tv CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin CNN June 5, 2018 11:00am-12:00pm PDT
hi there. i'm brooke baldwin. you are watching cnn. we are moments away from this white house press briefing where sarah sanders will be taking the podium and answering questions about why the philadelphia eagles are not invited to the white house today. the white house releasing a statement "quote, the vast majority of the eagles team decided to abandon their fans." trump tweeting, "unfortunately
only a small number of players decided to come and we cancelled
the event. staying in the lock er room for playing of
the national anthem is disrespectful to our country. sorry." tis isn't the first time we've heard the president outraged over the nfl. >> in my opinion, the nfl has to change. or you know what's going to happen? their business is going to go to hell. >> you have to stand proudly for the national anthem or you should be playing. you shouldn'te there. maybe you shouldn't be in the country. >> now, the only problem is the eagles did not take a knee during the national anthem. they did stand. and linked arms in a sign of unity and they were on the field, not in the locker room during the entire regular season. so let's go to the white house to our senior correspondent there, pamela brown, who is standing by in that briefing room. pamela, no eagles players took a knee in protest during the regular season, but this white house called off this whole
thing pretty abruptly is my understanding yesterday. canou take us inside this decision? >> reporter: it certainly was abrupt, just a day before the philadelphia eagles team members were supposed to come here to the white house the white house released this statement saying that they were disinvited essentially. this is an unprecedented decision, a time-honored tradition here for the super bowl champs to come here to the white house. what doesn't add up is the white house was saying this has to do with the national anthem. but as you pointed out, no philadelphia eagles teammates actually took a knee during the regular season or spent time in the locker room during the national anthem during the regular season. so the idea that this has to do with the national anthem simply doesn't add up. now, the white house released a follow-up statement today saying that there have been conversations going since february with the team, that in late may team members said there would be 81 representatives of the philadelphia eagles coming to the white house and then they just found out recently there
will be less than ten members. so it is clear that this is an attempt to avoid embarrass for the president with less than ten members of the eagles coming to the white house. also worth noting a philadelphia eagles team member told m colleague jake tapper that the national anthem concern never came up in these conversations that have been going since february. so there will be a celebration today, just without the team member. there will be fans of the philadelphia eagles, the marine band will play the national anthem. what is clear here, brooke, is that this is an attempt by the president to play to his base. he knows talking about the national anthem, standing for it plays well with his base. it appears to be an idea to deflect from the idea that less than ten members were coming to the white house and make this more about patriotism. >> pampamela, thank you very.
let's take a closer look. chris, as a former player, let me just start with you. listen, you can listen to inds . one camp says this is a total -- it's disrespecting the white house for turning down this elite invitation to go be with the president. obviously these players feel differently. can you put yourself in these guys shoes and understand first and foremost why they would turn the invite down? >> i think when you talk about invite to the white house, it is an honor when that happens. these guys are men, it's not just about the nfl player. as a man that does a job playing in the nfl, there are concerns and those concerns are not just as a man but as an american citizen. if they see that there are things that are wrong, if they
feel like things aren't being addressed, they're just not willing to do a photo-op to do it. and i continue to think, you know, it's been crazy with all these things going on, i keep thinking about with all the cancer advocacy work that i do and i think of hown somebody is fighting for their live or they really feel like that something is wrong is they're not willing to do just a photo-op either. and i think that's what it comes down to is america is great because of our willingness to allow people to advocate, our willingness to challenge people to see things that are wrong and challenge our leadership to do better. if we're willing to do that, that's what allows us to be great, that's what allows us to move forward. it's when we get in the way of that, things are not great. >> well, the president was turious, this is what we're hearing. that's when he cancelled this whole ceremony. you think of the optics, the photo-on. crowd size is a thing. so kelvin, to you, no eagles
player took a knee during the regular season. is this just about crowd size and what that photo would look like on tomorrow morning's paper? >> brooke, you know that it is. you know that it comes down to the narcissism of our president and having to look as if he is the best and having to look as he is all powerful and everyone loves me. it was said to be around ten players or maybe less. how would that look? that would be embarrassing? instead of having a conversation with those players and you go back to the season last year, he called them s.o.b.s. you just heard on the clib p he played, you can get out of the country. get out of the country. people say that when they're upset with african-americans, they would say you can go back to afrihe uses these code words continues to play the fiddle with the puppet master with the nfl. should we go this way, should we
do this, should we kneel, not kneel? do you even recall when there was a moment earlier last season when only two of the 1,500 players of the n kneele two, and yet the president called them s.o.b.s. next thing you saw jerry jones and other owners kneeling as well. the nfl themselves don't know what to do. i think this is bigger with the nfl than it is with the president. he just says what he wants. but the nfl needs to find out what the players want and have a relationship with their players and stop alienating them. >> i want to follow up on that. another side piece of this story is fox news. fox is forced to apologize because they throw up this video of the eagles taking a knee only they're taking a knee in prayer. tell me more about that. >> brooke, that's exactly right. on shannon's program on fox news trump uninviting the team from the white house. the issue is the pichat
they showed on the screen at the same time supported this false idea that the philadelphia eagles knelt in protest during the national anthem because those pictures with were actually a philadelphia eagle players kneeling in prayer, not during the national anthem. one of the philadelphia eagle players tweeted to fox news, he said this was fox, he called it propaganda. and as a result fox news has now apologized, issued a statement admitting the error. the anchor has always tweeted admitting the error and asking for people to accept their apologize. and they also deleted the tweet that showed this video. the issue is that a lot more people probably watched that show than might necessarilythe . and the problem is that it supported this false idea, again, that the philadelphia eagles were kneeling in protest when in fact they not at all. >> they were praying. >> let me go to the statement, this is part of the statement from the president when he disinvited the eagles. "the philadelphia eagles were unable to come to the white
house with their full team to be celebrated tomorrow. they disagree with their president because he insists that they proudly stand with ei honor of the great heros of our country." >> it really is an affront to everyone out there. we have guys who have real concerns and their right to be able to stand up and protest and voice those concerns shouldn't be scuttled. every time we keep trying to make this about a national anthem oomething like that, we get away from the real issue and we need to go back to the real issue. i think what makes the philadelphia eagles great, what makes the super bowl team great is that super bowl teams face the real issue. they see the problems on their
teams and they fix those problems. them.t just keep dancing that's why the eagles won. >> your whole point is to be a championship team, you got problems, you fix a team and you listen. are aying -- what is it that you're not saying? are youing that someone else that we're discussing isn't listening? >> no, what i'm saying is there's definitely people that aren't listening, but that is the difficulty of being a team. you have to be willing to do that. it's not good enough to say there are sides. the only side is america. thes the united states right now. if we can't get together, we hurt our team. so every time somebody's trying to pick sides, that's where we lose. >> kelvin, quickly, just back over to you. i wanted to go back to your point on code words. one final thought i was reading a sports reporter who made a point about there are certain sports that the president really hails, right? nascar, golf, the olympics. it seems football and the target ofadministrationire.
why do you think that is? >> brooke, we know why that is. both of them are predominantly black. both 75% to 80% black players. the nfl doesn't know what they want to do. they changed their policies based off of them. he's upset he couldn't get an nfl team. he's still mad about that. he has a revenge issue with that. in the nba, they work with their players. they allow their players to express how they feel, they allow those players to use and advocate for certain social justices. they have a relationship they're building with their players. they're not alienating them and making them feel they're less with. that's what the nfl will have some big issues come this fall. nobody wants to see it but itse road. >> that event happening at the white house where they're going to be playing out the national anthem happens next hour.
still ahead, also at the white house, we're waiting for sarah sanders to take questions at the briefing. that will happen in mere out this eagles event today. she's also going to get asked about this pressure assault on his attorney general jeff sessions, again blaming him the russia probe, tweeting he should have chosenlomeone else for the job again. an #bye-bye bikini, miss amer scrapping the swim suit competition after 97 years. by the way, don't call it a pageant. it's now a competition for all shapes and sizes. you're watching cnn. i'm brooke baldwin. boom. love it. [struggles] show me the carfax. start your used car search at the all-new carfax.com. that i served. of the fact i was a c130 mechanic in the corps, so i'm not happy unless my hands are dirty. between running a business
and four kids, we're busy. auto insurance, homeowner's insurance, life insurance policies. knowing that usaa will always have my back... that's just one lehing you have to worry about. i couldn't imagine going anywhere else. the like a friend of the family. we are the cochran family, and we'll be usaa members for life. save by bundling usaa home and auto insurance. get a quote today. until her laptop crashed this her salon wasmorning.for weeks, having it problems? business advisor how to get on demand tech support for as little as $15 a month. get your coupon for 20% off supplies, technology and furniture at office depot office max. but prevagen helps your brain with an ingredient originally discovered... in jellyfish. in clinical trials, prevagen has been shown to improve short-term memory. prevagen. the name to remember. prevagen has been shown
allow you to take advantage of growth opportunities... with a level of protection in down markets. so you can be less concerned about your retirement savi h your advisor about shield annuities from brighthouse financial- established by metlife. no one thought much of itm at all.l people said it just made a mess
we're back. you're watching cnn. terribly sad news from the world of fashion today. american designer kate spade has been found dead at her park avenue apartment in new york city. new york police source tells cnn she was found hanged by a scarf, hanging by a scarf in an apparent suicide. her body was reportedly found by her housekeeping. social media already erupting with tributes as word of her death spreads. she was part of a powerful group of designers who emerged in the 90s. i have guest here with me.
jean, first to you. what do people know? >> i don't think anybody knows the ways. all they know are facts, alleged a police c came into the police department unit. they said kate spade was found hanged by a scarf on her door knob. it's believed she hanged herself. a note was also found. we don't know where in relation to the body. but this all became very real just minutes ago because the new york medical examiner's office went inside with a gurney about an hour ago and just minutes ago they brought out what is believed to be a body cov by a white sheet. and of course she leaves a husband, her business partner, young daughter and the international fashion community is shocked, as ishe kate spade company. they did give a statement just minutes ago. kate spade, the visionary, founder of our brand has passed.
our thoughts are with her family at this incredibly heartbreaking time. we honor all the beauty she brought into this world. and the national designers of the america, diane von firstenberg said they are devastated at the loss of their colleague. >> you met so many different designers. one of whom i imagine was kate spade. reading about her, she was originally the accessories editor of "mad"madamoiselle" magazine. can you talk to me about that? >> yeah, i really met her first at glamour. she started as the accessory
the same company as glamour. by i waso inspired by the fact that when she working as an editor, she felt she couldn't find the bags exactly right for her so she had the gumption and the daring to quit her job and decide to make bags and an entire eventually lifestyle brand but just reflected her. you shopped in her stores a bought those bags and you really felt like you are getting to know her as a person. when you met her, she was that brand. one of the most important parts of her legacy as a designer and artistic visionary was that she understood that women are going to respond to things that feel like they're made by a human, that they're expressing somebody's personality, that if you put a pulset and every kind of fiber of your being, people are going to respond. and now that's kind of a given.
everybody wants to create their own personal lifestyle brand. but that was new at the time. and, you know, in a lot of ways, the contemporary version of it really came from her. >> kate bennett, over to you. we're about the same age. i remember when my mom bought me my first kate spade bag. i treated it like a piece of art with the white kate spade label on the outside. it breaks my heart to to think of leaving behind this 13-year-old daughter. >> it's such a sad story. i think we all remember our first kate spade and the term kate spade became a thing. can i borrow your kate spade? are you going to bring your kate spade? it very much became an embodied her brand and who she was, as cindy was saying. even chelsea clinton today tweeted saying "i remember my first kate spade, my grandmother got it for me" when she was in
college. and if you know someone struggling with depression, speak up, say something. kay spade just launched a new line called francis valentine, was trying to find footing in the fashion industry, using her creativity and brilliance to mount that climb to the top of the fashion pile. and clearly her legacy is so much that kate spade label you and i just talked about. >> what about kate spade the woman? let's throw the picture back up. she's got -- you think of her as the bufont hair and the glasses. just that personality, for all the fans out there who have never met her, tell us more just about the woman. >> she really was all those things you would think if you were looking at that picture.
she talked about how one of the inspirations -- >> forgive me, cindy. let's go to the white house. >> the economy has created nearly 3 million jobs and the unemployment rate has fallen to 3.8%, matching the lowest level in 50 years. job openings hit a record high of 6.7 million in april, meaning job openings outnumber those that are unemployed. american workers looking for new opportunities are finding them because of this president's policies of lower taxes, deregulation and fair and reciprocal trade. america's economic potential has been unleashed. i've invited the chairman of the president's council of economic advisers, kevin hassett, to join us today and offer more details about the growing economy and answer questions on that topic. after that i'll take questions on news of the day. >> i watch these things a lot. i notice not everybody is always
in the best mood so i told sarah charts.u guys need are some so we've got some charts for you today. so i think that sarah said it best, that we're in, as the president has tweene of the best economies i've seen in my career. and that there are a number of facts that have developed over the last few months that e, i think, confirming some of the stuff we talked about last fall when we talked about, gosh, was it maybe november, the tax bill and the economic impact that the tax bill might have on the economy. the president has pursued a trade agenda and deregulation. we're beginning to see the effects of this in the data. the first supplied is one of my favorite ways to look at a summary of how the economy is doing is look at the gdp growth from the previous year. when president ran for office and when i came in, we were looking ahead to 3% growth,
everybody said no, no, no, we've got a new normal, the blue lines during the obama years where we've got growth in the 1s up to 2s but we could never get 3% growth again. in the latest datat we have, we have growth that's just a smidgen less than 3% and the atlanta fed is that second quarter gdp will be high enough to make the year-over-year growth 3.1 or 3.2. we've gone from a new normal of low growth to just normal, which is the 3% growth that americans used to expect. could i have the next slide, please. in this chart i want to show something that we again talked about in the fall, which is that the one of the reasons why we had such low growth in the previous administration is it was so anti-business and it was basically discouraging capital formation in the u.s. with inappropriate tax policy and high regulation. and you can see that in the data if you look at the blue dot from
q1-2015 to q4-2015, it stayed about the same level. subsequently after the election, to go up and now that we passed the tax bill, you can see capital spending skyrocketing and that higher capital spending is one of the key factors driving growth at this time. i can remember way, way back in the fall saying that if we passed the tax bill, we'd expect to see capital spending this year higher by about 10%. if you look at the last bar in the first quarter of gdp this year, capital spending was up 9.2%. >> this is the top of the briefing. kevin hassett there, council of economic advisers, he joked off top he was going to bring somec. so with that e really do want to hear what sarah huckabee sanders has to say.
with tremfya®, you can get clearer and stay clearer. in fact, most patients who saw 90% clearer skin at 28 stayed clearer through 48 weeks. tremfya® works better than humira® at providing clearer skin and more paties were symptom free with tremfya®. tremfya® may lower your ability to fight infections, and may increase your risk of infections. before treatment, your doctor should check you for infections and tuberculosis. tell your doctor if you have an infection or have symptoms such as fever, sweats, chills, muscle aches or cough. before starting tremfya®, tell your doctor if you plan to or have recently received a vaccine. ask your doctor about tremfya®. tremfya®, because you deserve to stay clearer. janssen wants to help you explore cost support options for tremfya®. it's just a burst pipe, i could fix (laugh) no. with claim rateguard your rates won't go up just beacuase of a claim. i totally could've... (wife) nope! switching to allstate is worth it.
try zyrtec®. it's starts working hard at hour one. and works twice as hard when you take it again the next d stick with zyrtec® and muddle no more®. we're back, live pictures inside the press briefing. as soon as sarah sanders takes the podium, we'll take it in full. mean time, 340 days since robert mueller's investigation. be the president tweeted "so
much time and money wasted and sessions knew better than most that there was no paul manafort is now accused of witness tampering and may be forced to wait for his criminal trials behind bars. this coming a couple of days after the man to tried to downplay his ties. he was under surveillance at one point in 2014. the president tweeted "paul manafort came into the campaign very late, he was with us for a short period of time, but we should have been told that comey and the boys were doing a number on him and he wouldn't have been hired!" shimon prokupecz is all over
this. tell us what you know. what's mueller saying? >> the deadline to respond is in a few days, saturday. this a significant accusation here in that they're essentially accusing manafort to trying to influence witnesses, trying to get favorable testimony, trying to shape their testimony so that it's favorable to him. and the way in which he went about this was using beside calling some of these people, he was using encrypted to and communicate with them. perhaps the argument here could be made he was trying to avoid anyone seeing these communications so you go into encrypted -- >> taking extra steps. >> correct. thatlso is something that the government can use because it goes to consciousness of guilt. this could potentially force him back into jail where he will have to spend time awaiting the trial. really what's significant here is the amount of work already
that the fbi has done to try and put this investigation together, this influence investigation. they have their search warrants, they went into his icloud and were ableo see some of these messages, phone records to see who he was calling. this is something that the fbi and department of justice take very, very seriously. what you can potentially do is shape testimony, it can change, make people afraid to come forward. when you read the 90-page court document that the special counsel filed yesterday, it just tells you how seriously they're taking is. he's not facing any charges for this right now but he could at some point. they could decide to bring federal charges. in the end this tells us it's mounting pressure on paul manafort. there are some believe that ultimately the government wants him to cooperate with their investigation. >> thus the pressure and pressure and pressure for him to cooperate. stay with me. i want to bring in former
federal prosecutor jennifer rogers and national political report mave restin. i'd love for shimon to jump in on this. we know the president is considering a pardon last week, he's considering a couple of others. what do you think this is saying that mule seller is volleying r back? >> i think he's saying i have eyes on everything. i'm monitoring encrypted messages, i'm not afraid to go into the icloud. as much this presint has tried to discredit this investigation and has succeeded to an extent among republicans, it's certainly a signalo t but it's a signal to other people who have maybe small bits and pieces of this investigation to make it clear that, you know, that he's not messing around and that this is a very serious
matter. and trump seems to keep putting tweets out there and having his advisers essentially suggest that he's above the and mueller i think is saying not so fast. >> yes. and on the witness tampering, how would this affect the overall -- and putting the pressure on not on for manafort but for others to cooperate? >> for manafort himself, he may be going to prison now. that really -- >> despite his $10 million bond, he could be whoop! >> correct. >> if he's using his time out on bond to tamper with witnesses, they're going to want to stop that from happening. >> it's extremely serious. >> so may go in. they may bring additional charges. they can bring it in at trial, even if there aren't separate
charges, it's consciousness of guilt. i don't think it's correct to say they were monitoring what he was talking about. i believe what happened here is that witnesses they were interviewing in the case disclosed to mule aelle and his team that they had been contacted by either and intermediary or manafort himself. this would have come from the witnesses and they would have worked backward to make that case. >> got you. mave, as you know capitol hill quite well, senator ted cruz was up the hill yesterday. he was asked about what he thought about the president's tweet from yesterday where he said he had the absolute right to pardon himself. so one of the reporters is shouting this question at the texas senator and this is cruz's response but you have to wait for it. >> reporter: senator, the president says he can pardon himself. would you agree with that?
>> we'll get back to that. let's go to sarah sanders at the briefing. >> with that i will take your questions. >> on the president's decision to disinvite the eagles, he's suggesting this is about the national anthem. is the president aware not a single player throughout the season knelt during the national anthem? >> the president's position on not just the anthem has been clear but let's not forget this isn't -- there were 80 members of the eagles organization rsvp'd and committed to attend this event as recently as friday, as well as over a thousand fans of the eagles organization, and the eagles are the ones that tried to changer
hour and the president frankly thinks that the fans deserve better than that and, therefore, we changed the ceremony to be a focus on celebrating our great country. >> why does he say this is about the national anthem? we heard from steph curry and lebron james, that whoever wins the nba championship, they're unlikely to be here. is this something about the national anthem or more than the national anthem? >> if it wasn't a political stunt, they wouldn't have planned to attend the event and backed out at the last minute and they wouldn't have attempted to reschedule the visit when they knew that the president was going to be overseas and thif ts wasn't a political stunt, they wouldn't have waited until monday, well after a thousand fans have traveled to --
>> reporter: this isn't about at anthem. it about so few players coming in the end, correct? >> the president has been very clear what his position is in regards to the national anthem. the president thinks people should stand for the national anthem. particularly when it comes to the nfl, it's not about a particular team, it's about having pride in our country and about being respectful to the men and women who have fought and died to preserve our country. in terms of this, the eagles were the ones who changed their commitment at the last minute. the president felt it was appropriate to change the vant to be a celebration to celebrate our country. >> you referred us to the outside counsel on the statement that done jr. was involved in. the outside counsel did say the president did dictate the ent. rudy giuliani was on cnn saying it was a mistake to say the prident didn't dictate it. do you want to correct the
record on your statement from august when you say he certainly didn't dictate? >> once again, i'm not going to go into detail and go into a back and forth. i know that you guys would love to engage on matters of conversations between the special counsel and the outside counsel, but we purposefully wald off a walled off and i'm not going to talk about the outside counsel. >> you talked about . why can't you correctt now? >> i'm not going to deal with questions that deal with the -- >> are you not going to answer the question? >> i'm not going to get into a back and forth with you on that. i'd refer you to the outside counsel. >> reporter: the president won pennsylvania by a small margin. does he risk losing voters in that state? >> certainly we would hope that all of the people of pennsylvania would shayrre the
president's commitment to the national anthem and to our country. it not meant to be a sleight to everybody, it's something the president has been very clear on. >> reporter: on thursday what will be on the agenda? trade issues? and the president said the other day that japan, china and south korea can economic assistance to north korea and does the president plan to raise this issue with prime minister abe? >> i'm not going to get ahead of the president's meeting with the prime minister, but we certainly anticipate the summit with north korea. that will be next week to come up as well as trade issues and other matters. and we'll be happy to provide a readout and the president will speak to that tomorrow. josh. >> the administrator scott pruitt asked that helped his fe got a franchise.
does the president think that's ethical behavior? >> i haven't spoken to the president about that. >> to her question in asking about special counsel, the only question is do you think your statement in august was accurate. your statement, not his? was your statement accurate or inaccurate? >> again, i know yo to get me a back and forth. >> it's not a back and forth. we just want to know if it was accurate or not. >> i know you want to engage me in a conversation about the outside counsel. >> i said something from the podium. was it accurate or not? >> i think you all know i'm an honest person who works extremely hard to provide you with accuratenformaon at all times. i'm going to continue to do that but i'm not going to engage on matters that deal with the outside counsel. >> justin. >> i think you were asked a question earlier is the reason you're unwilling to engage on this either because you have already or you just yourself had
to talk to the special counsel about this -- >> it's because the appropriate venue for these questions to be addressed would be through the outside counsel. >> so -- on ebola evenfunding, should we see the tweets as inaccurately concluding that it was money that was no longer needed and if that's happened just in the last couple months why that wouldn't be true for other areas of budget the administration has targeted going forward? >> not necessarily but i would refer you to omb to get into the details of that. we'll be happy to provide additional information also over the next few days on specifics. john. >> the president again to a stick to his favorite pinata, jeff sessions today. what is the president's goal here? is it simpl to remind the
attorney general that he's really p.o.'d at him? is he trying to get him to quit? is he trying to emasculate him? i mean, what is the president trying to do? >> look, the president's made his position on this extremely clear and i don't have anything to add beyond that. just because you laughed the hardest at john's joke, i feel you've earned the right to the next question. >> the president tweeted today he was concerned that the fbi was weakening or slow walking the d.o.j. investigation into the hillary clinton e-mail investigation handled by fbi director james comey. what is he basing that c on? is it based on conversations that he's had with fbi personnel currently, or is it simply an observation based on the past? >> i think the president would like to see this process move faster. they've been obsessed with a number of other issues, which they've spent a great deal of
time on. >> does he think it's appropriate to encourage the inspector general released based on his timeline rather than their own? >> he wants full transparency but he wants it expedited and finished quickly. >> i wanted to follow up on josh's question and sarah's question but in a larger sense. the president, whether it's on his twitter account or otherwise, keeps saying things that are not borne out by the facts, whether it is the eagles thing is about the national anthem or we got $6 billion for opioids and getting rid of that scourge that's taking over our country and the numbers are way down, and so the president keeps saying things that aren't true and this thing with dictating statement -- >> what's your question? if you could get there.
>> why if things that you keep saying from the podium turn out to not be true and things the president keeps saying in a number of venues keep turning out not to be true, why should we be able to trust that the information we're getng fro this administration is accurate and, more importantly, why should americans be able to trust that what they hear from this white house is always the truth? >> once again, i don't know how many times i have to address this, but i work every single day to give you accurate and up-to-day information. i'm going to continue to do that. frankly, i think my credibility is higher than the media's. i think in large part that's because you guys spend more of your time focused on attacking the president instead of reporting the news. i think if you spent a little bit more time reporting the news instead of trying to tear me down, you might see we're working hard to provide you good
information and trying to provide that same good information to the american people. >> sorry, andrea. i gave you q bit of time. john, go ahead. >> i wanted to get your reaction to a statement put out by a player on the eagles, a strong safety, malcolm jenkins. he put out a statement today in which he said that the decision made by the president to cancel this event celebrating the super bowl victory by the eagles paints the picture that these players are anti-america, anti-flag, and anti-military. what is your response to what malcolm jenkins put in a statement today? >> i addressed this a few times. again, the eagles were the ones that committed to an event on friday. they submitted over 80 members of the eagles franchise for the event, along with over a thousand fans to participate and it was the eagles organization that tried to change their commitment at the 11th hour.
once again, if this wasn't a political stunt, they wouldn't have planned to attend the event and then backed out. if it wasn't a political stunt, they wouldn't have attempted to sidentldee an event for when out of the country and they wouldn't have waited until the very last minute to make these changes thif this wasn't about some kind of political statement they were trying to make towards this president. cecilia. >> reporter: are you saying the president bears zero responsibility in this cancellation? this is a president who called nfl players s.o.b.s, who implied some players who do not stand for the national anthem don't belong in this country. does he bear zero responsibility for like the cavsot wanting to come and the eagles bailing? >> his position hasn't changed throughout the process the president's position was very clearly stated in a number
of forums and venus. the eagles made a commitment to come and be part of the event well after the president had established his feelings in regards to the national anthem. once again, they made that change at the last minute,ot the president. he's the one that has been completely consistent in his viewpoint when it comes to this. steve. >> sarah, the president last year broke with recent tradition and did not host an [ inaudible ] dinner. is he hosting one this year and how were the invitees selected? >> he is hosting a dinner tomorrow evening. there will be roughly to 30 to 40 different attendees. i'll be happy to provide you with more specifics. it takes place around 8:45 tomorrow evening. >> let me ask you about two possible trade deals. one involving the chinese in which it would be $70 billion of buying american products if the
united states would back off its threat of tariffs. is that something that president trump would support? >> we're in the negotiation process and as kevin said and as the president stated many times before, our focus is to m sure we gd deals. i'm not here to make an announcement what those look like. he's going to push forward to get the best deal for american workers. >> reporter: larry kudlow said today that maybe the president wants to deal with canada solely, with mexico solely and that the idea of negotiating nafta might beone at this point. is the possibility of getting to a nafta deal done as this administration sees it? >> it's not done, but again, the president is open to having individual deals, but he's looking at the best way to make sure he gets the best deal possible for american workers and whether or not that's through nafta or other means, those options are on the table. john. >> thank you, sara.
back to the issue of presidential pardons, there's been considerable furor in illinois among republicans, particularly supporters of the president and allies in congress, such as congressman randy ultran about him even commuting the sentence of former governor rod blagojevich. several party activists of the congressman are becoming increasingly outspoken. is he going to commutation or is he backing down and is he aware of criticism of supporters of his? >> the president hasn't made a final decision. the president doesn't base his decision on the criticism of others but on what he thinks is right. dave. >> reporter: the president was meeting with lawmakers here this afternoon. what's on the agenda? >> a number of items will be
discussed at that event. we'll be sure to provide info afterwards. >> reporter: does the president still think his response to the hurricane in puerto rico deserves a 10 out of 10 score now that estimate say almost 5,000 people died there? >> the federal response once again was at an historic proportion. we're continuing to work with the people of puerto rico and do the best we can to provide federal assistance, particularly working with the governor there in puerto rico and we'll continue to do so. peter. >> reporter: any concern about the massive volume of the death toll there? >> the administration came out of the bakers freedom of speech. why is it different with the athletes? >> the supreme court rightly concluded that the colorado civil rights commission failed to show tolerance and respect
for his religious beliefs. in this case and others the department of justice will continue to vigorously defend the free speech and religious freedom first amendment rights. >> reporter: so my question is . if the white house supports the baker'sight of free speech, why doesn't the white house support the players' right to free speech? >> the president doesn't think this is an issue of free speech. he thinks it's about respecting the men and women of our military, it's about respecting our national anthem and standing out of pride for at ththat. >> will the president then if it is about free speech and he supports these ideas, will the president commit to a roundtable with america's athletes on topics of social injustice. >> i'd be happy to have him. >> is it not something that has had any discussion to this point given all the division in this country over this topic of social injustice? >> certainly we look at ways
every day to unify our country. the president has worked actively and tirelessly to be the president of all americans. i think can you see that reflected in the policies that he's put forth. i think one of the biggest thing that you've seen come out of this administration frankly that is far and vastly different than previous administrations is providing economic opportunity for all americans and one of the greatest equalizer that we can have is to provide a level playing field and the president has worked increasingly hard to make sure that happens. kevin spoke about that earlier and he's going to continue to do that. one last question. steven. >> reporter: is the president aware it's not about disrespecting the flag. >> steven, go ahead. >> reporter: answer that. >> reporter: it's an underlying issue. there are black and brown soldiers that fight in the military as well who feel that taking a knee, bringing an attention to police-involved
shootings is something that this white house should deal with. is the president aware that taking the knee is about police-involved shootings? >> the president has made his position crystal clear and that interrupt me and your colleague. i'm going to ask that you allow me to finish my answer. i would be happy to answer it if you would stop talking long enough to let me do that. the president has made his position crystal clear on this topic. he feels strongly that standing for our national anthem is something that we should do, something thatters to what makes our country special and unique and what sets us apart. he's not going to waiver on that. he's not going to apologize f it. and, frankly, more than 70% of americans agree with him on that matter. if you go back to what the original intent was, this has been made a political argument of which the president is not going to back down from and he's been clear on it. stephen, last question. april, i've addressed your question, i'm not going to continue to engage with you.
>> he is now telling people they have to stand. will the president deal with the issue o officer-involved shootings. >> let me ask you about scott pruitt. because the two republicans who represent iowa in the senate have had it with the epa administrator. chuck grassley said pruitt has betrayed the president, joanie ernst said he's as swampy as you can get. let me ask you how is it in the face of all that we've learned, how is it that president trump continues to have confidence in the administrator, assuming that he still does? >> once again, i haven't had a chan speak with the president d "washington post"'s new report. we continue to have concerns and look into those and we'll address them. thanks, guys. >> so we're going to take it from there. a lot to get through. but i think the dominant theme here is the fact that the
president of the united states disinvited the philadelphia eagles, the super bowl champion nfl team from what would have been potentially a huge gathering today. yoheard sarahanders say on friday they thought they had at least 80 members of the eagles team coming. that changed. they, being the eagles, tried to change their commitment. she kept saying trump feels the fans deserve better and she finally said it's a political stunt by the eagles. you heard april ryan trying to get in there and ask the follow-ups and will the president answer the -- address the issue of why they were kneeling in the first place. >> april got to the heart of the matter.
not once in that entire press conference have we heard the real conversation of what the protest was about, which is social injustices, pole brutality and things happening in the black and brown communities that need to be addressed. what this protest was about. it was not about the nfl. it was also not about the military or the flag. the president continues to take that narrative and hijack the conversation and use that against the nfl in a way to separate the nfl from their fans. i wish the president's base would hear what the protest what all about. i wish they would understand that, in fact, nfl players stopped kneeling because they felt as though ty've already staked their claim and made their voice heard and were willing to move on and do things practically whether our judicial system and schools and police academies as well. and then he makes the nfl get into it and cause as feud.
it is not about the flag and it not about the national anthem. >> as i listening to you, there's the president, hand over heart. this is the event that is happening at the white house, minus the philadelphia eagles team. pam, tell me again in my ear, what did just say? okay. we're going to continue our conversation as we stay on these pictur mave, let me go to you. the president here, he wants the eagles, he wants players and members to stand. again, we should remind ev not a single player knelt during the regular season last year, never stood behind in the locker room, never knelt. bu