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Trump Wanted To Investigate Access Hollywood Tape; North Korea Launches Hwasong-15 Missile; President Trump Versus The Truth; President Trump History of Slurs Against People Of Color; Top 10 CNN Heroes. Aired 11:30p-12mn ET
Aired November 28, 2017 - 23:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[23:00:23] DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: This is CNN tonight I'm Don Lemon, it is 11:00 p.m. here on the east coast, and we are live with breaking news for you. The breaking news is about President Trump and his relationship with reality. We're learning tonight that before his inauguration, Donald Trump had already begun raising questions about whether the notorious Access Hollywood tape was a fake. That is according to the New York Times and also reports, Trump told a Republican Senator he wanted an investigation of the recording, even though he publicly admitted it was him on the tape and apologized for it.
But there is more, the Times also reports the President is still pushing his false birther conspiracy theory. Questioning the authenticity of President Barack Obama's birth certificate. Let us go right to CNN political analyst Jonathan martin, he is on the phone, he broke the story for the Times, along with Maggie (inaudible) also joining us now. CNN political commentator David Swerdlick. So much to talk about. Jonathan I need to get to you first. President Trump continues harbor multiple conspiracy theories on everything from that Access Hollywood tape to the former president, his birth certificate, where he was born. So let us start with the tape. After the inauguration, he asked a Republican Senator to investigate the tape. What else are you learning?
JONATHAN MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, that he -- which he is still talking about this, this conversation with the Senator that we report happened in January, but since then, the President has brought up with his advisers in private his doubts about the authenticity of the Access Hollywood tape. It's important to remind our listeners, our viewers that in the hours after the Washington Post broke that story last fall. He confessed it was him and taped a video apology for his language on that tape. This President has a long history throughout his life of basically constructing an alternative reality.
And devising facts that are more reassuring, more comforting. And more convenient. That has not stopped just because he darkened the door of the White House. He is conducting himself in the same way, whether its President Obama's birth certificate, the Access Hollywood tape, the nature of his victory last year or a variety of other issues, he likes to create his own version of reality. Now what's fascinating is that we see some of this on twitter and in
his public comments. But Senators and members of the house to talk to him in private and certainly his advisers, they get even more of this, because in the private environment, he is even less restrained. He is not very restrained right now in public. But he is even less restrained, and he will go there on this issue of the Access Hollywood tape, he will go there when it comes to questioning President Obama's citizenship. Just because he is the President has not changed the fundamental conduct of Donald Trump.
LEMON: Yes. He is who was elected. It's not just the Access Hollywood tape. Let us talk to me more about him questioning the authenticity of President Barack Obama birth certificate. Talk to more about that. What does he think -- I'm sure in private he says a lot more.
MARTIN: Yes, I mean, look, as my source told me, he has a hard time getting over this. President Trump does. He still harbors questions about the fact that President Obama was in deed born in Hawaii. He doesn't want to say this publicly. Because he knows it sounds a little bit fringy. He still isn't totally convinced and he is musing about this in private conversations with lawmakers. Here is the thing, I was in the capitol today for a few hours and he talked to a few members of congress. Publicly, most of them are uneasy about offering their full candid views of this President. You talk to them one on one, they're pretty up front about the fact that they don't take all the President's words to heart.
That they are kind of getting used to how he conducts himself and his disregard for the facts. And that is a remarkable thing for an American President, members of his own Party, in the congress to say. It's where we are. And I'm kind of used to it actually too now, because you talk to members of the congress. And in private, they don't even bother offering a defense of this President. They acknowledge that he says things that are not true. Look at what Bob Corker told us a few months ago in that interview, where he really broke with the President. He said the President tweets things that are not true, you know it, I know it, he knows it, but he still does it. You talk to members of congress privately, they will say more things to you.
LEMON: yes and listen. Also, what Jeff Flake has been saying about the President, and what he will continue to say?
MARTIN: I talked to Flake today, he is been very outspoken about this President. He revealed to me that he is about to start giving a series of speeches on the senate floor about his concern about where American democracy is. His first speech is going to be about, what he views to be the most important issue, and that is the truth and the importance of the truth. He told me tonight. When I talked to him, he said, if we don't have shared facts, it's a threat to democracy. It's not just, this President says things that stretch the truth, there are members of his own party who are deeply concerned that he is doing damage to the fabric of American democracy, and that is an extraordinary thing for them to say.
LEMON: Yes. But yet they won't say it publicly.
Here's what I have to ask you, and one of the main reasons I'm asking you. In are other reasons I'm asking you about this. I'm not sure if you heard the conversation I had just before you, with the military folks. Talking about possibly going to war with North Korea. Do they question this President's grasp for reality? Because that is important for the safety of the country and the world. This is a person who can declare war. Who has the military codes, but is lying and admits that he does, and doesn't have a grasp on reality, that is concerning, that is important, do they voice concern about that?
MARTIN: That is a great question and I think, you know Senator Corker mentioned this to me a few months ago, he is uneasy about it I think what these lawmakers comfort themselves with is the fact they believe a lot of what the President does is mere bluster, he is blowing off steam, he doesn't follow through with his threats. I think they reassure themselves that he is not going to follow through with the comments that he makes, they're merely words. They look at people around the President like John Kelly. And they believe there is some restraint around a President if he does act impulsively, for the most point they've gotten to the point where 11 months into this administration, they just don't believe he is going to follow through with what he says and does. They do discount his public tweets and threats.
LEMON: What was it, the new word of the year was complicit? There's a good reason for that. Jonathan, I want you to stand by, I want to bring in David now. David after the Access Hollywood, by the way, weren't you hear the night that Access Hollywood tape -- were we on the air that night?
DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I was, I was on with you that night.
LEMON: We kept waiting for the apology to come the response of the White House. Let us play it and we will discuss about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I've said and done things I regret. And the words released today on this more than a decade old video are one of them. I said it, I was wrong and I apologize.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: OK. I said it, I was wrong and I apologize. Now I want to send investigators, it's not me, it doesn't sound like me, and it's what?
SWERDLICK: Yes, Don, so what. As you said, that day that that tape came out. My Washington Post colleague reported this story, we were on the air later that night. Waiting for the President to come out and make that statement that you just played. Now that we're a little more than a year later, you probably would expect the President at this point still -- love him or hate him, to not acknowledge the many allegations against him by women who have accuse him of sexual harassment and sexual assault. You wouldn't expect him to acknowledge things that he could be in jeopardy for, you would expect anyone especially the President of the United States to acknowledge a tape that we've all heard with our own ears and for which he already apologized in a videotaped address that you just played. That is the lengths to which President Trump will go to rewrite history on these cases, whether it's on that, whether it's on President Obama's birth certificate, on a whole host of issues as Jonathan reported. It was a great report by Jonathan Maggie by the way as always.
[23:10:28] LEMON: But you just don't expect the President of the United States to lie just as my dad would say, flat foot in your face.
SWERDLICK: Apparently now we do as Jonathan reported and for everyone who reads that story, what I took away from those quotes, from those members of congress who were speaking on background was this idea that they've already priced in that you can only sort of take everything the President says to them in private with a grain of salt, you talk to the President. I'm going by my take from these quotes. You talk to the President, he says something, and some of it is probably not that true. Some of it maybe is true. You move on and work with members of the administration or other members of your party in congress. But not taking the President fully at his word. That is the gift of what some of those folks were telling Jonathan in that story. And I think a year into a four-year term, that is where a lot of people are, it's unfortunate, because we all expect politicians and political operatives to spin, it's another thing, to just flatly go against what people know very well from their own eyes and ears.
LEMON: Listen, I want you to. Remember this -- I want to play this for you. It's a strange press conference the President gave during the campaign. Where he finally walked back from the birtherism. Although it was tepid, he was like - let us take a look at it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Barack Obama was born in the United States, period now we all want to get back to making America strong and great again. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: I just -- as a black person, seeing those people behind him. The people of color -- really? Come on. The former President who he made up those bogus claims about said that all along I can't believe how ridiculous this is. We have better things and much more important things to deal with. It's clear he didn't believe it, he didn't want to say it, and he doesn't believe that now. Or maybe he does, maybe there's some reason he is saying it, he just doesn't like the President who he inherited a great economy from. A great job market from, who he continues to say, you know, the stock markets doing great, doing great for years under Barack Obama. I wonder what he would have said if he inherited from Barack Obama what he inherited from the President before him.
SWERDLICK: There's something particularly loathsome about the way President Trump as a candidate glommed on to the birther movement as a way to crawl his way to the top of the heap in Presidential politics. Leaving that aside for a moment. The President -- part of this is about President Obama, and part of it is about President Trump himself. It's about Obama to the degree as you say, he still feel like he is in competition with President Obama. He brags that the stock market is up 20 percent since he is been President. It was up 150 percent over Obama's eight years and President Trump knows that. I think his behavior suggests that he is in competition with President Obama.
The part of this that is about President Trump. And regardless of President Obama. Is that our Presidents from George Washington to President Obama, you have to have a healthy ego to run for President, to say, I can be the leader of the free world. Most Presidents come to the job with an agenda, and trying to accomplish something for their legacy. For history. With President Trump so far, the ethos that he has demonstrated, he is daily seeking the affirmation of himself. He is often saying behind the scenes, he can't accept the results of the election. Or can't accept President Obama's birth certificate or can't affirm what he said on the Access Hollywood tape. Those things don't re-downed to the image he wants to have.
LEMON: So much more to talk about. Unfortunately I only have so many hours in the day, and so many hours in this broadcast. Thank you, David. Jonathan thank you, appreciate it.
[23:15:05] MARTIN: Thanks Don.
LEMON: I wonder what you're going to be reporting tomorrow, or in the next couple hours. I want to bring in now, a New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristoff who has been standing by patiently here, what do you make of this?
NICHOLAS KRISTOF, NEW YORK TIMES COLUMNIST: You know, Presidents always exaggerate, they spin, but they are always at least tethered to reality. Sometimes with a long tether. President Trump is the first President I've seen who is simply untethered, and he is been this way not only for the last year, but for decades, and I think what is also unusual is typically, when we elect a flawed person, that person grow into the presidency, President Trump has had a remarkable ability to stay absolutely the same as he is always been.
LEMON: You're being kind saying flawed?
KRISTOF: Yes, I am.
LEMON: The thing that people don't want to talk about, this is not rational, this is not sane. This is crazy.
KRISTOF: I think there are two aspects here. One is the degree to which this demeans the U.S., degrades the presidency.
LEMON: It's hard to say something like that, it is hard to call the President a liar. It's hard to question the President's grasp of reality, as a journalist, I feel I have more respect for the office that he holds than he has. And so as a journalist and person who is supposed to call in the question, supposed to hold the President's feet to the fire I feel an obligation to say this is nuts, this is insane.
KRISTOF: I do think we -- I think you're absolutely right. We respect the office by holding the people who hold that office accountable. I think our job as journalists has to be to try to continue that true squatting and this raises obvious questions about what this does to American soft power, to the -- to the role of the presidency, also to the degree to which decisions are made based on facts, as opposed to some sort of alternative reality.
LEMON: This is what the reporter in the piece, Maggie Haberman tweeted. It was one of the rare moments he felt public humiliation in his life, people who know him say he is trying to will it away to some extent when he talks about it. What is going on? Is he gaslighting himself? What is that?
KRISTOF: I really do think there is a continuous pattern here, what he is doing now with that Access Hollywood tape, is exactly the same thing he was doing in the late 1960s, when he was caught denying blacks access to his apartment buildings in New York City. And he absolutely denied what was crystal clear, what was proven in documents. And this has been a continuous pattern throughout his career, a lot of other countries do this too. I spent five years in China, where political leaders routinely -- if they don't like a reality, they just construct an alternative one. And any connection with reality is largely coincidental. I think that is what President Trump is doing. If a situation doesn't work, he invents a new one.
LEMON: We used to have the luxury of saying it happens over there. Now those sort of dictatorial behaviors and is being used on American people.
KRISTOF: And it has a real cost.
LEMON: Speaking of, North Korea, I want to turn to North Korea now, the President is now reacting, and this is the frightening part, North Korea's launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile earlier today. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: As you probably have heard, and some of you have reported a missile was launched a little while ago from North Korea. I will only tell you we will take care of it, we have General Mattis in the room with us. We have had a long discussion on it. It is a situation that we will handle.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: That was toned down, and it should be. There is no rocket man, there is no fire and fury, what is behind that. Do you think he realizes the seriousness of the moment? KRISTOF: I hope so. I think there's a lot of nervousness in congress
and in the Pentagon that there's a growing recognition that our strategy has failed, our strategy had been to get China to apply pressure to North Korea through sanctions to get North Korea to change its behavior, I don't think anybody thinks that is working, it's also clear that our strategic aim was to get denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, is also not feasible. Right now, we have a strategic aim that is not feasible. We have a tactic and policy that is not working, and so there's a lot of anxiety that what's left that President Trump may as he has promised, talk about military options, and Presidents have thought about this since President Nixon in 1969, they've always pulled back, because those options are so awful.
[23:20:33] LEMON: I know you know the power of your words, and I can feel you weighing them every time you come here, I always appreciate your candor, I think when you come on this show, you're always honest, and I think you're even more honest, I really appreciate that.
KRISTOF: Good to be with you, Don.
LEMON: Thank you so much Nic. When we come back, President Trump continuing to push false conspiracy theories from the Access Hollywood tape, to President Obama birth certificate, but does a President really believe all this? Does he expect us to believe it?
[23:25:02] LEMON: Does the President actually believe the words that come out of his own mouth? You have to wonder that in the face - in fact, the President has made over 1600 false or misleading claims since taking the oval office, the oath of office. Which according to the Washington Post, works out to be more than five per day. So does he believe what he is telling us? Is he gaslighting himself? Or is he gaslighting us? That provocative question from Vanity Fair. We are going to dig deeper into that in a moment, but first, here is a refresher for you. Gaslighting according to psychology today happens when a person in order to gain more power causes a victim to question reality. That could certainly apply to the President, who regularly denies the things that we all know to be true. Things we have seen with our own eyes and heard with our own ears. For example, we all remember when Donald Trump was caught on tape saying this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I'm automatically attracted to beautiful -- I start kissing them, it's like a magnet. And when you're a star, they let you do it, anything you want.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whatever you want.
TRUMP: They let you do it? You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy. I can do anything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: But tonight the New York Times before his inauguration, Trump told a Republican Senator, he wanted to investigate that recording, even though he himself admitted he said those words and apologized for saying them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I said it, I was wrong. And I apologize.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So which is it, Mr. President, should we believe your apology then or your apparent denial now?
I want to bring in Tina Nguyen who wrote that article for Vanity Fair that I mentioned, it is for Vanity Fair's the hive. And CNN contributor Michael D'Antonio, the author of Truth about Trump and Julia Yaffe who is a staff writer for the Atlantic. So good to have all you on. Thank you very much. Tina, I will start with you, because you wrote a great piece in Vanity Fair about whether the president Is gaslighting himself and you write, when Donald Trump tells a half truth or all out lie, he does so with assurance that it is often impossible to tell whether the President is deliberately disassembling, creating more comforting fictions for himself or simply confuse, give us some of those examples?
TINA NGUYEN, STAFF REPORTER, THE HIVE/VANITY FAIR: The one that comes to mind is the feud he had with Jeff Flake who delivered a blistering indictment of him when he announced his retirement. When asked to respond, the president said, I don't know who Jeff Flake is, he is never met me. But Jeff Flake and Trump had me months before he was even elected. I could go on and on and on.
LEMON: GOP tax cut, you said there is one?
NGUYEN: Yes, the GOP tax cuts when he claims he is not going to get any sort of benefit from the tax cut, which is pretty incorrect honestly, the entire history of covering Donald Trump during his election has been what he is saying matching up with the truth.
LEMON: What about the fake Renoir painting?
NGUYEN: The fake Renoir painting, he has a Renoir in his house that he insists is real. Even though the actual Renoir is hanging up in Chicago state for art. That is been debunked for a long time. But he still insists he has the real one.
LEMON: And this is something Michael D'Antonio that New Yorkers have known for a long time. And we had been talking about this New York Time reporting President Trump continues to insist the voice on the Access Hollywood tape isn't him. And he is questioning the authenticity of Barack Obama's birth certificate behind closed doors. He also claims he lost the popular vote because of widespread voter fraud. Does he possibly believe these things?
MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think it's something that he decides on a moment by moment basis. So his pattern is to establish many different claims about the same thing. So he could at one moment say that President Obama was not born in the United States. Then he could say I'm sending detectives to Honolulu to investigate, and then say oh, they're finding amazing things, and none of those things are true. But it's a great story to tell that he can fall back on, and then I think he really does imagine that we're all buying this. That we only are aware of what he is saying in the moment. It's almost as if he is living out he declared would be his life. When he was much younger he said his life is a comic book, and he is the star of it. The show is Trump and it's sold out every night. He orchestrate his life as if it's a dramatic performance. And we're the audience and the people around him are props. Reality just depends on what the show is that moment. And if it needs to change, he changes it.
LEMON: I see Julia you're nodding in agreement, because this is all part of bigger picture issue that President Trump has with the truth. You wrote a great piece for the Atlantic about the President manipulating the media in a Putin-esque way and you say after years of out crying bad person or kremlin, every time they a Russian journalist met a grizzly end, Putin figured out a better way to keep the press in line. Economics, explain how President Trump is doing the same thing.
JULIA IOFFE, STAFF WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: We've seen reports. It's weird I'm saying this on CNN. We've seen reports that one of the reasons that the Time Warner-AT&T merger was blocked by the Trump Justice Department was CNN's coverage. And CNN has been a constant punching bag for this President. He calls it fake news. He is at times literally like to tweet about punching CNN. This is the tactic the kremlin has figured out. They don't kill journalists any more, they don't arrest them, they don't pick them up anymore they just lean on the big company on the oligarch or the big holding company that owns as one of its many, many assets a CNN or a Bloomberg or whatever publication, or an advertiser who among many other things, advertises in some magazine that is critical of a Vladimir Putin, behind the scenes they lean on them.
They don't want to risk their big business empire. They stop advertising or sell off the media property, and journalist get laid off, they leave journalism because they have families to support. The reason independent media died in Russia is because all the outlets were shut down for economic reasons. The kremlin has perfect plausible deniability. They can say, we had nothing to do with it. If the advertisers don't want to advertise with you, you don't have an economically feasible model, it has nothing to do with Putin. Where it does.
LEMON: Well it is a fascinating conversation, I wish we had more time. I appreciate all of you joining me here this evening. Michael, Julia and Tina, thank you so much.
When we come back, the President told me that he is the least racist person. Just because you say it, doesn't make it so. We're going to dive deep into President Trump's history of racially insensitive statements next.
[23:36:58] LEMON: Tonight the President still questioning the authenticity of the former President's birth certificate, that is according to a new report from The New York Times why would he revive this false conspiracy theory that the first African-American President was not born in the United States. Perhaps the same reason he called Senator Elizabeth Warren Pocahontas in an event honoring Native American War heroes yesterday. Tome Foreman has more on the President's history of attacking people of color. Tom?
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi Don. Some of President Trump recent statements give ammunition to those who believe he routinely says things to at the very least encourage racist viewpoints. Donald Trump's digs at Elizabeth Warren over her claimed of Native American heritage were sure applause lines on the campaign trail.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And Pocahontas is not happy. She is the worst.
FOREMAN: But when the insult was repeated in front of Navajo code talkers, World War II heroes.
TRUMP: They call her Pocahontas.
FOREMAN: Only silence followed. The Democratic Senator called it a racial slur. But Sara Sanders defended her boss.
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think that is a ridiculous response.
FOREMAN: But it's far from the only time the President has crossed racially sensitive lines. When a white supremacist rally in Virginia ended in bloodshed. He suggested the counter protesters also bore blame while defending those marching with white supremacy.
TRUMP: You had some very bad people in that group, you also had people that were very fine people on both sides.
FOREMAN: As the NFL players protest against police treatment of African-Americans evolved. He was quick to demand their firing, tweeting about it numerous times, including this morning. The American public is fed up with the disrespect the NFL is paying to our country. Out of control.
He is as President who he was as a candidate.
TRUMP: Look at my African American over here. Look at him.
FOREMAN: While he bragged about support among minorities, he built his base by demonizing them. Immigrants from Mexico.
TRUMP: They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime. They're rapists and some I assume are good people.
FOREMAN: An American Judge Trump argued was biased against him.
TRUMP: He is of Mexican heritage and his very proud of it. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have sacrificed nothing. And no one.
FOREMAN: The Muslim mother of an American soldier killed in combat after her husband spoke against Trump during the Democratic convention.
TRUMP: She was standing there, she had nothing to say, she probably -- maybe she wasn't allowed to have anything to say, you tell me.
FOREMAN: He relentlessly and falsely suggested the nation's first black President Barack Obama was not a natural born citizen.
TRUMP: If he wasn't born in this country, he has pulled one of the great cons in the history of politics.
FOREMAN: And long after evidence proved five young men and all minorities had been wrongfully convicted for a savage rape in central park in the 1980s.
[23:40:00] Trump refused to believe it saying that fact of that case was settled with so much evidence against them is outrageous. Still in characteristic fashion Trump has continually and emphatically defended himself against charges of prejudice.
TRUMP: I am the least racist person.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you bigoted in anyway?
TRUMP: I don't think so, no.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Islamophobic?
TRUMP: No, not at all.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When people say you're racist or homophobic or Islamophobic or whatever it is. That has to bother you or compare you to Hitler. Does that bother you?
TRUMP: If things are true, it would bother me tremendously.
FOREMAN: To be sure the President almost always doubles down on his remarks and his defenders deny any racist intent. Those denials are less and less convincing as more examples pile up, Don.
LEMON: Tom thank you so much. When we come back, is there a deeper political motive behind the President's statements, or does he actually believe all of this?
[23:45:26] LEMON: President Trump has repeatedly made racially insensitive remarks about African-Americans, Mexicans, and Muslims. The latest slur against Native Americans, here's what he said in the middle of an event honoring Navajo veterans yesterday. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You were here long before any of us were here. Although we have a representative in congress who they say was here a long time ago. They call her Pocahontas.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: There was silence after that comment. Because everyone in the room knew he was using a racial slur directed at Senator Elizabeth Warren. Joining me now, CNN political commentator Bakari Sellers and Ed Martin. Tara Setmayer former communications director for Republican congresswoman Dana Rohrabacher. Good evening everyone, here we are Bakari, I want to read this is from Maggie Haberman. This is from The New York Times. It says, in recent months, they say Mr. Trump has used closed door conversations to question the authenticity of President Barack Obama's birth certificate, he claims he lost the popular vote last year, because of widespread voter fraud. One Senator who listened as the President revived his doubts about Mr. Obama birth certificate chuckled on Tuesday as he recalled the conversation. The President has had a hard time letting go of his claim that Mr. Obama was not born in the United States. The Senator ask not to be named to discuss private conversations.
His political career began with birtherism, Bakari this was a conspiracy theory he harbored. Why can't he let this go?
BAKARI SELLERS, FORMER HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: Maybe because that is who he is. I don't think this is anything new about his character, you can go back to Atlantic City, can you go back to the central park five, housing discrimination, his comments about Muslim Americans, about Mexican Americans, Judge Curial, and we can talk about the usage of Pocahontas under the portrait of Andrew Jackson. At a memorial where we remembered some World War II veterans. You can go through this litany of things. The problem we have is twofold, people are becoming desensitized when he makes racially insensitive, some people would call them racist comments, but two, you have good people who are willing to set aside that and still support him anyway. So those two groups of individuals, the ones who are desensitized to this, and the ones who are putting this aside and supporting him anyway. Are a bigger problem than Donald Trump in my opinion?
LEMON: Tara, what do you think?
TARA SETMAYER FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR CONGRESSMAN DANA ROHRABACHER: I happen to agree with Bakari on that. The excuse of this is just who he is, many of us warned the American people that this is who he is they cast that aside, and didn't care and voted for him anyway, allowing someone like Donald Trump to - this is what it is, just because you can explain it, doesn't mean you should excuse it. That is what people who supported Donald Trump are continuing to do now when he continually lies and behaves in a way that is existential threat to our Republic, our norms and ideals and institutions, every single day, something else comes out that demonstrates the threat he poses.
LEMON: But it is sour grapes, because he won.
SETMAYER: No, it's not sour grapes, pointing out what's happening, the reality in front of us is not sour grapes, those of us are concerned with, how do we move forward? How do we protect the country from this, you cannot have a functioning government, when the President of the United States behaves this way.
LEMON: And I mean, he knows the comments offend people, but he doesn't want -- he says that -- he doesn't want to stop insulting people. Why does he keep saying then?
ED MARTIN, AUTHOR, THE CONSERVATIVE CASE FOR TRUMP: I mean, two quick comments, guys, I know we're talking about some of these comments and I hear them. Donald Trump's political career, if you look back over 25, 30 years, he is been talking about immigration and China, and other issues, in addition to some of these comments you brought up. I watched your show, I watch your show with some devotion. And I'm on frequently, when I watch The New York Times reporter report a series of anonymous sources, the main one is a Senator who made comments before the inauguration about the President's state of mind regarding the Access Hollywood. There's a reason out here in America we look the New York Times and say, this people are out of touch with what the news is.
[23:50:-7] I mean Maggie has been on day after day now about anonymous sources about the state of mind, about what the president believes in Access Hollywood, when Huckabee-Sanders gets out and says he hasn't changed his mind, he holds the same position, so we are listening to unanimous sources and honestly.
LEMON: You realize these are the same reporters the President calls frequently whenever he wants to get his message out.
SETMAYER: And she is so discrete why did the President call her?
LEMON: even with all of that you still didn't answer the question, I ask the question was why does he continue to do it when he knows it's an insult?
MARTIN: About Pocahontas you mean?
LEMON: Why does he continue to insult even beyond Pocahontas?
MARTIN: I don't think it's a racial slur in anyway. And if you call someone who isn't a native-American Pocahontas I think that isn't a slur. If you mocked someone who claims that she was Native American when she wasn't, that is called making fun of someone, not a racial slur.
LEMON: We don't know that she is.
MARTIN: She is already admitted --
SETMAYER: Regardless it's not the forum. It's inappropriate.
SELLERS: Does anybody realize Pocahontas was a real person? She is associated with James Town in 1613. She was actually kidnapped by white colonists.
LEMON: And died of a horrible disease.
SELLERS: And died of a horrible disease. There is nothing about that story -- there is nothing about that story that you should actually use that. Let me help you understand this. This is like you calling me JJ. Or even more importantly you calling me Leroy. It's the same thing.
MARTIN: No, it's not.
LEMON: I got to say this, because I am out of time. Disney made a movie about Pocahontas and the movies with to honor Pocahontas not to make fun of her.
SELLERS: And it's a real story.
MARTIN: So it is not a slur.
[23:56:38] LEMON: It's giving Tuesday, and we want to show you how you can help our 2017 top ten CNN heroes continue their important work. Here's Anderson Cooper to tell you more.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HEROES: I'm Anderson Cooper. Each of this year's top ten CNN heroes proves that one person really can make a difference. And this year we're making it easy for you to support their great work. Just go to CNN heroes.com and click donate to any 2017 top ten CNN hero to make a direct contribution to that hero's fund-raiser. You'll receive an e-mail confirming your donation, tax deductible in the United States. No matter the amount you can make a big difference helping our heroes continue their life changing work. CNN is proud to offer you this simple way to support each cause and celebrate all these everyday people changing the world, you can donate from your laptop, tablet or your phone. Just go to CNNheroes.com. Your donation in any amount will help them help others. Thanks.
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LEMON: And of course all our top ten CNN heroes will be honored at the 11th annual CNN hero's all-star tribute which is hosted by Anderson with special guest Kelly Ripley live this Sunday, December 17. Make sure you tune in to be inspired. That is it for us tonight. Thanks for watching, I'll see you right back here tomorrow.