't want to do necessarily. He may have felt like he was the best person to deliver this message. And he covered, frankly, a lot of ground when he was in that briefing room, a lot of emotional ground, a lot of things that were difficult to talk about beyond just the advice that he gave the president.

Remember, he went into detail about what happens to a soldier when they are killed, how their body is transported back, how they are assigned a casualty officer and the gravity and the magnitude that comes with that kind of job and with informing the family about what happened. And so it may have been General Kelly feeling like he was the only person with the understanding with the gravitas to explain what was actually going on, what this family was actually going through.

COOPER: It was interesting, I mean, he chose his words in some parts very, very carefully. You can kind of read into them what you will, I guess, depending maybe on how you want to read into them. But he was obviously critical of the Democratic congresswoman. Some of his comments could have been interpreted as being critical of the president of the United States, though he certainly did not, you know, name the president in any way.

MURRAY: No, he didn't name the president. He said the president sort of delivered his condolences in his own way. But he was very forthcoming about the fact in that sound bite you just played, that he kind of explained to the president, this is what I was told when my son died. This is sort of the best thing, I guess, that you could hear in that moment, the notion that he was where he needed to be, that he was around the people he need to be around, that he knew what he was getting himself into.

But, Anderson, this was a conversation that General Kelly was having at the time with General Joe Dunford who was a close friend of his. This was a conversation between two men who signed on as servicemen, who were serving this country. This was not the conversation between Donald Trump, a commander in chief, who has never served in the military, and Myeshia Johnson, a woman mourning the death of her husband.

And obviously, the way that that came across in this conversation I think was very different from the sentiment that General Kelly was hoping the president would be able to get across, or at least was, you know, trying to nudge him to. And it is worth noting that Kelly's initial advice to the president was you shouldn't make these calls. There's really nothing that you are going to be able to do to lessen this burden for the family.

[21:05:15] COOPER: Sara Murray, thanks very much. A lot to talk about with the panel. Joining me tonight Allison Jaslow, Scott Jennings, Jen Psaki, Amanda Carpenter, Errol Louis.

Allison you're the caption in the military -- two tours in Iraq. Am I right about that?


COOPER: OK, what did you make of General Kelly's statement today.

JASLOW: General Kelly's remarks were very powerful. But equally powerful as powerful was the image of Sergeant Johnson's widow grieving over her husband's flag draped casket.

You know, when I was in Iraq I was at (INAUDIBLE) officer, they call it for a buddy of mine who was killed. I had to pack up all his stuff and send it home. And I don't know that I would have had the words to stay to his spouse and to his family, but I think all our nation can do is give as much compassion and the highest level of gratitude to these families. There should not be politics. And four days into this I'm still in disbelief that we're having these conversations.

COOPER: It is interesting. I mean, it's such a tricky thing. Because I don't think we would be having this conversation, and I don't want to sound like I'm blaming the president for it, but it was the president who brought this into the public discourse by using conversations with Gold Star families to divert from a question he apparently didn't like and to criticize former presidents. And I feel like that's not something General Kelly obviously talked about today because he wouldn't. But that is why this is in the discourse, isn't it?

AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: What I saw today was General Kelly in a bind. He is -- I see a man doing what he can to guide the president to a better place. Not only guide the president, but to guide us to a better place. It is a shameful thing that this man had to stand and remind America to quit scoring points off dead soldiers.

And what hasn't been talked about is that he mentioned the conventions. During the Republican Convention, Benghazi, Gold Star families became a political football in many respects (INAUDIBLE).

In that there's a big difference between comforting, supporting these families and exploiting them. If any political members get close to exploiting these families we don't deserve men like General Kelly and his son and these men and women who spend their lives and pay the ultimate sacrifice for us. We don't deserve that. We are going to lose something very special if we can't tell the difference.

JEN PSAKI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: What struck me today I would say what -- it was almost like the tale of two speeches. Because the beginning part of General Kelly's remarks were heartfelt. He shared information he hasn't talked about in the past about not only his son, but his experience as a high level member of the military. And I think regardless of your political background that was a very heartwarming moment and it was really, you know, you just sat there stunned watching the television.

The second half felt like that was more geared towards not what General Kelly was feeling from his heart, but towards President Trump and what he wanted to accomplish because he went and attacked the congresswoman, he called her an empty barrel a few times. He talked about women being sacred, but seemed to contradict that. So I felt the first half is who General Kelly is and who he has been as somebody who has proudly served in the military and the second half is who he has been forced to be as chief of staff to President Trump.

COOPER: He's now -- I mean -- he's now, you know, he's a former general. He's now in a political role and one has to consider that in the service.

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I think he gave the president good advice, which is I'm not sure I would make these calls. When I worked for President Bush he did a lot of private meetings and everybody got a letter. And we didn't do it in public. You know, these things weren't litigated in public.

And so, litigating this in public has done an extreme disservice, I think, to the family. The only person's opinion who matters here is the widow and those kids.

I think Trump thought he was trying to do the right thing. I think it's also possible he did it poorly. And I think it's highly likely that this congresswoman who hates Donald Trump is trying to score points off of it. So I don't think Kelly is wrong about that.

But I don't know that there's any good that comes from continuing to litigate this for the White House. I mean, the only thing these families deserve is our gratitude because I can sure as hell assure you they do not deserve our politics right now.

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: We should be clear that the congresswoman, for all intense and purposes, was a family member. I mean, she actually knew La David Johnson from the time he was a kid, created a program that he came up in, was there for a reason. It's not, you know, just any politician who's going to be sitting with a widow as she goes to retrieve her husband's body.

So let's call her what she is, in effect, a family member. And across the board, the soldier's parents, the widow, this close family friend, all of them said something went horribly wrong with that call. And it is a tragedy, I think, that what appears to have been just a misunderstanding, you know, I mean, General Kelly explained what the president meant to say. I believe him. It sounds very plausible. It sounds like it was misheard for a lot of different reasons. And it's really a tragic shame that with maybe a follow-up phone call, General Kelly says he heard his end of the conversation, they couldn't have cleared the whole thing up.

[21:10:29] JENNINGS: Yes, it's possible for this phone call to have gone horribly wrong and it's also possible for the president to have been trying to do the right thing. And I agree with you, it's also possible for them to handle this privately at this point and stop litigating this in public because it's not helping.

COOPER: Do you think that was an attempt today to basically just put an end to this? And they have General Kelly --

JENNINGS: Yes, and I hope it does.

COOPER: I mean, I think everybody -- you know, I think everybody -- I speak for myself, I hope -- you know, this is an awkward thing to talk about. It's an uncomfortable thing to be discussing in such a public, politicized environment.

JASLOW: Yes, but unfortunately we're still talking about. Bonnie Carroll from TAPS was in our office today and there are families who have lost their family members who called in tears to her program looking for support. TAPS is an organization that anybody who's watching should consider supporting because they're there before the president calls arrives and, well, afterwards.

COOPER: We had on the beginning of the 8:00 program, the Murphy family, Mr. and Mrs. Murphy whose son, Etienne, was -- died in Afghanistan when his vehicle rolled over. And -- I mean, what I thought was so powerful, what they were saying is, look, we're not talking because we want to be involved in this political discussion. We just want people to know about our son. We just want people to know about how he lost his life, but how he lived his life. And I think you hear that from a lot of Gold Star families who sort of -- they're happy to talk about -- and that's all we've really talked about with them about who Etienne was but.

PSAKI: What I think was -- for me who worked for President Obama for eight years, I know you worked for a long time for President Bush is so many of these conversations happened quietly and they're never publicized. And it's always the call of the family. And that's the case with calls, whether they -- they don't all want a call from the commander in chief, regardless of who you are. They don't all want to come visit the White House. So, it's always driven by the families. And I think that's important for people to understand and the best thing that could happen is for this to go back underground and be private greetings with President Trump. He should invite families there. He should invite wounded veterans. He should go visit people who are still recovering. And I hope he does do that. And that could be a positive next step by the White House.

COOPER: I should also -- Specialist Murphy was killed in Syria, not in Afghanistan, but right around Memorial Day.

We're going to take a short break. We'll continue this discussion. My conversation with Leon Panetta is next. General Kelly was Secretary Panetta's military assistance. We want to hear his take on today.

And later, both presidents, Bush and former President Obama today taking a few not so (INAUDIBLE) swipes that the current president's policy. What they said and the panel reaction ahead.


[21:16:44] COOPER: The breaking news tonight, Congresswoman Frederica Wilson is standing by her comments on President Trump condolence call. She believes he was insensitive to the grieving widows Sergeant La David Johnson. This comes just hours after she was criticized by White House chief of staff John Kelly who told reporters he was stunned by her comments. He also said this.


KELLY: When I was a kid growing up, a lot of things were sacred in our country. Women were sacred, looked upon with great honor. That's of course not the case anymore as we see from recent cases. Life, the dignity of life is sacred. That's gone. Religion, that seems to be gone as well. Gold Star families, I think that left in the convention over the summer. I just thought the selfless devotion that brings a man or woman to die on the battlefield, I just thought that that might be sacred.


COOPER: Back now with the panel. I should also mention Allison Jaslow our (INAUDIBLE) panel, she's Executive Director of Iraq and Afghanistan and Veterans of America and served two tours in Iraq. I wonder, Amanda, what do you make of that?

CARPENTER: I think he was venting. I think, listen, he is a guy who serves Trump, and we first see him as a member of the military. But, clearly, he does have political thoughts and I think the White House has to be very careful about how they use General Kelly. Clearly, he is by far their most effective messenger at this point.

COOPER: Second time he's come out in a week.

CARPENTER: In a week. Yes. He brings credibility to that podium that has not existed at that podium all through Trump's entire campaign.

If they keep putting him out to do these messages, he's going to lose that credibility. And so, I hope that he edits himself a little better next time, as you said earlier, the front of his speech.

What he did and talking about what happens to slain soldier, I've never heard that timeline. We all need to hear that timeline, just picturing a soldier being packed in ice to preserve his body so his family can -- can greet him. We need to hear that because we may see pictures of a casket and the president saluting and greeting them. But I don't think we have enough exposure to the sacrifices our fellow men and women make.

PSAKI: To Amanda's point, you know, he is very effective at the podium. And in many ways, he comes across as more presidential than the president of the United States in terms of how he conducts himself. He can be personable, but he also can be very serious.

Now what is striking to me is that he is still seems removed from who he's working for. I mean, he was clearly referencing Harvey Weinstein in respect for women, or I think that would be the best guess. But he's also working for somebody who has talked about grabbing women in -- not a place they should be grabbed and many other comments that have been made by the person sitting in the Oval Office.

So it's almost like he's disconnected from the person he's serving at times. But he is doing an effective job of bringing some presidential characteristics to that building.

COOPER: Jaslow, the level of detail that Amanda talked about, I do think many civilians have -- don't know that process. Is that something you knew? As a member of the military, is that commonly known, the exact process?

[21:19:58] JASLOW: Oh, absolutely. I mean, there are soldiers who leave the battlefield and hop on a plane to make sure that their body makes it to Landstuhl, Germany, before they make it back to the Dover airfield base.

You know, and many officers are assigned as casualty assistance officers, which I think General Kelly talked about today.

COOPER: Right.

JASLOW: Which means that you're there not just for a phone call or to write something or to knock on a door, because that happens too. But to carry that family through the process, which ends well beyond what we've seen in headlines these days.

COOPER: We're going to take a break, and thanks for the discussion. Coming up when we come back we'll hear from former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. At one point, John Kelly served as his military assistant. They know each other well. We'll hear what he makes of all this, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: As we've been talking about tonight, Chief of Staff John Kelly was thrust into the middle of this debate over making phone calls to Gold Star families by the president himself.

On Tuesday, President Trump suggested in a radio interview with the reporter should ask Kelly if then President Obama called him when his son was killed in action. Kelly addressed those comments today from the White House podium.


[21:25:00] KELLY: He asked me about previous presidents, and I said I can tell you that President Obama, who was my commander in chief when I was on active duty, did not call my family. That was not a criticism. That was just to simply say I don't believe President Obama called. That's not a negative thing.


COOPER: When his son was killed, Kelly was serving as military assistant to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta who joins me now.

Secretary Panetta, you know General Kelly very well. I'm wondering what you made of his press conference today?

LEON PANETTA, FORMER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: You know, because I know John, and because he served me as my military aide when I was defense secretary, I have a lot of respect for him and for his service to this country and for the fact that he did lose his son and he understands better than anyone the terrible emotions of what's involved when somebody loses their life in the line of duty. At the same time he is now chief of staff. And I think what he was trying to do was a little damage repair today because this issue, frankly, has gotten a little out of control. And he was trying, hopefully, to put it in a better place. Whether or not he's successful at that, still remains to be seen.

COOPER: When you say he's trying to put it in a better place, is he trying to put it in a better place in terms of for the president or trying to just put it in a better place, a more respectful place in the national conversation?

PANETTA: I think he's trying to make -- make Americans understand what's involved here when a loved one is lost. I mean, I do think, as much as I regret the kind of politicized debate that's going on here, I do think that one thing that has been important for this country is to remember, again, that there are men and women in uniform who are serving in dangerous places and putting their lives on the line, and at times losing their lives because they love this country. And I think it's important to remember that.

I would wish that the focus would be on those men and women who are willing to serve and put their lives on the line and on the families that have lost loved ones, that's where the focus ought to be.

COOPER: It does seem like this is a conversation that probably would not have been -- that we would not be having, and that would not be such a public conversation, if it hadn't been for President Trump essentially deflecting a question about why he had not spoken up over the course of 12 days about the death of four service members in Niger, deflecting that, which I guess he interpreted as a hostile question or some sort of inherent criticism of him, by criticizing former presidents about their treatment of Gold Star families.

PANETTA: I think what happens with this president in particular is that he has a bad habit of when he's asked a question that is uncomfortable, or that raises questions about whether or not he handled something correctly, that he tends to look for scapegoats, and he tries to change the issue. And the first thing he usually does is either go back to President Obama and how he handled it, or other presidents handled it, and tries to raise issues that somehow justify how he handles things.

COOPER: I want to play something that the General Kelly said during the press conference to get your reaction.


KELLY: When I was a kid growing up, a lot of things were sacred in our country. Women were sacred, looked upon with great honor. That's of course not the case anymore as we see from recent cases. Life, the dignity of life is sacred. That's gone. Religion, that seems to be gone as well. Gold Star families, I think that left in the convention over the summer. I just thought the selfless devotion that brings a man or woman to die on the battlefield, I just thought that that might be sacred.


COOPER: Incredibly, obviously very powerful words. I mean, they could be interpreted in different ways, I guess, depending on how you see them. They could be an implicit criticism of the tone and tenor of this overall conversation. But then again, General Kelly is the chief of staff for a president who, you know, during the convention, which General Kelly was referencing, you know, did go after a Gold Star family who made a public criticism of the president during the conventions, you know, obviously the president has made past comments about women that certainly raised a lot of questions.

[21:29:51] PANETTA: I think John Kelly is not a politician. He has never been a politician. He's a marine. He's dedicated to the mission that this country's involved with. He's dedicated to whoever is commander in chief. And John, you know, speaks from the heart. So I respect, you know, John's feelings here. But I think John also has to recognize that when he goes out there he's no longer a four-star marine. He's chief of staff to President Trump.

COOPER: Secretary Panetta, I appreciate your time, thank you.

PANETTA: Thank you.

COOPER: Up next tonight, more breaking news, two former presidents take on the current commander in chief and the state of politics in America, the critiques President Obama and Bush have for the Trump brand of politics in a moment.


COOPER: Former President Obama has wrapped up a speech in Richmond, Virginia tonight. Without using his name, he took on the Trump brand of politics. Here's part of what he said.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're at our best not when we're trying to put people down, but when we're trying to lift everybody up.

Candidates are rewarded for pandering to the extremes instead of trying to keep common ground and forging consensus.

[21:35:08] Instead of our politics reflecting our values, we've got politics infecting our communities. Instead of looking for ways to work together and get things done in a practical way, we've got folks who are deliberately trying to make folks angry. To demonize people who have different ideas. To get the base all riled up because it provides a short-term tactical advantage.


COOPER: Well, he wasn't the only former president speaking out today. Former president George W. Bush, also issued a scathing critique in a New York speech.


GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We become the heirs of Martin Luther King Jr. by recognizing one another not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. This means that people of every race, religion, ethnicity can be fully and equally American. It means that bigotry or white supremacy in any form is blasphemy against the American creed.

We've seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty. At times it can seem like the forces pulling us apart are stronger than the forces binding us together. Argument turns too easily into animosity. Disagreement escalates into dehumanization.

We've seen nationalism distorted into nativism (ph), forgotten the dynamism (ph), that immigration has always brought to America.


COOPER: Back to our panel. Joining the conversation is Kirsten Powers and CNN's Jamie Gangel.

Jamie, I mean, you covered the Bush for a long time. What do you think made the president speak out today and then the way he did?

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: So I think in some ways it was a big surprise that he spoke out. After all he went eight years without criticizing Barack Obama, a Democrat.

On the other hand it's not a surprise. We know he didn't vote for him. His father voted for Hillary Clinton. He said privately in a meeting during the campaign he thought he might be the last Republican president. So there's no love lost. But why today? I think it's simply enough was enough.

This speech is planned for a year and he didn't say Trump's name, but he was very specific. It's very pointed. You don't have to look too far. And I think there have been some inflection points. I think Charlottesville was an inflection point. I think North Korea and National Security are inflection points. I think that being presidential in the Bush family is an inflection point. Words matter, tweets matter.

But I think at the end he really sees, and we heard it in that sound, that he feels as if Trump and what is going on is tearing the country apart. This goes way beyond the Republican Party.

COOPER: And Scott, you worked for his administration. I mean, the warnings that they are both sounding are actually really frightening. I mean the fact that both former presidents are coming forward and saying these things, I mean, you can look at it just through a political prism and clearly President Obama was campaigning for a candidate. But, I mean, there -- it's serious stuff they're talking about.

JENNINGS: Yes, no doubt. And they're not the only people that feel this way. In fact, listening to President Bush today reminded me of something I read about Secretary of Defense Mattis. He was -- did an interview earlier this year. At the beginning of taking this job, and the person said, what is it that scares you the most? And you'd think, you know, some foreign issue. No, he said, the lack of fundamental immunity in America, the lack of a fundamental friendliness.

And what he was saying is we can't disagree without hating each other. We're unraveling. Politically we're unraveling and we're losing that sense that we're all in this together.

Then you start, as he said at the end, you know, if you're not part of something bigger, you stop caring about your fellow man. This is General Mattis earlier this year, right, as he was becoming secretary of defense.

So I do think there's a sense in this country that we're unraveling politically. I'm glad these presidents are speaking out. And I don't think political divisiveness started with Donald Trump, but I do think it's something we have to get our arms around in this country because we don't understand anymore.

COOPER: Kirsten.

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I agree with that but I also think that people are very quick to assume that everything that George Bush was saying was about Donald Trump. And I don't think that was probably the case. You would know better. I mean you played the clips of what he was talking about. You know, argument turns too easily into animosity.

There's another thing he said, too often we judge others by their worst examples when we judge ourselves by our best examples. And, you know, I think we're all guilty of doing that. And I think he is talking about the discourse that we have in this country that it's Donald Trump, isn't the only one who's guilty of demonizing, as President Obama said, you know, people demonizing their opponents and that things really seemed to have evolved.

[21:40:13] Now since he's president. He, obviously, is playing a very big role on that. It is not setting a good standard. But it's something that has now infiltrated, I think, all parts of our political discourse.

CARPENTER: Yes, I was interested in the way that Bush focused on nativism. Because this is something, I think, we all recognized during the 2016 election, but there is no signs of it stopping. Although, I do think, it is a better name for what Donald Trump is doing.

In his speech at the heritage foundation earlier this week I saw him frame the issues of nativism better than he ever has. And I would almost call it Trumpism. He is so good at making people choose between the flag, the anthem, strong borders or just hating America. He's excellent at it and he's getting better and better every single day. I see no opposition to that that's been able to mount a counterargument in any productive way.

I think he's going -- if he continues this, he's going to do very well in 2020. If it's a debate between Donald Trump, the flag and the liberals, the flag and Donald Trump are going to win.

But I'm wondering as Republicans are we going to be able to guide him into a better place. Because I agree, people should stand for the anthem. But I worry when Donald Trump tells a private corporation that he needs to make their employees stand, that's dangerous territory. If there's no reasonable, productive, Democratic resistant, I don't know how we're going to stop him. And so, I think we need to be thinking about that.

PSAKI: The other piece that I -- that stuck with me was that he -- President Bush was very outspoken on bigotry and racism. And even more so, frankly, than what President Obama had to say, I mean, his remarks were short as you mentioned during a campaign rally. And it was a reminder that a white president can certainly speak effectively to that and can certainly talk about divides along racial lines in our country. And that's something that I think other leaders need to probably rise and do. But that really stuck out to me as part of his speech as well.

LOUIS: It was anticipated that if Hillary Clinton had won there was immediately going to be, we've all talked about this, a civil war within the Republican Party, that there was going to be this blood bath. CARPENTER: That's been going on since 2009.

LOUIS: And, well, and it continued today. What I heard George W. Bush was talking about was a different kind of conservatism, a different kind of way of being a Republican that he's willing to fight for, you know, because it wasn't just aimed at Donald Trump. He didn't have to say his name. Because Donald Trump is not just -- you know, he's the head of and the embodiment of a large faction, a large movement within the Republican Party, within conservatism, and there are a lot of people who tried to fight it in 2015, tried to fight it in 2016. The fight is not over. It's just not taking the form that we anticipated. We thought they might be losers on the outside and a lot of recriminations. Well, they're winners on the inside. And they still have gridlock, they still have a lot of different things that they have to work out.

JENNINGS: I think President Bush was talking about angry, divisive people in both parties, OK? I think that we're all one -- like you said, I think we want to apply this to Trump because he's the president. So that's natural for us to do that. But we have people in both parties who have contributed to this, you know, coming apart this unraveling. And I think that President Bush --


COOPER: -- I though cable news in there as well. I mean, in terms of like --


JENNINGS: But he wasn't just talking about a Republican civil war. He was talking about two groups of people in America, who tribes that don't understand each other anymore and have forgotten we're all in this together.

PSAKI: And when he talked about nativism, nativism is actually something President Obama spoke about quite frequently, privately and publicly in the last year or two of office and it was a reminder that there actually is more alignment on a lot of international issues. We used to be a country that was headed, we believed globalization was positive, that we should reach across the Atlantic, the trade provided economic opportunity. And we've really dialed back from that. It's interesting that there's actually agreement between President Obama, President Bush, people of both parties on some of those issues.

COOPER: Jamie, do you expect to hear more from President Bush?

GANGEL: I don't think so. I think he put his toe in the water. He did this. It is true that these are themes that he has talked about in the past. But I think the fact that we listened to that speech today and we saw connections between that speech and Donald Trump says everything you need to know about that speech. But I think he will go back to being very quiet for a while.

COOPER: Do you agree with that?

JENNINGS: Yes, I don't think he's one to go out and make, you know, speech after speech after speech. He doesn't tweet, you know.

COOPER: Right.

JENNINGS: He says what he has to say. We're talking about. And he'll go back to Texas and I think everybody should go visit the Bush Center down there, because you can learn a lot about the Bush presidency by doing so.

[21:44:55] COOPER: I want to thank everybody on the panel tonight. When we come back, we're going to hear from the governor of Puerto Rico. More than 78 percent of the island still has not electricity, 28 percent, no access to drinking water. What he says the people of Puerto Rico need most, next.


COOPER: Today the governor of Puerto Rico met with the president at the White House four weeks after Hurricane Maria and more than 28 percent of the island has no drinking water. More than 78 percent still has no electricity.

Today, a reporter asked the president how he thinks it's going.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Between 1 and 10 how would you grade the White House response so far to the hurricane?

TRUMP: I would say it's a 10. I give ourselves a 10. I would give a 10.


COOPER: Well, just before air I spoke with the governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rossello.


COOPER: So governor, the president gives the federal response in Puerto Rico a 10. Would you give him that?

GOV. RICARDO ROSSELLO, PUERTO RICO: Well, you know, the president has responded to all of our requests, certainly the men and women in uniform and a lot of people have been helping. But as I stated today, there's a lot to still be done and we were glad to have the meetings today in the White House and in Congress to get that full long-term support for the people of Puerto Rico. That's the important part right now. This is far from being over, but we are glad to have the White House support of this effort.

[21:50:14] COOPER: You've said that you came here to, "Establish a path forward, to establish a commitment to treat U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico equally." I know when I was there I talked to a number of people who felt like they weren't being treated equally or it was responded to equally in many parts of the island. Do you feel that, do you feel like -- that citizens have been treated equally? ROSSELLO: Well, this is a historical question, right? Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States, and U.S. citizens in the territory don't have the same political power as U.S. citizens in the contiguous states. But certainly there is a lot to do with the logistics of getting support to Puerto Rico. It's been quite a challenge, you know, our ports were closed for a couple of days. Our airports did not come to full effect until just a couple of days ago. So that has limited some of the response, but, really, we have been full hands on deck working with the federal government and the local municipalities to make sure that the people get what they need, recognizing, again, that even though the support is there, even though we're doing everything we can, we still need to augment that effort on behalf of the people of Puerto Rico.

COOPER: A reporter Bill Weir who's on the ground there, seeing a lot of, obviously, continued destruction to rural parts of the island. He spoke to a local FEMA director there who said they don't need more troops or help on the ground. Is that your belief as well? The FEMA director was saying that too many people can create more of a problem.

ROSSELLO: Well, I think we've reached the number that was identified in the onset, you know. We have about 15,000 DOD personnel. They are helping on clearing roads, making logistics, helping on the medical front and delivering supplies to the more vulnerable areas. So we do have the resources in terms of human resources.

Now, we need to continue getting some of the aid in terms of more provisions, water, food, medicine, generators and so forth.

And Anderson, something that is critical from my vantage point, we have to be focusing on getting our energy grid back there -- back up.


ROSSELLO: So I've laid out an aggressive agenda for our power authority for the corps of engineers and for FEMA so that we can achieve a significant amount of growth in terms of the energy access in Puerto Rico.

COOPER: I want to ask you about that because you said the goal is 95 percent of the island power back by December 15th. The CEO of White Fish Energy, the contracting company who work and restored power told Bill Weir that they're going to need a lot more manpower than they currently have today if they want to meet that deadline.

ROSSELLO: Yes. I agree. We certainly our expectation is to have about a 1000 or 1,200 brigades here in Puerto Rico. Right now what -- we had about 231 brigades from the power authority. That number has started growing. We're about 400 right now. We're getting more equipment. We're getting more materials. But if we want to meet those aggressive milestones, we're going to need more support, and that's what we've been asking the corps of engineers.

COOPER: Governor Rossello, thanks so much for your time. I wish you the best.

ROSEELLO: Thank you, Anderson.


COOPER: And we'll be right back with tonight's "Ridiculist".


[21:57:21] COOPER: Time now for "The Ridiculist". And tonight we're briefly delving back into the horrific Harvey Weinstein story. The Hollywood producer accused of multiple allegations of sexual assault and harassment. A United States congresswoman, Democratic Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas has weight in on the matter, saying she's disappointed in Weinstein who supported many Democratic colleagues and she also said this to local T.V. station, NBC DFW.


REP. EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON (D), TEXAS: I grew up in a time when it was as much the woman's responsibility as the man, how you are dressed, what your behavior was. So I'm from the old school.


COOPER: Let's just hang on for a moment because that's beyond old school. It's not even prehistoric school. That's before schools were even invented. And there's nowhere to teach people not to say absurd things. She must have misspoken because surely she's not suggesting that sexual assault has anything to do with the way a woman dresses or behaves that's somehow it's woman's responsibility. Surely she's not suggesting that, right?


JOHNSON: You can have behaviors that appear to be inviting. It can be interpreted as such. That's a responsibility, I think, of the female.


COOPER: And I guess that's exactly what she is saying. Now, if a man said this or a Republican congresswoman said this it would probably be getting a lot more attention and for all the people expressing surprise by this sort of thinking, you know who isn't surprised? Women, a lot of women. So at this point I think it's best to just refer to Samantha Bee.


SAMANTHA BEE, COMEDIAN: We women have known men were gross since our sixth grade gym teacher said good job at the end of class and then massaged our shoulders that were somewhat on the front of our bodies and it doesn't get any better in adulthood because sexual harassment is ramp ant in every profession imaginable, medicine, finance, technology, academia, publishing, restaurants. We tried to find one place where women were safe so we Googled sexual harassment Antarctica and we found this article from five (INAUDIBLE) days ago. You can't even go to the most remote part of the planet without some dude swinging his cold, shriveled (INAUDIBLE) your way.


COOPER: As for Representative Johnson, since her initial comments came out she's issued a statement saying in part, "I do not blame the victims of sexual assault for the actions of their assailants. I do acknowledge that my comments regarding behavior and attire come from an old school perspective that has shaped how some of us understand the issue, but that does not detract from the fact that criminals need to be held accountable for their actions." She went on to say that because of the bravery of Harvey Weinstein's accusers we are able to have a public dialogue and we need to support victims.

In that spirit I'd just like to end this keeping the blame where it belongs, not on women who dressed in any way or act in any way, not on women who come forward or those who don't, just where it belongs. That's for watching 360.

Time to turn things over to Don Lemon in "CNN Tonight". --