tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN September 25, 2017 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT
dana bash. a lot up for debate with the graham-cassidy bill tonight at 9:00 p.m. only on cnn. be sure to follow me on jake tapper. i'll see you in a few hours for the debate. i'll turn you over to wolf blitzer he's in "the situation room." thanks for watching. happening now breaking news. knee deep. white house defends president trump's attacks on nfl players who silently protested during the national anthem. the white house says not against anyone but is for the anthem. players, coaches and owners answered the president by kneeling or locking arms at the start of weekend games. deck loration of war, won't around much longer.
north korea says that gives the right to shoot down u.s. bombers. scorecard protesters rally against the latest gop health bill and scramble for votes. waiting a cost estimate scorecard. will be that the final blow to the bill that's in trouble? and trouble jared kushner used a private email account to conduct white house business. his attorney says fewer than 100 emails were involved. is kushner now in more trouble? i'm wolf blitzer here in "the situation room". breaking white house strongly talking about the national anthem saying he's not against anyone but is for the anthem and the flag. players, coaches, and even
owners answer the president by kneeling or linking arms or staying in the locker room during the weekend opening ceremonies. some of those owners were big donors to the president festivities inauguration. top figures call the president's comments divisive. meantime, the president ups the andty with twitter attacks on the league and players. also breaking north korea accuses president trump of declaring war saying it won't be around much longer. white house says it's absurd to suggest the president declared war. the u.s. military says it's ready for anything. a mid sharp protesters by health care patients, the gop latest bill to repeal obamacare is it on the verge of collapse. u.s. senate leaders are up against the deed line and two defectors and others leaning against the legislation.
we are waiting for the budget office to release cost estimate. we'll talk with former nfl player dante and our correspondents specialists and guests, all standing by with full coverage. let's begin with the president picking a serious fight with pro athletes. let's go live to our senior white house correspondent jim. jim, is the president out of bounds or worse? >> there are certainly some penalty flags being thrown across the field, wolf. we can tell you white house is not backing away from the president's controversy comments over the weekend that seemed to be directed at athletes. top aids today insisted president's were not racist, but the president's record on race makes that very difficult for a lot of americans to believe. >> critics threw the penalty flag immediately for unstates man like conduct.
>> wouldn't you like to see one of the nfl owners when someone disrespects our flag to say get off the feed right now? he's fired. he's fired. >> reporter: but president trump claims the firestorm he started was not motivated by race. >> nothing to do with race. i never said anything about race. this has nothing to do with race or anything else. this has to do with respect for our country and respect for our flag. >> reporter: yet this morning the president found sometime to praise nascar fans tweeting so proud of supporters and fans. they won't put up with disrespecting our flag. nothing to see here in cysts the white house. >> the president is not talking about race. he's talking about pride in our country. what you saw yesterday were players and fans of all races joining together as americans to honor our service members. that's what the president is
talking about. that's what his focus is on. >> reporter: one gop adviser to the white house says the president was waging a cultural war. trolling today's pro athletes as if they were hillary clinton. >> it is what it is. >> reporter: among his targets is it curry. going to a white house is honor, curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn. president trump's comments did comments on and off the field. >> he doesn't understand how many kids no matter the race look up to the president of the united states for guidance, for leadership, for words of encouragement. >> reporter: this isn't the first time the president has gone after athletes for kneeling in protest. he did it during the campaign, signaling out quarterback colin kaepernick. >> number one finding out politics is much rougher game
than football, and we have taken a lot of people away from football. and the other reason is kaepernick. >> reporter: also not the first time that the president is divided over the subject of race from charlottesville. >> you had some very bad people in that group. but you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides, you had people -- excuse me. >> reporter: questioning whether barack obama was born in the u.s. >> they make the birthers into the worst. why donesn't he show his birth certificate? >> reporter: staring down north korea, the white house says the president has his priorities in order. >> the president is doing more than one thing in a day. >> reporter: as one adviser said to me, wolf, president is not
waging a cultural war. he is winning a cultural war. so you can take it from the president's own team here at the white house, wolf, there are no regrets over the president's comments from this weekend. >> okay, jim at the white house. thank you. meanwhile senate republicans are feeling heat on health care, anxious protesters disz erupted a hearing while gop are running out of time if they hope to honor their vo to appeal obamacare. two senate republicans are already on record opposing it. this is back with us. what are the odds of this bill succeeding right now? >> well, the odds are not looking good. at this moment, wolf. as it stands right now this bill is one vote shy of failing. and really speaking to the intensity of the moment up here on capitol hill today, some real dramatic moments unfolding both inside and outside the senate finance committee hearing. this is the first and only hearing that this bill will undergo this week. and as you see from these
pictures, you see hundreds of protesters descending upon that hearing, some had to be dragged away in their wheelchair, screaming in opposition to that bill. now, during that hearing we heard from the republican cosponsors of this bill defending their latest and revised draft of this bill. of course, some very specific changes made in this 11th hour intended to would very specific senators. senators like senator murkowski, collins, those that are leaning no but potentially could get to yes. we know that this new revised bill has some very specific sweetners for their states of alaska and maine. as of now we have not heard from either senator enough to get them on board. they both indicated in the last days it is very unlikely they can get to yes on this bill but not an out right no. on this hour in capitol hill they are huddling to try to anticipate the next steps to plan out what will happen with
this bill. the big question of course, wolf, will senate majority leader mitch mcconnell bring this to a vote on the floor. not do it unless they have the votes. right now no votes scheduled. speaks volumes at where this bill is headed. >> thanks. up on capitol hill. joining us now congressman of new york. thanks very much for joining us. >> wolf, thanks for having me. >> i want to get your reaction on the health care news. but let's talk about the controversy, huge controversy generated by the president over the weekend. he insists his criticism of nfl players, taking a knee during the national anthem has nothing to do with race. what do you think? >> well, time and time again donald trump has proven to the nation that he's not a uniter. he's clearly a divider. and in the context of his remarks, he went down to the heart of dixie in alabama before an all white or mostly white
crowd, the good old boys, so to speak, and engaged in what many of us i think can fairly call race bait. you have to imagine this whole unfolded in specific things that were happening to the african-american community. now, we have come a long way in america, we still have a long way to go on the question of race. someone sugar coated the experience but the facts are the facts. but as a community we have been forced to endure, slavery, rain, jim crow segregation, mass incarceration, a lynching epidemic, now of course police brutality that continues to this very day. and, wolf, it was that that prompted colin kaepernick and others to kneel down so that others might have the courage to stand up. that is it a uniquely american thing to do. and shame on donald trump for criticizing these athletes.
>> how would you compare the president's reaction to the nfl protest with his reaction to the white supremacist violence that we all saw unfold in charlottesville, virginia last month? >> his reaction to charlottesville, which was inappropriate, and for many people throughout america led them to conclude that the president of the united states chose to pull the sheets off and reveal himself in terms of his tendency to be a racial arsonist, fan the flames of hatred, and of course in that context suggested that there was violence on all sides. when we understand it was neo nazis, it was the kkk who were responsible for the loss of life of one courageous american, and the damage that was done to so many others. and so it's in this atmosphere that we find it troubling, with all that's happening in the world and country, that donald trump would choose to go after a
few black athletes in the nba and nfl. >> i want to point out the nfl is it a little more than 70% african-american players. nba about 80% african-american players. but when you said a second ago, congressman, pull the sheets off. i suspect i know what you are referring to. but i want to give you a chance to elaborate. >> well, let me simply say that time and time again he's refused to distance himself from individuals like david duke and a vowed white supreme cyst as well as others for reasons that many of us can't figure out. why would anyone ee kwaf kate, particularly the leader of the free world, as it relates to individuals like the kkk and neo nazis. that's deeply troubling. but we know donald trump has a
history of fanning the flames of racial hatred, using stereotypes to advance his own personal and political agenda. for five years he perpetrated the racist lie that barack obama was not born in the united states of america. and then rolled that lie into the white house, which is why we are all being subjected to what we are dealing with right now. that's not to say that all of his supporters are racist. that is not the case. but his behavior is deeply troubling to americans of all race, races and religious backgrounds who believe in the values of tolerance, decency and diversity. >> are you suggesting he's a racist? >> no, he's a racial arsonist. he uses race to advance his own ends. that's troubling. i'm not going to stand here and call him a racist or not. but ile speak to the facts which have been part of his journey, going all the way back to the time that the donald trump and
trump administration was sued by the nixon justice department by engaging in housing discrimination against black in the 1970s. and individuals who were wrongfully accused, wrongfully convicted, and wrongfully in prison, black and latino young man for a crime they didn't commit, and it was donald trump who led the lynch mob trying to persecute these individuals. americans are smart enough to put the facts together for themselves. he's offering the meeramerican people a very raw deal, chaos and confusion. here on capitol hill democrats we are planning for the american people a much better deal focused on better jobs, wages, and a better future for people of every single race. >> in your mind, congressman, what's the difference between a racist and what you call a racial arsonist? >> well, he's somebody that clearly has chosen to use
elements of racial hatred and anxiety and stereotypes to advance himself as he sees it with some in his base. that should be problematic. i can't speak to his heart. i've never met him. i've never talked with him. i've never sat with him. i can only speak to the things that he has done prior to his arrival at 1600 pennsylvania avenue, and subsequent to him being sworn in as the 45th president of the united states of america. and what i'm suggesting is that that should trouble everyone, particularly the desire to provide aid and comfort to individuals like the neo nazis hand t and the kkk members responsible for the tragedy in
charlottesville. >> i want to very quickly are you suggesting that he uses these racial issues and finds it useful? >> it certainly sounds to me he finds it useful. and we have had people coming out of the white house about him not engaging in a cultural war. but apparently winning a cultural war. he was able to ride his behavior, which was out landish in so many ways beyond the question of race into the white house. and so i think it's reasonable to conclude that he seems to believe that this is working for him. but it is indecent. it's inconsistent with who we are as americans. and those nfl players, all they were doing was standing up for uniquely american principles, like equal protection under the law, liberty and justice for all, and embedded in the first amendment, freedom of speech,
and expression. why donald trump the president would attack those individuals is beyond me. >> while the president sounds off on the nfl, as we all know, he hasn't really been tweeting about the crisis unfolding in puerto rico where more than 3 million american citizens are without power, desperate need of assistance. how would you rate the federal response to the devastation in puerto rico caused by hurricane maria? >> hoethe only question is whet the trump white house and government should get d for disaster or f for failure. it's not clear to me or many others throughout the nation whether the president and the white house realize that the individuals who are suffering down in puerto rico and the u.s. virgin islands are american citizens. they need our help. just like the people in texas and florida need our help. and i'm hopeful that over the next few days, and certainly
over the next few weeks, we here in the american congress will go forward aggressively to make sure those american citizens been devastated in some instances back to back hurricanes can get the assistance they need to rebuild their lives to recover. >> the white house homeland security adviser went down to puerto rico, the head of fema has gone to puerto rico today. but do you think the president personally should do for puerto rico what he did in florida, what he did in texas, mainly within a few days go down there lan show his solidarity and show his support? >> i think it's important for him to show sol dairy and support. and if he chooses to advise the people of puerto rico and virgin islands, i think that would be an important symbolic step in the right direction. but it has to be backed up by substance. we need to make sure there is a strong fema presence on the ground. and that we can send the resources necessary to rebuild. wolf, as you know, i represent
communities in howard beach and con any island and polices devastated by super storm sandy, and it's times like this we need a compassionate response by the federal government. hopefully, that's a response that we will see from the trump administration. but so far it's been woefully inadequate. >> will you and your fellow members of the house and senate get the funding that the puerto ricoian people need? >> i'm of course optimistic that we will. we saw a strongly bipartisan vote in the aftermath of hurricane harvey and at the beginning of hurricane irma, which was about to hit florida when we voted on legislation on the house floor. and i'm hopefully bipartisan spirit will just continue as it relates to the folks in puerto rico and virgin islands. >> congressman jeffreys of new
york, let's hope for more than 300 million u.s. citizens they are suffering right now. thanks very much for joining us. >> thank you, wolf. more on breaking news, president trump is met with a show of sol dairy by the league. i'm speak with the dante nfl player. we'll discuss that and more we'll be right back. "the situation room" with wolf blitzer is brought to you by ca technologies. rodney and his new business.
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trump attempts saying he's not against anyone but supports the anthem and the flag. but players, coaches, even some of the owners responded to the president by kneeling or locking arms at the start of this weekend's games. joining us now dante he played ten seasons in the nfl. thanks for joining us. let me get your reaction. president trump says his criticism has nothing to do with race. what do you think? >> well, it's hard to judge what's in his heart and mind. and i think congressman jeff rees alluded to it where you just look at his actions and look at what he said in response to charlottesville. look at what he's said in response to ncfl players kneelig and nazis marching in the streets in 2017.
which is disappointing. but at the end of the day i look at these players, they have worked hard to bring forth new and improved ways for us to be table to get along with the police department. and not necessarily just get along in lip service and photo ops, but these guys have been going to police departments, speaking to police chiefs, speaking to their state attorney generals, they have been going on ride alongs. people have come to the hill on a number of occasions and blessed to visit with them one time where we met with representatives on both sides of the aisle. met with a number of members of congress for three or four straight days. and we were able to really get a sense and see what it is that we can do from our standpoint as professional athletes, current and former, to be able to help move this needle forward to help. we are extremely concerned with
the health of our nation and anyone that begis knows they ne reforming. and players they won't allow the president and his rhetoric friday night to deter them from that. >> as you know, dante, not all nfl players are in agreement as far as protests are concerned. take us a little behind the scenes. what kind of conversations are happening inside locker rooms across the league this week? >> i think it's interesting. because you have a lot of guys who consider each other as brothers. they text each other all the time. in the locker room. they joke on each other all the time. so it's like a family, what families do. and i'm sure there have been some heated conversations, but at the end of the day, you know, guys can literally go on the football field and frigight eac other then go in the locker room the hour later and joke about it. so that shows you how close they are. and i think the good thing we
saw throughout this whole week has been a show of unity against the president's remarks, not just on specific nfl players but the nfl as a whole. the nfl has done a lot. and the players in the nfl has done a lot in the communities. and i think most of the players took that to heart as an attack not just on the nfl and players that are deciding to peacefully protest, but also that the guys stand for, and your families, it's much deeper than what the president has touched on. and i think that the guys are now starting to understand this and speaking out more. and i hope this galvanized and inspires many, many more players to be open and to really help push forward whatever issue that it is they want to do to help this country become a better place. >> a lot of the nfl owners came out in support of the players this weekend. are they really invested in the movement do you believe? or just worried about their bottom lines? now especially that the president is trying to in sight
a boycott against the nfl? >> that's an interesting question, wolf. when you have seven nfl owners that have donated over each a million to donald trump campaign or inauguration. that does throw up red flags for these teams. but you saw down in london where you saw the jacksonville owner was down there with his players, head coaches were interlocked with other players during the pregame and the pittsburgh steelers who didn't even come out. now, it is interesting, because a lot of these owners at the end of the day they are businessmen, right, that's what they do. they are in the business of making money and putting out a good prod tukt on the football field. but the interesting part of it all is when you add the players into it, the owners really do care about the players. and for them to care about the players, they also have to understand what it is the players are trying to bring forth, what awareness or issues
are they trying to promote awareness for. and i think the more we have this discussion, and not in the divisive way, but the more we have an open and honest discussion, it will only help the owners to understand that discussion much, not just the owners but the rest of the country that sees these protests as something that is ha disrespect towards the military or towards the country when it's not intended to be that way at all. >> do you think this protest, among nfl players is going to spread significantly to some of the other sports, specifically the nba? you did hear lebron james speaking out today very forcefully. >> yeah, i think lebron is a leader not just in sports world, but just the world in general. he's a super man that is looked up to with his athletic ability. and he is also done a lot in the community, in miami, and hometown of akron, ohio, so a lot of people, professional
athletes are looking to see what is the reaction from curry and lebron james, and those guys are extremely active in the community, and this just inspires them all to want to do more after the president's remarks friday and then the subsequent remarks from this weekend and today as well. >> i want to get your reaction, dante, to the president's team that the nfl right now is in his words ruining football in trying to limit kconcussions. listen to what the president said friday night. >> you know today if you hit too hard, right, they hit too hard, 15 yards, throw him out of the game. they had that last week. i watched for a couple of minutes. two guys just really beautiful tackle. boom. 15 yards. referee gets on television. wife sitting at home so proud of him. they are ruining the game. right? they are ruining the game.
hey, look, that's what they want to do, they want to hit. >> what's your reaction when you hear that? >> it's disturbing, especially in light of all in new research that we've had now with cte and other brain injuries that a lot of nfl playerers, again not just nfl players, but professional sports experiencing these brain traumas. and i know the good thing with the nfl and what they have done together is they have worked on these issues dating back to at least 2010, 2011, because i was actually on one of the panels where we spoke at the dod as current and former players. and they've shared information. they've shared research. so for the president to take those things lightly, this is not just an issue with the nfl. this is also issue, major issue with our military. so the fact that people are saying that the nfl or the players are disrespecting the military, and then you have the
president essentially taking light of the issue of cte when our own service members are experiencing cte as well, i don't think that's a very prudent move by the president. >> dante stall worth, thank you to cnn thanks for joining us. >> thank you for having me. coming up much more reaction, white house insisting president trump isn't against anyone. plus north korea now says the u.s. has declared war, and now it's threatening to shoot down u.s. war planes, even if they aren't flying over its territory. mom. when it comes to reducing the sugar in your family's diet coke, dr. pepper, and pepsi hear you and we're working together to do just that. bringing you more great tasting beverages with less sugar or no sugar at all. smaller portion sizes, clear calorie labels, and reminders to think balance. because we know mom wants what's best. more beverage choices, smaller portions, less sugar.
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following multiple breaking stories, including this afternoon white house refusal to back away from president trump criticism of athletes protest during the national anthem even though the president said those players should be fired. white house press secretary sara sanders insists the president isn't against anyone but for the respect of the country, flag and national anthem. let's bring in our specialists gloria borger, why is the president so specific in this fight when there are so many other critical issues out there? >> look, the president takes everything personally. everything grievance is personal. and i think if you look back to the way this weekend evolved, he was upset that steph curry said
he wasn't going to go to the white house. and he was in alabama and he knew this would be well received, and called these players sobest who take a knee and said they should be fired. so what he did, you could see it sort of play out. he took one thing and strung it into another. and it's all about personal grievance. it's not about, you know, i know what sara huckabee said. you can disagree about colin kaepernick or not. but for this president it's personal. and he knows the protest in one way or another is aimed at him. he sees it aimed at him even though it's against the police, et cetera, et cetera. so i think when you look at these things, you have to look at it through the very personal lens that the president looks at it through. it's not about uniting the public. it's about dividing the public
at his own expense, i think. >> you know, mark preston, some compared the president's angry reaction to the nfl protest with his tepid reaction to the white supremacist protest in charlottesville, virginia. as he said there are fine people on both sides in those respective crowds. why do you think that's the case? what do you think is under way? >> well a couple of things. i don't think donald trump is a racist. and i think people want to jump to those conclusions. but i do think there is a difference with how he handled this crisis right here, that he saw, and what we saw back in august down in charlottesville. what he was doing was playing to his base in august. and for any one to say otherwise is not true. what was doing to playing to his base in alabama. what we saw from colin
kaepernick, and nfl players and curry, and from the baseball players as well, is they are standing up and taking a stand. shouldn't we be applauding them for that and actually being engaged politically in the process right now? ? steed of trying to stop it. what we have seen within the last 24 hours from the president is he's trying to stop free speech. >> you know sources are telling k cnn that the white house chief of staff kelly isn't happy to pick this specific fight with the nfl of the do you think we'll see administration officials openly criticize the president, at least like some of them after the charlottesville controversy? >> it's definitely possible, wolf. we saw him come out and criticize the president. now we are hearing that kelly behind closed door is not
pleased with this fight that erupted over the weekend. i was there on friday night, and minutes before the president made these controversy remarks about these nfl players, he brought john kelly on the stage to praise what a job he's done in the white house. as you know, he was brought in to repla to replace preadvice and bring order to the west wing. and there are two things he can't troecontrol, what the president says at rallies and tweets. and we have seen over a dozen tweets from the president. >> as you know the president is responding to the backlash on twitter. the issue of kneeling has nothing to do with race. it is about respect for our country, flag and national anthem. nfl must respect this. but as you know, gloria, racial in justice, that was central to colin kaepernick reasoning for starting these protest s in the
first place. does the president not realize that or just want to avoid the politics? >> sure, he wants to avoid the racial politics. he tried to avoid it, and failed, with charlottesville. because what he wants to say is this is about the flag. and other people might say this is about race, and this is about the first amendment. and this is about people's right to kneel. you can disagree with them. but it is his right to do that. and i think, you know, the president clearly felt the backlash of this from the team owners who have given him lots of money to his campaign in the past, including his friend craft. and, you know, feels backed up against the wall so he had to tweet this isn't about race. but, in fact, it's hard to say that it is about anything else. nobody wants to come out and say, oh, yeah this is about race, and this is why i said this. but it's hard to see that it's
about anything else. i don't recall the president saying that it was a bad thing that tom brady didn't go to the white house, but disinvited curry and the entire team. so i think the question has to be raised about the way the president views things and the way he sees things and the lens through which he views things. and it's all about his own personal grievance. >> you know, mark, the president thanked nascar for its stance on the flag and the anthem. he tweeted this. i'll put it up on the screen. so proud of nascar and supporters and fans. they won't put up with disrespecting our country and flag. they said it loud and clear. as in contrast to the nascar both are overwhelmingly white and fan base. was that a revealing tweet by the president? >> it was a revealing tweet.
and quite honestly hate to disappoint him, but it was a little early, because nascar put out a statement 1:00 eastern time today where they said not only the national anthem is a hallmark to their pregame festivities, however, they do agree that people have the right to protest peacefully. so i think donald trump might have got out in front of himself a little bit. but, again, that's another example, wolf, president trump trying to play to his base. i'm not saying that all nascar people who enjoy the sport are backing donald trump, but clearly he thinks that, and that's why we saw something along those lines. >> everybody stick around. i want to alert our viewers and let everyone know there is a special cnn debate tonight. the fight over the obamacare. senator sanders and klobuchar will join us as debate graham-cassidy on health care tonight 9:00 p.m. tonight on
cnn. jake tapper and dana bash will monitor that debate. coming up north korea ratchets up war of words threatening to shoot down jets even if they aren't flying over north korea territory. what if we filter it over and over? oh dear. thank goodness zerowater's five-stage filter gets to all zeroes the first time. so maybe it's time to upgrade. get more out of your water. get zerowater. to find smarter solutions. to offer more precise and less invasive treatment options than before. like advanced genomic testing and immunotherapy. see how we're fighting to outsmart cancer at cancercenter.com/outsmart
jong-un's regime is threatening to shoot down american bombers that might fly close to north korea even if the planes are outside of north korean airspace. we're getting serious warnings from former u.s. diplomats and intelligence officials that the president's increasingly tough talk toward pyongyang might provoke a dangerous confrontation. tonight the war of words over north korea has turned into words of war after pyongyang's foreign minister said outside the u.n. today his country viewed recent threats by president trump as acts of aggression. >> translator: the whole world should remember it was the united states who first declared war on our country. >> reporter: north korea's ramped up rhetoric comes after american b1b lancer bombers and fighter jets flaw off of south korea's -- flew off the south korea's coast in international waters, a move designed as a show of force and seen as kim jong-un's regime as a provocation. >> translator: we will have every right to take all self-defensive counter measures
including the right to shoot down u.s. strategic bombers at any time, even when they are not yet inside the airspace border of our country. >> if the north koreans even attempted to act on that threat, what do you think would happen? >> that's an act of war. that's an aggressive act on the part of north korea to come after a united states asset. i think they'd got after the exact target it went out. if i fire -- if a fighter came out, they would take it out. if it was a missile, they would destroy the missile location. >> reporter: they moved to say america is not at war with kim jong-un but the pentagon says "u.s. forces are always ready to fight tonight." the white house calls the idea that president trump has declared war absurd. >> it's never appropriate for a country to shoot down another country's aircraft when it's in international waters. our goal is still the same -- we seek the peaceful denuclearization of the current peninsula. >> reporter: president trump went after the foreign minister
on twitter saying, "if he echoes the thoughts of little rocket man they won't be around much longer." that followed insults friday. >> little rocket man, we can't have mad men out there shooting rockets all over the place. >> reporter: tonight former u.s. diplomats and intelligence officials are warning the president's increasingly tough talk on north korea could be pushing the countries toward a real and dangerous confrontation. >> if the goal is to try to provoke the north korean leader and north korea into some sort of violent reaction, this is the way to do it, frankly. >> reporter: experts warn kim jong-un is notoriously thin skinned, that because of a desire to save face, kim might feel he has to respond, or he could misinterpret the president's talk. >> the north koreans may convince themselves based on some of the rhetoric that they're hearing that the united states is preparing to strike them, and before that strike takes place, the north koreans might opt to strike first. >> reporter: we reached out
repeatedly to the white house to respond to this concern, that president trump's increasingly tough rhetoric risks a real confrontation with kim jong-un. they did not respond to us. wolf? >> brian, have the president's top national security advisers including his chief of staff, retired general john kelly, national security adviser general h.r. mcmaster, still on active duty, and defense secretary james mattis, also a retired general, have they advised him to dial back his rhetoric against north korea? >> reporter: there are conflicting reports about that. the "los angeles times" has reported that some of his advisers including h.r. mcmaster say they warned president trump not to personally attack kim jong-un during the speech at the u.n. last week, concerned it could escalate tension, and the president ignored them. today, white house prep secretary sarah sanders said that was a false narrative and the president's advisers were happy about the speech. the new york types reported that the president's security team has decided not to rein in his more provocative statements.
the bottom line is nobody's able to rein him in in any event. >> the escalation of rhetoric continues. a very dangerous situation, indeed. brian today reporting, thank you very much. coming up, more on the breaking news. the white house defends president trump's attacks on nfl players who have silently protested racial injustice during the national anthem. the nfl answers the attacks with a show of solidarity by players, coaches, and even some of the owners. days ago... love golf. i used to love golf. wait, what, what happened? i was having a good round, and then my friend, sheila, right as i was stepping into the tee box mentioned a tip a pro gave her. no. yep. did it help? it completely ruined my game. well, the truth is, that advice was never meant for you. i like you. you want to show me your swing? it's too soon. get advice that's right for you. investment management services from td ameritrade. hi, i'm the internet! you knoarmless bowling.lt?
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happening now, breaking news. kneejerk reaction, the white house forced to play defense as the backlash to the president's attack on protesting players intensifies. his call, a call for firing those who kneel during the national anthem, showing solidarity and criticism of his remarks. has the president launched a culture war? road to war? north korea accuses president trump of declaring war and says it now has the right to shoot down u.s. planes anywhere. the white house calls the claim absurd while president trump hurls insults at kim jong-un. how will the dictator respond? racing for fail -- bracing for failure. protests disrupt the one and only hearing on senate republicans' health care plan. their latest effort to repeal obamacare is in serious danger of complete collapse while the bill's backers are desperately and urgently trying to get the votes they ne