tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN October 18, 2017 12:00am-1:00am PDT
because in that we all have to be together as a society as well to make it better. and the same thing with sexual harassment. i actually believe it's a man's issue. it's not a women's issue. it shouldn't be on women's shoulders to alone try to fix this. >> exactly. >> we're the ones feeling the shame but it's actually in most cases the guys that are making us feel that way. so it's really their issue. well need the good men to speak up more and stop being enablers and bystanders and become our ally. >> do you feel free? >> i feel fierce and i feel that i have given the gift of courage to so many other women across this nation. and even across our -- even internationally. and so free? liberated, yes. which is basically the same word, right? >> because i just wonder if you ever take the time and go -- because i is a you at the variety women's event. and they introduced you. and you got at least what, a two-minute standing ovation. >> oh, thanks. >> i wonder if you ever look
back over this time and just go what have i done? >> yeah, it's really interesting because every morning when i wake up, i remind myself to be fierce by looking at my bracelet that says that it's not like you want to be face of this every day. but look, i think i'm making a difference. and i'm giving a gift of courage to other women. and that's what it's all about. it's all about giving that gift of being fierce. >> thank you. >> it's great to see you. >> good luck. it's called "be fierce." gretchen carlson's new book. when we come back, president trump finally calling the families of the soldiers who lost their life in the niger raid. when it happen, it hurts. we'll talk about that. ♪ ♪ you nervous?
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this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. just a little past 3:00 on the east coast -- a little past 11:00, excuse me. live with the breaking news for you tonight. president trump finally calling the families of troops who lost their lives in the niger raid and telling the widow of sergeant la david johnson, quote, he knew what he signed up for, but when it happens, it hurts. earlier i spoke on the phone with congresswoman fredricka wilson. she was there when the sergeant's widow was called by the president. watch this. >> we were in the car together in the limousine, headed to meet the body at the airport. so i heard what he said. because the phone was on speaker. >> what did he say? >> well, basically, he said -- well, i guess he knew what he signed up for. >> get right to cnn's political
analyst april ryan. cnn political commentate alice lewis and jason kander. this is really a tough discussion to have, april. you have been there before for these conversations. you were there by the side of president bush 43 when he met with wounded soldiers and also with president obama when the caskets of soldiers returned home. what do you make of the representative's account of what happened tonight? >> don, it's sad. if indeed what congresswoman frederica wilson says is true, and i have no reason to doubt her because she is someone who has a lot of compassion. she is a woman who hired trayvon martin's brother as an intern in her office to help the family. and it sounds just like her to be in the car with the widow of the brave marine johnson. like you said, i was -- at the
hangar at andrews air force base when the bodies came home from benghazi. such a solemn moment when president obama received those bodies, as well as secretary of state at the time hillary clinton. and also former secretary of state colin powell was there because of the severity of this. i mean i -- i have been to -- to walter reed, the old walter reed. it used to be on georgia avenue just up the street in washington, d.c. with then president george w. bush. we went to nih to see wounded soldiers. he was always going. and i cannot -- this is -- this is -- this is tough. we have a president who is the moral leader, who is supposed to support and unite. and here you have a widow whose husband was not found until days later. he was the last one left.
and hearing that he can't have an open casket, and to say something like that, my question is did he say this to the other family members? if so, it's not good he said it to this one and not good he said to it the other. this president is not a wordsmith. we know this. he is not a wordsmith. but in times like this, words matter. compassion matters. and it sounds heartless. >> i want to get the white house's response in. and it says the president's conversations with the families of american heroes who have made the ultimate sacrifice are private, alice. it's about common decency and respect. and listen, we don't -- i'm sure the president will explain what he meant by it. we know now he did call the families of the four officers killed in niger a day after he was asked about it. for the president who said it's disrespectful to take a knee during the national anthem, why a 13-day delay for fallen heros to this country?
>> i think that question may never be answered. i can't imagine the grief that this family and all the families are going through. it's got to be gut-wrenching. and to hear this from the president has the pour salt in the wounds. but look, this is a difficult time for the family, for our country, and certainly for the president. could he have chosen his woshds better? yes. but the fact is these conversations are private. and i think if this had been an in-person meeting, it would have been a little bit better. you could have -- >> you think they rushed it afterwards? >> if i think you had the body language of an in-person meeting, that would be a much, much different story. and very, very difficult. i've been with governor huckabee who has a pastor's heart who has been in situation, where we've had a school shooting, where we've had deaths and tornadoes. he has a pastor's heart. he is good with this. this is not the president's forte. and i think it's unfortunate
given at -- >> but he is president of the united states. >> he certainly, april. and this is just a difficult time. is there a playbook for this kind of thing? there is absolutely not. this is a time that right now unfortunately we're talking about this instead of honoring these brave hero. >> and the right words. i'm going to bring you gentlemen in. april you okay? you sound like you're very emotional about this. >> i'm okay, don. >> okay. >> jason, you're a former army captain. in your opinion, he knew what he sign upped for, but when it happens, it hurts. that acceptable way to speak to a widow? >> it's nauseating. but you know what? i've heard people say this before when they -- i think we probably all have. we've all heard people find out about soldiers dying and say something like this. and so i think i think it's important the talk about why people say that. people say that because they're seeking emotional distance from the situation. people say that because they want to avoid feeling that pain.
and when you're the president of the united states, when you're the commander in chief, you need to be able to lean into that situation and not just yes, it is absolutely deeply important in that situation, human being to human being to be able to console that widow, to be there in that moment. but let me tell you why there is a larger reason why thing matters so much is that i want a president, any president, it doesn't matter who. when they're making a decision about sending people to a dangerous place, i want them to have as one of the things in their mind the visceral, emotional feeling and that memory of that feeling in their mind as a factor when they make decisions about americans into danger. and if president trump is seeking to distance himself emotionally from this, which is the reason people say that's what they signed up for, then i don't know that he has the ability to factor in that fee g feeling and the reality that people don't come home that the
most important person this your life may be gone in an instant when he makes decisions about sending people. >> can we talk about the optics? saturday, october 7th. that's the de la david johnson was returned to dover air base. president trump was golfing. these four soldiers were killed in an isis ambush in niger. do you think the white house is handling the entire incident as -- it is a little hod odd? are they rushing the response instead of maybe you say i'll call you. you're going to meet the casket. we'll call her tomorrow at 4:00. that a good time? >> yesterday we were all saying he needs to make these calls. today we're saying maybe he shouldn't have made these calls. maybe that wasn't a good idea. if his goal -- if the primary goal presumably here is to console the widow, he obviously failed and failed miserably. however, i want to be a little bit contrarian here. if you just take what he said,
the quote. we don't know the contacts. >> i gave a caveat. but still, it sounds awful. >> to me the quote, it's open to interpretation. so for example, if you say it sort of glib and dismissively like well, this is what they sign upped for, that is horrific. but thing is a way to say it that is this heroic. like when people sign up to join the military to be first responders even, certainly to be green berets, that moment that they sign up is a heroic moment. and whenever they're deployed, they know there is a chance that they may not come back. >> don -- >> i don't know that that's terribly different than what the quote is that donald trump made. >> how low are we going to set the standard. >> don, don, don. >> hold on. >> i'm serious. >> i understand what you're saying. how low. how low are we going set the standard for this president?
at some point we have to say you know what? you're bad at this. and not just you're bad at this, we have to question whether he has the emotional strength, the moral courage, the fortitude to actually do this job. how low he is the bargain. >> let's assume -- donald trump is not the great communicator. and i'm completely willing to -- >> but he is president of the united states. he is the president of the united states. and you can't normalize this one. wait a minute. let me say this to you. let me say this. the optics, the sound of this does not sound right. he is questioned and talked about and chastised other presidents. but then when it's time for him to go in, he is not the consoler in chief. he is causing angst in a time of grief with a family as well as the nation to hear the story play out. and just thinking about all of this. this president went after john mccain, the p.o.w. it's not about politics.
this man gave his -- he put his life on the line for our freedoms. whether it's about taking the knee, whatever. and yet john mccain is now the object of his fury. he says don't push me because i'm going the fight you. john mccain is fighting for his life. he fought for this country. and then on top of that -- >> but it sounds like you already decided about donald trump. >> wait a minute. i'm telling you from what i see from the unique perch i'm sitting in after covering presidents for 20 years. and i think have i the respect and understanding of what's going on. so let me shed some light in dark places. >> please. shed some light. >> wait a minute. let me shed some light in dark places for you. >> okay. >> then we have a president who had five deferments. people talked about that. he had five deferments. then at the same time, this president is saying this to this widow. he is saying this to the widow, and there is a possibility that we're hearing there are people from iran as well as north korea believing that we could be
setting a posture for war. you have a president saying this as we are in a tinderbox of a situation. >> we've got to go. i'm sorry. i have to go. you know i have to go. i got to speak to the gold star father. it's an important conversation. but this gold star father can react to this and shed more light on this than any one of us. and we're going to talk to him right after this. we'll be right back. you wouldn't do only half
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here is our breaking news. president trump tonight reportedly telling the widow of sergeant la david johnson who lost his life in the niger raid, quote, he knew what he signed up for, but when it happen, it hurts. i want to bring in man who sadly knows what it's like to be the family of a fallen american hero. paul monty's son, first class jared c. monty was posthumously awarded the medal of honor by then president barack obama. and paul monty joins me now. thank you so much, sir, for joining us this evening. we appreciate you and we honor the sacrifice that your son made. you know exactly what this family is going through tonight. so tell us about your son, army sergeant first class jared monti. >> my son was killed in 2006 in afghanistan.
he was a co-leader of a group of 16 on a mountaintop in afghanistan. they were attacked by 50 or more taliban. during the attack, one of the soldiers was shot very seriously wounded, lay in no-man's land between his soldiers and the taliban. and my son decided that he had to try to save that young man. and went out to try to save him three times. and on the third time, my son was hit by an rpg and he was killed. >> i'm sure you know that last night pete souza, the official white house photographer during the obama administration posted a photo on instagram of you and your wife meeting with the president and the first lady after your son was posthumously awarded the medal of honor. what can you tell us about this moment and all your interactions
with the president and the first lady? >> all i can tell you is what i observed. i observed two people, barack obama and michelle obama who had a tremendous degree of compassion. they treated my wife and i extremely well. as i said, they were extremely compassionate. we actually met them in the oval office, which was a first for a medal of honor presentation. and it's a moment i'll never forget. like i said, the compassion of both was overwhelming. >> so when you hear the president saying that other presidents like barack obama didn't contact the families of fallen soldiers when you heard that, what did you think?
>> i have no idea where he came up with that. when my son was finally okayed to receive the medal of honor, barack obama called me personally and told me about it. that was in july of 2009. and the ceremony was in september 2009. so i did have a conversation with him personally on the telephone. he told me that the nation was very proud of my son and that he himself was very proud of my son, and that he knew that i was very proud of my son. and i will never forget those words. >> when you hear -- these conversations are very difficult i would imagine for the president to have and for
someone to call you. when you hear what happened with the widow tonight from the current president, what was your thought? >> you know, i really don't want to get political, but i think that there could have been a little more compassion for this woman who just lost her son. those words, well, you know, that's what he signed up for, are not the words she wants to hear at this time. >> what do you want people to know about gold star families? i know that you -- the one reason that you're doing this is because you want to honor these families and their loved ones. >> exactly. exactly.
becoming a gold star family member is not a thing anybody wants. it is a pain that never goes away. my son was killed 11 years ago. and it's like yesterday. and this is the way all of the gold star families that i have encountered feel. they live day to day. they miss their child. they have basically lost their future. when you lose your parent, you have lost your past. but when you lose a child, you have lost your future. and that's the way we feel. >> mr. monti -- >> we will never be able to -- i'm sorry. >> no, go on, please.
>> we will never be able to hold their children on our lap. we will never be able to go to a baseball game or a football game or, you know, the symphony or just have a barbecue in the backyard with our lost child. that's gone. that's what you miss. that's what every gold star parent misses. >> mr. monti, thank you for coming on. thank you for your sacrifice. >> thank you. >> and we want to say again that we honor your son, fallen soldier army sergeant first class jared c.monti, posthumously awarded the medal of honor under the obama administration, and his father is paul monti. thank you, sir. you wouldn't do only half
puerto rico. people still struggling for the basics, food, water, shelter and medical care. less than 15% of customers have electricity. cnn's bill weir is in puerto rico with the latest on the effort to rebuild communities. bill? >> don, just after maria blew out of puerto rico, we went up into a hilly, rustic suburb of san juan called aguas buenas. we got word maybe our story sparked intervention from the veteran's administration. so we went to check in on them. and man, did i learn so much about why the response to this hurricane has been so frustrating for so many. >> immediately after maria, what remained of this hilltop community of aguas buenas took our breath a way. a fallen transition lay atop a shattered home. next door we found deanna desperately trying to preserve
the last vial of insulin for her husband miguel. a month later, we are back, bracing for the worst, but hoping for the best. wow, that's a good sign. look at that. they got it back up. it's the work of local linemen who make a point of showing me their facebook page to prove that they are just as good as those contractors from the mainland. >> how long before power will run through these lines? >> it depends on the weather, he says. they have two more of these giants to salvage. and what were you praying for just now? >> for the safety and praising to god to be helpful. >> you need all the help you can get. let's see if deanna and miguel are home. deanna! hola, coma esta? >> muy bien. >> you remember me?
how you? >> que bueno. >> good see you. >> she tells me miguel is resting inside, alive and well. after seeing our story, the veteran's administration sent a nurse up the mountain with plenty of medicine. what about the future now? what do you think about next week, next month, next year? "i'm going keep fighting. i'm going to stay in puerto rico. i'm not going to leave," she says. and then points up. they put a flag on top of the tower. there just one example of puerto rico rising. but they are just one family. and a township of around 30,000. what is your biggest frustration today? what do you need more than anything else? >> blue tarps, the mayor tells me. i receive 300. i need one thousand. it's been raining a lot, and people don't have roofs. >> what do you think of the president trump saying that puerto ricans aren't
distributing the food fast enough? >> because some of the towns did not distribute well, there is the perception that this is an island-wide problem, he says. but that is not the case here. there are 78 municipalities in puerto rico which means 78 mayors with different skills and methods. in the southern town of patillas, the secretary of state says he was outraged to find a dumpster full of spoiled food and unused fresh water. a mistake this mayor is determined not to repeat. but even though his teams have visited over 8,000 homes, they still have around 2,000 to go. and if this one is any indication, they can't get there fast enough. anita sits on a bed soaked with rainwater. the smell of mold thick in every room. >> do you have any idea how many
people are in these kind of conditions? >> no. >> this is not rare, he says. we encounter these cases. this touched me deep in my heart. today we're going to start helping her now. we're going to move her to a more secure location. we're so grateful that god sent you here, anita's sister-in-law tells the mayor. you see the conditions here. please excuse me, mayor. the quickest help possible, please. she needs it. >> mayor garcia perez told me he wants to lobby fema and hud to help him concert an unused high school into a sort of semi permanent shelter for folks in that desperate need. after watching that, try to imagine living like that for 30 days and you understand why mental health is just as much of a concern here as the physical health of these americans.
don? >> bill weir, thank you very much. when we come back, after seeing that report, i have to ask what happened to president trump's love for puerto rico? you wouldn't do only half of your daily routine, so why treat your mouth any differently? complete the job with listerine® help prevent plaque, early gum disease, bad breath and kill up to 99.9% of germs. listerine® bring out the bold™ there's nothing more important than your health. so if you're on medicare or will be soon, you may want more than parts a and b here's why. medicare only covers about 80% of your part b medical expenses. the rest is up to you. you might want to consider an aarp medicare supplement insurance plan, insured by unitedhealthcare insurance company. like any medicare supplement insurance plan, these help pick up some of what medicare doesn't pay.
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residents of puerto rico struggling to rebuild their lives nearly a month after hurricane maria devastated the island. i want to bring in now cnn political comment tarts ben ferguson, symone sanders, mike shields and bakari sellers. you saw bill weir's remarkable story. a very different story than the great job the president and the white house are claiming is being done in puerto rico. >> yeah. i think donald trump has left puerto rico unfortunately to rot. and i'm not really sure why. i think the same way folks were critical of president bush about his handing with katrina, folks will be equally as critical and history will not be kind to donald trump when it comes to how he handles the crisis in puerto rico and the u.s. virgin islands for that matter. and i find it very, very, very concerning that one, donald trump has left not just the people of puerto rico to rot
essentially, but also the people of the u.s. virgin islands. >> yeah. to her point, ben, this is a poll i'm going to put up. it says president trump's approval rating on the hurricanes drop. since maria, it's 44%. do you think that's a signal to the president and the white house? >> i think any time you see people that are suffering, obviously you want the american government to do more. it's easy to say we must do more. i'm in favor of doing more. i'm in favor of getting more resources to the people of puerto rico. i don't think we've left the people of puerto rico. i don't think we've left them there to rot. i think that's a sad talking point. there are a lot of people at fema that aren't republicans and they aren't democrats and they're on the ground doing everything they possibly can to help the people. this are a lot of people in puerto rico that are volunteers. there are a lot of aid workers
who are trying to help people and get their lives back to where they were before. so i'm in favor of more government being involved there. i'm in favor of more help going there but i also think this is not a time to say that we're letting people rot in puerto rico. a political point to say. have i my radio show from puerto rico today. >> do not have power. folks are drinking contaminated water because that is all they have. this is a crisis. this is international health. so it's not hyperbole if you will. >> simmone -- >> people are dying. they absolutely are. >> people are not rotting. that's not accurate. >> donald trump. >> listen, listen, hold on, ben, ben, ben. ben! there are other people on the panel, please. so let's be respectful. mike, i want to got you. in sheer president trump speaking about the distribution of aid to puerto rico. >> we've delivered prems amou e
amounts of water. then you have to have distribution by people on the island. we have massive amounts of water. we have massive amounts of food. but they have to distribute the food. and they have to do this. they have to distribute the food to the people of the island. so what we've done is we now actually have military distributing food, something they really shouldn't have to be doing. >> mike, your turn swhiechlt the preside -- why is president saying we shouldn't be helping people in need. >> if people are suffering, the president is going to pay a political price for it. but to turn into it a partisan football is going too far. we saw the president's commitment to hurricane relief in the previous two hurricanes that hit the country. it's not as though the administration doesn't care and it's not as though the administration isn't capable there are some really capable people in the white house and fema that want to do this. the difference is servicing an island nation is harder you. didn't have to send the u.s. navy ship comfort to the coast of houston.
there was shelters there had already been identified. the local governments knew how to handle hurricanes. they lived taking people from katrina previously. so they already had experience. puerto rico is an island. they sent the comfort ship down there. so it's not like the government said don't bother. they sent the comfort. now what they hadn't thought, how do we identify the right people this the hospital, get the communications lines out and get them out to the ship? it's a much more complex problem to help people on an island nation, especially one with a government that is really not up to par for this sort of thing compared to places like houston. >> mike, are we going to blame puerto rico? >> turn into it a political football i think is doing a disservice to the good people that are trying to help. should they get more help? absolutely. until they're fixed, it's a bottom line business. they're fixed, there is going to be a political price. but to turn it into the president doesn't think about puerto rico -- >> puerto rico is near and dear to you. i heard you speaking about it on your podcast. your turn now. >> one of the things we're
seeing right now. ben can't articulate it, there is no vision for how we're growing build puerto rico or how we're going to rebuild the u.s. virgin islands. this isn't partisan. this is about visionary leadership, either you visit or you don't. yes you can't compare this to florida. you can't compare this to texas because it is a more difficult challenge. but he is president of the united states of america. he is president of these islands. and think about this. simmone brought up a good point. 80% of puerto rico is without power. how about this? the island of st. john in the virgin islands for 41 days, 100% of the people have been without power. if you think about those trio of islands in the u.s. virgin islands, because i know we harp on puerto rico a lot and rightfully so. but we cannot forget about our brothers and sisters, americans in the virgin islands. they had three hospitals all of which have been closed down. one has been condemned by the army corps of engineers. it's an escape hatch to say we're playing politics. we are not. what we are doing is accurately
describing a situation, a situation we don't have to come pair to katrina because people can have their own issues simply. i'm not finished talking yet, dan. but what we can do, what we can do is challenge donald trump to have an idea that's more than water, that's more than flipping paper towels into a group of people. but how are we going to rebuild this infrastructure? how are we going to make sure people get the basic necessities that they need. those are the questions that donald trump is not answering as a leader. >> all right. i've got to take a break. i got to take break. when we come back, is the president using fallen service members as political pawns? we'll discuss that when we come right back. disease. you're more than just a bathroom disease. you're a life of unpredictable symptoms. crohn's, you've tried to own us. but now it's our turn to take control with stelara® stelara® works differently for adults with moderately to severely active crohn's disease. studies showed relief and remission, with dosing every 8 weeks. stelara® may lower the ability of your immune system to fight infections and may increase your risk of infections and cancer.
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bad breath and kill up to 99.9% of germs. listerine® bring out the bold™ i really don't want to get political. but i think that there could have been a little more compassion for this woman who just lost her son. those words, well, you know, that's what he signed up for, are not the words that she wants to hear at this time. >> that was paul monti, the father of army sergeant first class jared monti killed in afghanistan that was back in 2006ment back thou with my
i understand you're having technical difficulties. >> i don't know what was said on this conversation. i don't know that he sign upped to and see signed up to go around the world and fortunately cost him his life. i don't know what the conversation was. i know what people are trying to turn this into politically. >> it's a gold star father. >> right. and he is responding to a report from a congress person who is obviously turning this into a political issue. and i think that's wrong. >> bakari? >> well, i think that part of the concern that many of us have is that it was 12 days that went by, and donald trump tweets about everything from jamil hill, nfl player, everything under the sun, but didn't even mention these four green berets who were killed in niger. and then the first thing that he
invokes is barack obama. so i guess to ben's point, to push back and say he was patently incorrect in that assessment is that the president was the one who inserted politics in this. i'm kind of sick and tired of trying to figure out where the bottom is for donald trump. i mean, he has made deplorable statement after deplorable statement after deplorable statement. this is the same person that talked trash about p.o.w.s and gold star families. he really doesn't have any moral compass when it comes to talk about our armed service members who pay the ultimate price, especially one who has multiple deferments. this young man, we're talking about his wife is pregnant. he has a child, two children. and so i hope that people go to look at jake tapper's twitter, look at michael skolnick's twitter and actually donate to his scholarship fund. it's a legitimate scholarship fund that has been set up to make sure his kids can get educated. >> there is a gofundme as well.
you're looking at it. the goal is $100,000. and it's 68,050 now. to the point. the four soldiers were killed in niger. but he deflected by talking about the former president, not calling families, even. and this gold star father came on and said that's not completely true. the obamas were the most compassionate people to them. he called them on the phone. the former president called him on the phone. he doesn't understand, mike, why this president uses that as a deflection when it's not true. >> yeah, i mean, look, i agree actually a lot of what bakari said. this whole topic kind of makes me sick to my stomach, to be honest with you. i'm sick for these families. as a military brat, i have the utmost respect for them. first even having a discussion about this is terrible. i think the president brought some of it on himself of course. but this representative from florida calling in and relaying a private conversation between the president and a widow is
just an absolute disgrace and just as disgusting. so now great. we're back where we always are with these things where both sides are culpable. the president kind of started and now a democrat is going to try to make partisan football out of it. >> i'm going cut you off. i want to get symone in. >> this is the onus on donald trump here. what donald trump allegedly said to the widow of sergeant johnson is despicable. it's disgusting. and we should all be disgusted. >> we don't know the context. >> we don't know that. >> i am sorry there is no context where that is appropriate on that particular phone call. >> you don't know what was said in the conversation. you're basically hoping this is what was said so you can go off on politics. which is really sad. >> what's sad is you sitting here defending this despicable act today. that is what is sad here. >> i didn't defend anything except you -- >> i would like to go hard -- >> i've got five seconds.
>> don. >> i'm disappointed with donald trump. i've got to go. thank you. that's it for us tonight. thanks for watching. i'll see you back here tomorrow. you wouldn't do only half of your daily routine, so why treat your mouth any differently? complete the job with listerine® help prevent plaque, early gum disease, bad breath and kill up to 99.9% of germs. listerine® bring out the bold™
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