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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  September 28, 2017 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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ert. test. in happening now, no power, no running water, puerto rico is struggling a week after hurricane maria laid waste to the u.s. territory. with more than two dozen hospitals still inoperable, is the humanitarian crisis about to get much worse? many communities remain cut off to the relief supplies that are reaching the island. i'll talk to president trump's homeland security adviser at this hour about the government's response. delete your account. twitter officials talked to congressional investigators about russian election meddling, revealing they closed some 200 accounts that stoked hot button issues like race and immigration and pushed anti-hillary clinton stories. why is one top senator calling
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twitter's story disappointing. and grounded. tom price is facing growing heat over his use of private planes. the white house won't say if trump has confidence in price and some advisers are encouraging president trump to fire him. is price's job on the line? we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." this is cnn breaking news. >> we're following breaking news. the crisis engulfing puerto rico in the wake of hurricane maria. a week after the disaster, the federal government is cutting red tape and appointing a three-star u.s. army general to oversee the effort. but health officials on the island are warning the situation could get much worse in the coming days with more than two dozen hospitals inoperable
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tonight and others struggling with shortages of fuel for their generators. puerto rico's governor now says at least 16 people have died as a result of the hurricane. also breaking tonight, sources are telling cnn that some of president trump's advisers are urging him to fire health secretary tom price over his use of private jets. the white house won't say whether the president has confidence in price and one republican senator tells us the president is, quote, mad as hell at his health secretary who's now offering to reimburse taxpayers. we're covering all of that and much more at this hour with our guest, including congressman will herd and president trump's homeland security adviser tom bossert. he'll join us live as well. our correspondents and specialists are also standing by. let's begin in the puerto rican capital. our chief medical correspondent dr. sanjay gupta is there for us. sanjay, the medical situation on the island appears to be right
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now critical. >> reporter: no question about it, wolf. we're here in san juan right now. this is one of the largest hospitals on the island behind me and you're seeing signs of life but it's a very different story when you get a little bit outside of san juan, if you get to the other side of the island. people have been going without for some time and they have been stuck up in these shelters and their homes, as we found out. take a look. this is 62-year-old's reality. look at what happened to us, she pleas. no one has taken care of us. she's been in a shelter an hour outside of san juan but may as well be in a shelter thousands of miles away. she's become very sick. >> we have no hospital to take her to because all of the
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emergencies are closed because they have no electricity and we have no place to take her. she's getting more complicated. >> reporter: this doctor, a volunteer at the shelter, has tried everything to get alvarez to a hospital. >> the ambulance we saw just left. >> yeah, because they have no authorization from their bosses to get -- >> reporter: that seems ridiculous. >> tell me about it. >> reporter: we're in the middle of a disaster, in a crisis, and you're waiting for paperwork? >> yeah. >> reporter: this is a very treatable problem under any circumstances. >> probably a few hours of iv antibiotics and she can go home. >> reporter: what happens if she doesn't get this? >> she may get an infection to the blood and sepsis. >> reporter: there's no communication anywhere here so we give her a satellite phone to try and call for help port
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reek's secretary of help fipndsa hospital for alvarez but then the same problem, how to get her there. i'm a doctor. we can take the patient ourselves. time is of the essence here. >> he already accepted the patient, so she -- [ speaking in foreign language ] >> reporter: i can't even believe what is happening here. there's no power, there's no water. she's a diabetic, she doesn't have insulin. she has an infection that can threaten her life. no ambulance will take her to the hospital cht that's what's happening here. [ crying ] >> reporter: it's okay. i'm here. >> she wants to sit. [ speaking in foreign language ]
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>> reporter: wheelchair, please. there's nothing about this that makes sense. we're transporting a patient. this is not an ambulance but it's the only thing that we really have right now to get her to the care that she needs. her husband does his best to comfort her. there are probably thousands of patients in similar shelters, no power, no water, no medication, no way out. thousands more are probably in their homes that haven't been able to get to a shelter. she is one example of what is happening here. we're trying to get her into the triage area. >> one more. one, two -- >> reporter: i can tell you, wolf, i just checked on her a while ago. she's in this sent behind me. she's going to have surgery. they are going to take her to
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the operating room to try and address what's been causing her infection. but again, wolf, you and i talked about this earlier. there are lots of people out there that have not made their way to hospitals yet. they are in shelters, in their homes, it's why the numbers are likely to increase. it's why you're hearing from so many people that the humanitarian crisis, this needless debts, preventible deaths are likely to occur. someone like josephina, we were able to help but she's emblematic of thousands more. >> if they don't get the medication within a few days, unfortunatelily, these people are going to die. >> reporter: this is the definition of humanitarian crisis. it's a loose definition but i think it's an important one. these are not people necessarily
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injured by the hurricane. they did the right thing. they actually evacuated, went to a shelter ahead of time and they have been without power, without water. again, with the insulin not being available to her, these are significant problems. you take a very treatable situation and turn it into something potentially deadly. again, i was surprised, i went to the hospitals and was surprised not to see as many patients as i thought we were going to see because they haven't arrived there yet. so this is not done, by any means. you're going to hear these situations where hospitals are starting to get up and running and all of that. that is great. it's good news. the more important thing is to get the patients to the hospitals, to those clinics. right now, they haven't been able to go. josephina would not be able to get there. >> thankfully you were there to help this woman.
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very quickly, sanjay, every time we see one of these hurricane-ravaged areas, whether texas, florida, other caribbean islands, our correspondents show up equipped with these satellite phones. we just saw your satellite phone. are federal officials showing up, whether u.s. military personnel, fema officials, are they showing up with satellite phones to help these puerto ricans right now, all u.s. citizens communicate and tell their loved ones they're okay? >> reporter: well, i could tell you from my vantage point, wolf, we were with a doctor who's responsible for taking care of lots of people and she had no way of communicating. so if the satellite phones here -- she's someone who should have one, clearly. her job demands one, especially under the current situation, she doesn't have one. so i can't speak for the whole island but i think there's a theme here and that is that there's a lot of things that are necessary already on the island,
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antibiotics, pain medications, satellite phones. the problem is getting those items from point a to point b. they haven't been getting there and, as a result, this doctor, very frustrated, as you might imagine, has gone without. >> our chief medical correspondent dr. sanjay gupta, thank you so much for that report. a powerful report, indeed. i want to quickly go to cnn's boris sanchez who is also in puerto rico for us tonight. boris, as we know, the water, the food, the fuel all remain in very short supply right now. the white house says the government is stepping up the relief efforts. you're there at the port. what are you seeing? >> reporter: hey there, wolf. yeah, we're hearing today that announcement that a three-star general, lieutenant general jeffrey buchanan would be taking over the military response to the recovery effort here in puerto rico. we're also hearing from fema officials saying that they've provided more than a million
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meals to families here in puerto rico. the director of fema telling cnn that they've been embedded with the department of defense to coordinate the relief effort despite that. in a community i was in in the outskirts of san juan, people were asking us, where is fema, where is the relief aid? i spoke to several parents who spent hours in line, some of them since midnight, hoping to get some ice and they had to wait until 9:00 a.m. this morning to find out that there wasn't enough fuel at the ice plant to create the ice. it was the fifth day in a row that they've been waiting in line. their frustration has a lot to do with what's going on here at the port. there are some 10,000 containers, officials tell us, with supplies, things that would be going to grocery stores and eventually the tables of puerto ricans being held up because of logistical bottlenecks. the vice president of crowley's operations here in puerto rico, the business that manages these
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shipping containers that are stuck here at the port, tell us that these tanks are filled with water, with food, medication, things that people need and he says they can't get there because they don't have enough truckers available to take these goods in to where they are needed in part because they also don't have enough gas. there's a shortage of cash. there are layers and layers of issues preventing local people here from getting these resources to where they need to go. i want to point out, wolf, as a fema official pointed out earlier today, none of the trailers here are actually fema aid. these are commercial products that would otherwise be on store shelves. they made it very clear to us that there are no fema tanks like these that are held up anywhere in puerto rico, whether the port or airport, wolf. >> boris sanchez, thank you. we'll get back to you. i want to bring in republican
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congressman will herd of texas, a member of the homeland security committees. congressman, let me get your reaction to the statement from the acting homeland acting security elaine duke. listen to what she said earlier today. >> i am very satisfied. i know it's a hard storm to recover from but the amount of progress that's been made and i really would appreciate any support that we get. i know it is really a good news story in terms of our ability to reach people and the limited number of deaths that have taken place in such a devastating hurricane. >> do you agree with her assessment, congressman, that this is a, quote, good news story? >> well, it's unfortunate that there are so many puerto ricans that don't have access to electricity or food. you know, the hardships that they are having to go through, the fact that many of them lost
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their worldly possessions and the island is pretty devastated. this really, really is unfortunate. but having seen the men and women in fema work in harvey and hearing about what they were doing in irma, i know they're doing everything they can to provide the aid that -- to our fellow citizens in puerto rico. this is a situation where in harvey or irma you had a lot of private and philanthropic support to those regions and it's a little harder to get to to puerto rico right now, especially because of the situation at the airports and it's a lot harder than normal. we have private citizens to restore the power grid. you have privately owned and public utilities sending people there to try to restore that power, which is so important to all of them. and i think with the
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establishment of the three star going down there to make sure supplies and support can get to the right places, they are probably going to need air lift to move around the island in a quick and judicious way. >> congressman, shouldn't the u.s. military have been deployed a whole lot sooner with thousands and thousands of troops and a u.s. general put in charge not a week later but right away? >> well, the way that situations like this are supposed to unfold and the way we've seen this happen since katrina, the coordination between the federal, state and local officials, it is the emergency coordinators usually the equivalent of accounting or a mayor that is helping and responsible for redeploying assets. when you look at what happened in harvey, my home town of san antonio was a predeployment stage of fellow police officers, ambulances from other cities and
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so this is the way that process should go and i think after this is all over and we get people well their lights turned back on and food on their tables and making sure that people are in hospitals, there's going to be a review or should be a review of how to make sure something like this doesn't happen again. >> a lot of people are pointing out there was one standard for texas, your state for florida, a different standard for puerto rico even though the 3 million people who live on that u.s. territory are u.s. citizens. do you agree with that? >> a different standard according to what? >> of getting supplies there, food, water, power, u.s. military personnel. having everything ready to go to save people's lives. >> i think fema's performance and their prepositioning has been there. i can't disagree that the
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outcomes have been different, but i don't know if that can be squarely on the shoulders of fema. >> but some of that report from dr. sanjay gupta, that hospital director didn't even have a satellite phone to talk about patients who were critically ill and trying to get some assistance. at cnn, we had to help that woman get to the hospital. you saw that. >> thank god dr. gupta was there to help out. i think that's something that you've seen in houston and florida as well where you have private citizens, businesses helping people out and providing that helping hand. so i think that is one of the things that you see people responding to in these kinds of crises. i'm glad he was there to help this family out. >> congressman will hurd of texas, thank you for joining us. >> thank you. the white house defending the government's hurricane
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response but critics say so far it's been too little, too slow. i'll talk to president trump's white house homeland security adviser tom bossert. he's standing by live. and health secretary tom price says he will reimburse taxpayers for the private jets he chartered. is it enough, though, to save his job? i count on my dell small business advisor
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braking news at this hour, the federal government is stepping up its response to the hurricane disaster but half of
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the island has no drinking water and virtually all of it is without power. let's go to tom bossert who is joining us right now. tom, thanks very much for joining us. and i quickly want to get your reaction because it's caused such a stir. the acting homeland security secretary elaine duke, she said the response to the puerto rico catastrophe in her words was a good news story. i want you to hear this and i want you to explain. >> i am very satisfied. i know it's a hard storm to recover from but the amount of progress that's been made and i really would appreciate any support that we get. i know it is really a good news story in terms of our ability to reach people and the limited number of deaths that have taken place in such a devastating hurricane. >> do you share her optimistic take on this process? >> i think secretary duke there is so proud of all of the men
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and women she's deploying to the island, how hard they are working, she's seeing that every day so perhaps that's coming across to those on the island as so much somehow out of touch but i can assure you that she know what is is going on and was really making a reference to the hard herculean effort that you see being mobilized. i think there's another component to this and that's this notion of volunteerism. so the good news story is the goodness of human beings. >> that's obviously good news. i spoke to the congresswoman from puerto rico, congresswoman gonzales and she totally disagrees with the acting secretary of homeland security. she doesn't see anything good going on right now because people are dying and more potentially could die if they don't get dialysis or oxygen or medication and people outside of san juan are, as you well know, better than anyone, are having
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enormous problems right now. >> yeah. i completely agree. wolf, the difference here is to make sure we focus on the people. president trump's been focusing on people and not paperwork and process. what elaine said earlier today was a reflection of her pride and workforce. i think what jennifer gonzalez is saying is the ultimate and good point. the congresswoman is providing great leadership and was here getting to the bottom of the relief effort, meeting with me and the vice president. she's providing the kind of leadership support that she needs to provide and identifying the travesty of an island-based insular response effort. there's a sea that divides us into helping americans that are in an insular part of an island. >> she was choking back tears, congresswoman gonzalez, when i spoke with her an hour ago. she hasn't been able to speak with her grandparents, her
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cousins on the island. if it's okay with you, i want to bring in our own dr. sanjay gupta. he's got a question for you, tom. go ahead. >> reporter: i'm just curious, what we're seeing here is a lot of the supplies that wolf's talking about that have arrived on the island, medications, antibiotics, pain medications, oxygen, sat phones to help people communicate. but just going a little bit outside of san juan and there's been no response there. just an hour outside of san juan, there's been no response. i didn't see it but then asked the people on the ground, what have you seen. doctors have been unable to communicate. they have no sat phones, no access to medications in these places. their hospitals are listed as up and running but are unable to take patients. even after you get stuff to the island, what is the plan, sir,
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to get that important life-saving stuff to people who need it. >> thank you, doctor. i'm glad you're down there with your expertise. three answers to that question. the first, in reverse order, is the plan. the logistics plan starts with a prioritization of goods and commodities. there was a misunderstanding about which commodities were moving, who owned them, whether they were fema commodities or others so a lot of goodness coming forward with people pushing commodities there, both government and ngos but what fema and the local officials have to do is use the military presence that's there's now to augment the diminished capacity because they're victims of the local authorities and state authorities to push that food, water first and medicines. that's the priority system and what we're doing is focusing on the hospitals but also then trying to take care of the shelters and the common aggregation points for human beings. it's my understanding, though, to the second half of your question, before hospitals
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reopen, they have to meet see, treat and admit. you have to be able to see them, treat them and admit them and that has to do with maintaining your emergency power and that's fuel. is that what you're seeing there? >> reporter: well, we're seeing diesel fuel being promised for a few hours at a time as opposed to anything that's going to be more sustainable for them. and as you might imagine, it's very hard to run a hospital that way. it's hard to take care of patients if you say, we have six hours of fuel left. we're not sure if we'll get more fuel after that. this is not a question but something i've seen here on the ground, there's a woman today who clearly need to be hospitalized from a shelter. we spent a good chunk of the day trying to find a hospital. we hear from federal governments that there's 44 hospitals up and running. not a single one would take her. she arrived here at the disaster response team which is taking good care of her but she's
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emblematic of so many thousands of others. i implore you, because we're just now seeing people coming out of shelters and their homes. it's going to happen over the next several weeks and that care has to be there and those hospitals have to be able to do those three things you mentioned. >> that's right. so the latest numbers, sanjay, are 51 of the island's of 9 hospitals have met that standard. we're operating on a 12-hour operation cycle in terms of running a hospital. that's no way to run a real hospital or island or territory. but we have to triage patients and logistical needs and prioritize their delivery so we can make sure we sustain lives in an achievable bite-size way. that's what we're being told and how the army corps and united states national guard are helping us deliver goods to the island. it's critical to maintaining
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refrigeration and other things to maintain fragile and perishable medicine. i hope the lady that you're referring to is okay and i hope the triage was not performed poorly. >> she's in surgery, we're told, by dr. gupta right now. i don't know if you know this, but sanjay had to give his sat phone to a doctor running a hospital. why can't fema deliver sat phones so people at least can talk to each other, find out if their loved ones are okay. shouldn't that be a high priority? >> yep. communications are a very high priority, wolf. obviously not as high as diesel fuel and emergency power. there have been satellite phones being provided and they go out to those that are in an emergency management role first. that's a good idea. it's kind of putting your oxygen mask on before you put it on those around you and then separately the issue of early this morning around 1:00 a.m., one of the tower providers of
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the satellite service went down for a number of hours and we had to push that signal out into venezuela. these are all of the challenges and problems that you run into as you try to address an insular island response effort of this magnitude. >> sanjay has another question for you. go ahead. actually, we lost that satellite feed with dr. gupta. we'll try to reconnect with him. according to fema, at least earlier in the day, 47 of the 6 the hospitals in puerto rico are now up and running. many of those aren't necessarily running at full capacity, right? >> yeah, that's correct. now it's 51. what happens is the department of defense either through ground transportation or rotary lift capacity take through helicopters the hhs staff deployed to the island, to each hospital, they assess it and determine whether they can see, treat and admit patients and that generally focuses first on
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their ability to provide and sustain emergency power, whether they have diesel fuel and that's not necessarily an ideal condition but they have to have the doctors, the staffing and the medicine to meet those standards, 51 of the 69 are in that condition. what we do for the critical patients is help air lift them to better definitive care options as necessary. >> good luck to you and all of the men and women of fema, of the u.s. military. there's an enormous challenge ahead for everyone and we wish the people of puerto rico only the best. thanks so much for all your help. >> thank you, wolf, very much. >> tom bossert, homeland security adviser. just ahead, the health and human services secretary tom price under fire for now for his use of charter planes. he says he'll write a personal check to the u.s. treasury. but is he short-changing the u.s. secretary? ♪ can i kick it? ♪ yes you can ♪ well i'm gone
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colleagues are seeing on the ground in puerto rico. now, we often hear from the president when he has good news to talk about. we did not see the president one time in public today. as his administration pushes back forcefully that this response has been far too slow. the white house is scrambling tonight amid rising criticism of a sluggish response to storm-ravaged puerto rico. >> i don't know what the hell's going on back there. >> reporter: russell honore told wolf the government's actions in puerto rico have been too slow. >> they have been slow to deploy the military. it took us seven days to appoint a brigadier general and another 24 hours for them to make a decision at the pentagon and a three-star general. >> reporter: former senator marco rubio who visited puerto rico this week said the military response was over due. >> the supply chain, the logistical response on the island is broken because of the storm and other challenges and it needs to be restored. >> reporter: at the white house, the president did not talk about
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puerto rico today and had no events on his public schedule but reversed course today, easing shipping regulations in hope of getting more aid to puerto rico, a day after saying there was no need to lift the rule known as the jones act which prohibits foreign ships from delivering to american ports. the president's advisers appear to struggle with the magnitude of the crisis. when asked by kate bolduan if he's satisfied -- >> no, i am not satisfied. that's why we work day in and day out, hour after hour, to try to alleviate the situation as best as we can. >> reporter: an entirely different answer from the department of homeland security. >> i am very satisfied. i know it is really a good news story in terms of our ability to reach people and the limited number of deaths that have taken place in such a devastating hurricane. >> reporter: all this as the
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administration starts selling the president's tax cut proposal. gary cohn defended the plan pushing back against suggestions it would benefit wealthy americans more than the middle class. >> if we allow a family to keep another $1,000 of their income, what does that mean, they can renovate their kitchen and buy a new car, they can take a family vacation. they can increase their lifestyle. >> reporter: now wolf , there ws discussion about the tax cut proposal and will take weeks and even months. tom bossert told us earlier today he thought it would come in two to four weeks. this complicates everything congress is doing here and to add on top of this, the president is planning next week to san juan to inspect the damage himself. >> yeah, he's supposed to go on tuesday. jeff zeleny at the white house, thank you very much. everyone, stand by, we have plenty to discuss right after a
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we're back with our political specialist. we're getting mixed messages from the trump administration. the fema director says he won't be satisfied until the situation is stabilized. the acting homeland security adviser says she's very satisfied and called this a good
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news story. what do you make of that? >> well, in some ways, what the acting director of dhs is saying is what the president has said as well. he feels like he's getting good reviews on this. very different from what we're hearing on the ground from our reporter who is are there and different from the governor of mexico and the mayor of san juan about this absolutely catastrophic situation that was going on on the ground there. lack of fuel and water and power. you had tom bossert on earlier who is an adviser to the president on dhs matters and there is not a sense of urgency from him either. he seems to be sort of low energy, to borrow a phrase from donald trump. that's why there is a mismatch between the way the administration is responding to this and some of the real horror stories that we're hearing on the ground from puerto rico. >> david, these are american citizens. >> yes. >> u.s. territory in puerto rico. is the president treating them
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the same way he treated the american citizens of texas and florida when they had to deal with the horrible hurricane? >> i don't think so. i think outwardly at least in the last 24 hours, the administration seems to be taking this with maximum seriousness but for the first few days after maria, no, they weren't. the president was distracted, wolf. and part of the problem -- and i want to be clear to the people watching -- this is not an excuse. there is no excuse. part of the problem is, he's never been an elected official before and it's getting their hands around the idea that this is the job. you don't get to just respond to the first hurricane. you have to respond to all hurricanes. >> rebecca, was the president distracted? >> clearly this is not the only thing that the president has been focused on and it took the president and administration a few days to get up to speed on this. if you compare -- and this is part of the problem, the response that the white house has had to puerto rico to what happened in florida and texas,
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it's a huge difference. and that's the problem. the president is not only responsible for getting these supplies on the ground, getting help to the people who need it, which is an important component, but he also has to be an emotional leader in a situation like this to comfort those who are suffering, to reassure that help is on the way. we haven't seen that in this case. >> what i don't understand, jeffrey toobin, the president's white house chief of staff, john kelly, former homeland security, retired u.s. general. he understands these kinds of situations. but it's taken until today for a three-star general to be named to take charge over there and save people's lives. >> maybe it's because they didn't care. maybe it's because this wasn't a priority. i mean, what other conclusion can you draw from watching this response? i mean, we know, i think very clearly, the president's position on whether football players should stand during national anthem.
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i think that's been established very clearly. but as for his view of whether these americans in puerto rico should expect any help from the federal government anytime soon, donald trump has been among the missing and he continues to be among the missing because he doesn't like bad news and as far as i can tell, it's mostly bad news. >> he twreeeted today that the e power grid is off line and that's true but i have to say i trust sanjay gupta and our colleagues there with cameras more than the spin coming out of the white house. >> and david, i know you want to comment but thank god dr. gupta is there. >> yes. >> he saved the life of one woman. >> and he's telling us what is going on on the ground there. people don't have sat phones so they can't communicate and doctors who should be able to communicate and have the
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necessary supplies and generators, they don't have that. >> very quickly, david? >> it's not just the president's job to narrate the news. he has to do something about it. >> right. >> all right, guys, thanks very much for that. there's more breaking news. we're following new developments in the controversy over health secretary offer to reimburse taxpayers to save his job. think again. this is the new new york. we are building new airports all across the state.
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breaking news tonight. the white house won't say whether president trump has confidence in tom price, who is under fire right now over his use of private jets on more than a dozen occasions. working the story, tom price announced he will write a personal check to reimburse taxpayers. >> he is going to right the check today to the tune of $52,000. it will only cover the costs for his seat. it's just a fraction of the total cost of all the flights he took on private planes, leaving taxpayers with a bill in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. the white house said they halted all private flights from the agency from this point on. others are feeling the heat for their air travel. revelations of more trips on private planes by tom price. over the weekend, price said he only took a total, 11 trips.
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>> these were 11 trips over a 8-month period of time. >> reporter: thursday, the agency revealed more trips, bringing the total to 13, which includes flights where he flew private on the short hop from washington, to philadelphia. the cost, at least $300,000. the president expressed displeasure with price. >> i'm looking at that very closely. i am not happy with it. i will tell you, i'm not happy with it. >> reporter: the inspector general is reviewing price's travel and the agency says it has initiated an internal review of the procedures to determine any changes or reforms that are necessary. and price is publicly addressing the issue. >> the optics in some of this don't look good. that's why we, again, have taken
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this criticism to heart. >> reporter: after an event in d.c., price responded to the president's criticism saying, i think we still have the confidence of the president. white house press secretary, huckabee sanders is fielding questions. >> is secretary price expected to keep his job? >> i think the president addressed this yesterday. we are going through a process and going to conduct a full review. >> reporter: price is not the only one facing heat. in documents obtained by cnn, the senator of rhode island takes pruitt to task. one flight from cincinnati to new york city on june 7th cost taxpayers $36,000. e.p.a. says pruitt needed to fly on a military jet because he was on a tight schedule, flying to italy for a summit the next day. he questioned a $14,000 flight
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aboard a government aircraft on july 27. he flew from tulsa to diamond, oklahoma. e.p.a. says there were no commercial flights. they are questioning the reason for the flight. he met with the hand handle irrigators association. they couldn't find the group with that name on the internet. there was a group with a similar name, but the website was dormant for five years. e.p.a. is pushing back saying he met with landowners impacted on the e.p.a.'s regulations. the trips were cleared through the e.p.a. tonight, even republicans on capitol hill are slamming these cabinet members who are in part of an administration who promised to cut the pork and drain the swamp. >> thank you very much for that. finally tonight, congressman
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steve scalise is back on the job three months after being shot at a congressional baseball team practice. he got a very, very warm welcome from his colleagues. [ applause ] >> you have no idea how great this feels to be back here at work in the people's house. [ applause ] >> as you can imagine, these last three and a half months have been challenging times for me and me family. but, if you look at the outpouring of love, of warmth, of prayer, my gosh, jennifer and i have been overwhelmed with all of that outpouring. it's given us the strength to get through all this and get to this point today. i am definitely a living example that miracles do happen.
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>> we are happy congressman scalise is back on the job in the house of representatives. that's it for me. thanks for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in the "situation room." erin burnett out front starts right now. out front next, a good news story. that's how the trump administration describes the response to puerto rico. why are millions still without water and power. tom price says he's going to pay back taxpayers for the seats on the private planes he took. why is he only forking over a fraction of the cost? twitter found 200 accounts linked to russians. they say it is disappointing. let's go out front. good evening, i'm erin burnett. out front tonight, tone deaf.

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