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tv   White House Defends Presidents Criticism of NFL Players  CSPAN  September 25, 2017 2:13pm-2:42pm EDT

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you can follow live coverage of this as the coverage continues over on c-span2. also online at and on our free c-span radio app. here on c-span, in just a bit, we're going to take you to the white house briefing. once that gets under way. until then, part of today's "washington journal." >> "washin" continues. host: two reporters joining us for a conversation about all things political. kelsey snell is from "the washington post." annie karni joins us from "politico." kelsey, let's start with you. the potential for some type of bill having to repeal and replace the affordable care act. when does it -- how was that? >> we saw a new version of the bill leaking on capitol hill last night. the idea is that they want to make some changes to appeal to , kind of smoothing
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things out >> all of this available online at just look under seize for -- series for "washington journal." we'll day you can -- take you love to the white house now with press secretary sara sanders. >> ms. sanders: he'll deliver remarks on the historic tax cuts and reforms he has been working on with members of congress. during his remarks, the president will discuss new details on the framework for hese cuts and reforms. these details will include specific proposed rates for individuals, small businesses and corporations and he will also discuss the elimination of loopholes that have rigged the current tax code in favor of the wealthy and well connected. as the president has said before, we will give our workers the level playing field they deserve and they will win. because if the fight is fair, no one on earth can beat the american work. these cuts in reforms will deliver massive job creation and economic growth and we are confident in the american people will be very excited about what we are proposing.
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while working to growth economy of today, the president will also sign pat al memorandum to ensure that -- a presidential memorandum to ensure the american people are empowered to succeed in the work force of tomorrow. tock noling is playing a growing role in our economy and that means technical knowledge and skills are more important than ever. more than half of our schools do not currently offer courses in computer programming and nearly 40% do not offer physics. the mem oath president will sign today directs betsy devos to take several steps to address this issue for our students. first it directs the secretary to establish high quality stem education with a particular focus on computer science as one of the department of education's priorities. second, it directs her to establish a goal of devoting at least $200 million per year in grant funds towards this priority. finally, the memo directs secretary devos to explore administrative actions that increase the focus on computer science and existing k-12 and
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postseasonary programs. this comes on the heels of the executive order the president signed into june to expand apprenticeship, giving more americans the opportunity to earn while they learn and receive skills training that will put them on the path of fulfilling work. the president believes it's our responsibility to give our students, especially under-represented group, minorities and women, and those from rural communities, every opportunity to succeed. by signing this memoranda, he is taking action to ensure that they have access to the high quality stem education they deserve. the timing of this memo, which will be so important to america's underserved communities, is particularly fitting today. september 25 is the 60th anniversary of the little rock nine's first day of class at central high school. a few weeks prior to their first day, governor called in the arkansas national guard to stand by as segregationists blocked the nine black students from entering the all-white school. one of the nine students, elizabeth, recalled, and i quote, they moved closer and closer. somebody started yelling.
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i tried to see a friendly face somewhere in the crowd. someone who could maybe help. i looked into the face of an old woman and it seemed like a kind face. but when i looked at her again, she spat on me. 20 years ago today, as a new student at central high myself, i watched president bill clinton and my dad, governor mike hurricane by open the doors for the little rock nine, the same doors that had been closed to them because they were black. are ttle rock nine american heroes who courageously advanced racial equality. as president trump has said, racism is evil. it has no place in our country. today central high is one of the most racially diverse and high-achieving schools in arkansas. this is a testimony to how far we've come in the last 60 yeemplets it's not lost on the president or his administration that there is more work to do. we need better schools and we
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need better jobs to provide a safer, stronger, more prosperous future for every american. president trump is working to make america great again for all of our citizens and his actions continue to show just how committed he is. with that i'll take your questions. reporter: clearly the president has strong views on whether or not players in professional sports teams should stand for the reporter: national anthem. given the response that the gotten over the last 48 hours, even from tom brady, the new england patriots last 48 does the president regret describing these players who take a knee for the national anthem as s.o.b.'s that should be fired? sarah: this isn't about the president being against anyone. this is about the president and millions of americans being for something. being for horning our flag, honoring our national anthem.
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and honoring the men and women who fought to defend it. i think general martin demp circumstance the former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, said it best when he said in this morning. it's important to remember that our military is composed entirely of volunteers. it obviously takes a special kind of patriotism for people to volunteer to risk their lives for their country. theirs is not blind patriotism that pretends there's nothing wrong with the country. every man and woman in uniform knows we still have work to do to achieve the equality, opportunity and justice for all to which we aspire. but every member of the military also knows that what is right about america is worth defending. and if it's worth defending, it's worth honoring. he continued, i just hope that the athletes who are using the anthem as a protest understand why people like me intend to keep standing during the national anthem. we do so not because we agree with everything america has done or everything that has been done in america's name, but because despite all of that the world is
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a better place because america exists. that seems to me to be worth the honor of respect during the national anthem. reporter: i understand all. that i understand general dempsey's position. i think people would thank him for his service to this great nation. but did the president go too far in referring to these players as s.o.b.'s who should be fired? sarah: i think that it's always appropriate for the president of the united states to defend our flag, to defend the national anthem and to defend the men and women who fought and died to defend it. reporter: let me ask you, ivanka talk how the president uses twitter as a platform to emphasize those things are most important. over the course of the last 72 hour the president has tweeted more than a dozen teams about sports, kneeling, about nascar and this topic. he tweeted zero times about puerto rico. so i guess the bottom line question is, what message is the president sending by emphasizing sports right now and not the crisis that's affecting so many? sarah: he's not emphasizing sports. you're missing the entire purpose of the message. he's emphasizing something that should be unifying.
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celebrating and promoting patriotism in our country is something that should bring everybody together. when it comes to puerto rico, the president has sent both administrator long and senior advisor to the department of homeland security, tom bossart, to puerto rico today. they're on the ground to assess the damage. we've done unprecedented movement in terms of federal funding to provide for the people of puerto rico. and others that have been impacted by these storms. we'll continue to do so. and continue to do everything that we can possibly under the federal government to provide assistance. reporter: to be clear, you're saying the president is instead emphasizing something that brings americans together. then what message does it send for the president to stand behind the presidential seal at a rally in alabama and call an american citizen who sex pressing his first amendment right -- who is expressing his first amendment right a son of a bitch? sarah: i think it's always appropriate for the president to defend our flag, to defend the national anthem. hold on, i'm not finished. it's always appropriate for the president of this country to promote our flag, to promote our national anthem and ask people
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to respect it. reporter: north korea's foreign minister said that president trump has declared war on north korea and that it reserves the right to take countermeasures, including shooting down u.s. aircraft. does the white house view president trump's comments at the u.n. as a declaration of stpwhar sarah: not at all. we've not declared war on north korea and frankly the suggestion of that is absurd. reporter: what is the white house's reaction to north korea's threat to shoot down u.s. aircraft, even if it's not in their air space? sarah: it's never appropriate for a country to shoot down another country's aircraft when it's over international waters. our goal is still the same. we continue to seek the peaceful denuclearization of the korean peninsula. that's our focus. doing that through both the most maximum economic and diplomatic pressure as possible at this point. reporter: does the president believe there are very fine people who kneeled yesterday watching those games? or are they all s.o.b.'s? sarah: i think you're trying to
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con flate different things here -- conflate -- conflate different things here. we respect the rights people have but we need to focus. this isn't about the president being against something which is what everybody wants to draw. this is about the president being for something. this is about the president being for respect in our country through symbols like the american flag, like the national anthem, and the hundreds of thousands of people that actually stand versus the few hundred that may have kneeled -- knelt. reporter: the president said that kneeling has nothing to do with race. colin kaepernick took a knee in these games, many of these games, specifically because he said black people in think country were not being treated fairly by police. somehow that not an issue of race? sarah: i think the focus has long since changed and certainly the message and what a lot has been communicated over these last several weeks through this process, through this protest by these players. reporter: from the podium you've often expressed frustration
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about the media not focusing on the agenda that the president has. substantive issues. things he wants to get done. tax reform, health care, ette. when did the president decide at this rally that he was going send so much -- spend so much time talking about the flag itself? and doesn't that distract from the things that you are trying to accomplish this week? whether it's tax reform or health care or the efforts in puerto rico or the showdown with north korea? sarah: i certainly don't think that talking about the american flag is a distraction for the president of the united states. again, this should be something that every american can get behind and support and celebrate . national pride in our country. and supporting those that have fought and died to defend it from all different backgrounds. and so i think, again, that that is certainly should be a priority of the president but you act like that's all did he over the weekend. we also did a lot of other things, are continuing to push
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forward on tax reform, continuing to push forward on health care, continuing to push forward on the safety and security of the border and our country. reporter: he came to the rally with that in mind, though? that's a point. he said, i want to put that in the headlines. sarah: i'm not sure when that decision was made, i wasn't there. but i know it's a priority for the president to always defend our flag, always defend the national anthem. and certainly to support the men and women in uniform. reporter: couple questions if you don't mind. on the german election. has the president called merkel yet to congratulate her on her win? sarah: i know they spoke on friday and they're work on timing for a second call. but i don't believe that's taken place yet today. reporter: why not yet? she won on sunday. is there a particular reason he hasn't -- sarah: i think they're just working on the logistics piece of both leaders coordinating. reporter: on tax reform, can you say when the president was briefed on the big fixes planned? has he signed off on that? does the president have a final plan now for tax reform? sarah: he's had a quite a few
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conversations with members of his team. both secretary mnuchin and gary cohn. those will continue and he'll make those announcements on specifics on wednesday in indiana. reporter: can you address the "l.a. times" report over the weekend that the president was warned by top aides, not to provoke kim, particularly in the united nations speech, and that it would -- because it could potentially back fire? sarah: i missed the first part of your question. reporter: the "l.a. times" report that the president was warned not to provoke kim jong un in the united nations speech because it would potentially back fire and now we see that they've taken this as a declaration of war. sarah: as i've said many times before, i wouldn't use another news source as your source. i push back on that story at the time. but that's a false narrative. the national security team was involved in a -- and engaged
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throughout the speech writing process and was very happy with the president's speech at the u.n. reporter: when colin kaepernick said that his protest is about fighting police brutality, fighting racial disparity, racial injustice, you're not take him at his word. you're saying the focus has long since moved on. but when white supremacists say that their protest is about heritage, not hate, the president does take them at their word. so why is there this disparity about who gets to decide what protest is about? sarah: i think if the debate for them is about police brutality, they should probably protest the officers on the field that are protecting them instead of the american flag. reporter: i wanted to ask, on the interview the president gave this morning, on the radio, he seemed pretty pessimistic about health care and wondered what his interactions were today, is
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he calling individual senators, is the vice president calling? i know the vice president had been doing that. what is his thought today and do you think there will be a vote this week? sarah: whether or not there's a vote, we sure hope. so we've been calling on congress to do what they're elected tooned certain wlay middle east of them compare -- to do. we know we can't live with the obamacare status quo to complete disaster so we're hoping that this moves forward and goes through. reporter: is he doing something -- sarah: he's continuing to be engaged both directly and through his team, legislative affairs team and the vice president. reporter: tomorrow he's going to new york. can you tell us what that dinner is? it looks like a fundraising dinner as we've seen from emails. can you tell us what he's doing tomorrow? sarah: there is a fundraising dinner and i'll have to get back to you with specifics. reporter: this is a significant week, a pivotal week for the president, for republicans. it's an opportunity, some are saying the last best chance for repealing and replacing
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obamacare. and yet much of yesterday, the beginning part of today, was focused as far as the president is concerned on the nfl. on players who take a knee. can you explain how that's helpful to that effort of repealing and replacing obamacare when the president spent so much time on that other issue, the issue involving sports? sarah: it doesn't take that long to type out 140 characters and this president's very capable of doing more than one thing at a time and more than one thing in a day. reporter: you see how it has taken up some oxygen. when the president speaks about that particular issue you see how the majority questions that have been asked of you so far today have been about this particular issue. sarah: that's determined by you guys. >> he has a tremendous amount of power when he tweets and we report on it. when he tweets something, it does take away from his legislative agenda. would you not agree? sarah:, no i don't. because i think that it's important for a president to show patriotism. to be a leader on this issue.
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and he has. reporter: thank you. two questions. one, secretary carson recently voiced his disagreement with the president and the vice president. on the runoff in alabama tomorrow. my question is not about the runoff, but about personnel. are members of the cabinet and the president's official family free to disagree with him on matters such as a political contest? soipt president has a lot of people -- sarah: the president has a lot of people with a vaferte backgrounds and certainly with a vaferte opinions. he always welcomes them voicing those. on that specific issue i couldn't speak to that because i haven't talked to the president about it. reporter: on september 15, the spokesman for the state department spoke at the national press club and i think this is important because a prime minister is meeting with the president tomorrow.
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she said that the u.s. took no position on the plebiscite that is scheduled in cat loania october 1, about separating and becoming a separate country. and i quote, we will work with any government or entity that comes toust. end of quote. now, does that mean that if kcatalonia votes to seed from spain, the u.s. is going to recognize it as -- secede from spain, the u.s. is going to recognize it? sarah: if it changes after that takes place, we'll let you know. reporter: is the white house reviewing kushner's use of private email account for official government business and how widespread is the use of private email accounts in this white house? sarah: to my knowledge, very limited. white house counsel has instructed all white house staff to use their government email for official business. and only that email. reporter: has he instructed them since this came up?
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sarah: i think we get instructed on this one pretty regularly. reporter: "politico" has reported that -- [inaudible] -- has been taking private jets for months and white house counselor traveled with him to six states. so, given that conaway was on some of these trips, one, was the white house aware of price's travel? and given that he spent more than $400,000 taxpayer money on private jets just since may, there any standard for what is and isn't tolerated by this white house when it documents this kind of conduct? sarah: this wasn't white house-approved travel. this was done through the general budget at the department of h.h.s. and i think secretary price addressed this over the weekend. they're kicting both an internal and an i.g. review and all travel on private charter has been suspended until that's completed. reporter: if i can get the white house's take now on that travel, since he said it wasn't approved
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ahead of time. is it ever appropriate for a cabinet official to spend taxpayer money on private planes and private planes differentiate from say military? sarah: i think there are certain instances where it probably is. but i think that has to be done in a case by case by a sifments i'm not going to give a blanket statement on hypothetical situations that i couldn't possibly be aware of. reporter: is the white house looking back on that, do you you a provide -- approve of that travel? sarah: the white house again, that travel wouldn't have gone through the white house for approval. i couldn't speak to that. reporter: two immigration-related questions. do you anticipate a refugee announcement in the next couple of days? on both the cap on refugees from the president which has to happen before the end of the fiscal year, end of this week, and if, so you know, will that -- can you give us some sense of what that's going to be and look like? are there going to be restrictions built? second on daca, there's been word now for a while of the set of principles that the president and the white house wants to put
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out to sort of describe the way forward for a legislative deal. is that something that you can give us some guidance on? sarah: on the first question, i expect something will happen relatively soon. and when we have those details and it's appropriate, we'll be happy to share them. again, i think it will be soon and we'll let you know when that's been finalized. in terms of your second question -- yes. on responsible immigration reform. we will be putting out specific principles that the white house supports and would like to see done legislatively. reporter: when will that happen? sarah: probably in the coming days. reporter: can you clarify, were you encouraging nfl players to protest police? sarah: no, that's not what i'm saying. i was pointing out the hypocrisy of the fact that if the goal is and the message is that of police brutality, which they've stated, then that doesn't seem
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very appropriate to protest the american flag. i'm not sure how those two hings would be combined. reporter: today iraqi kurds are approaching on a pleb side. i was wondering -- plebsifmente i was wondering, you already expressed doctor plebiscite. i was wondering, you already expressed your -- does the president have a message for them? sarah: we another a unified iraq to annihilate isis and certainly a unified iraq to push back on iran. reporter: the second question, why is saudi arabia not included in the list of countries under the plebiscite? sarah: the way that the travel order has been placed is that countries have to meet a minimum baseline requirement and also be part of sharing information. over this last period of time they've stepped up and met those baseline requirements that the united states has laid out.
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reporter: the situation in puerto rico. can you address some of the criticism from the island -- the territory's delegates, representatives, other lawmakers, about the slow pace of federal assistance? what steps is the administration taking presently and in the coming days to increase the pace of relief and aid to both the island and more broadly -- [inaudible] -- after two other massive storms, that the third one -- [inaudible] sarah: not at all. the federal response has been anything but slow. there's been an unprecedented push-through of billions of dollars in federal assistance. that the administration has fought for. both as i mentioned earlier, tom boss earth and brock long are on -- bossart and bureaucracy longley are on the ground to do a thorough and deeper assessment of what needs there are. our focus is still continuing to be on the life-saving efforts and the immediate response
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efforts which are currently under way and those funds have been secured and are available and once we have a greater insight into the full assessment of damage, then we'll be able to determine what other funds are needed. we're still in that fact-finding process in that piece of it. reporter: following up on tax reform. you didn't answer the question whether the plan that the president will be announcing wednesday is finalized? we heard a number of different statements from the president over the last several days and other administration officials, that the corporate tax rate would be set. is the tax plan finalized right now? sarah: there are certain details that are finalized. the president will be announcing hose on wednesday. reporter: what would the administration say to people on the island who are saying, there's not enough time, there's not enough time to do this big fact-finding mission, there's isolated areas on the island that don't have any water or electricity, gas. there's buildings that don't
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even have roofs. there's water coming into houses. this has all been reported out there in the media. what would you say to people on the island who say there's just not enough time? that aid needs to be rushed there immediately. soipt response has been at an undess present -- sarah: the response has been at an unprecedented level. we're going it continue to do that. the president asked bossart and long to give us a list what have is needed. and that we can turn around quickly. i'm talking about longer term assessment, which simply can't be done today. we want to make sure that the fund something provided but we also want to make sure that we're actually funding the orrect things. reporter: steve bannon and another former white house official are supporting -- [inaudible] -- in the alabama primary tomorrow. we also know that babin met with -- bannon met with the challenger of teller. does the president believe, he
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talked about loyalty friday night, does he believe he owes it to republican senators who voted for the senate health care bill to support them? how do they feel about his own -- [inaudible] -- sarah: as i've said many times before, due to the political nature of the question, i'm not going to weigh in on a specific race. or involvement in a race. reporter: i'm asking about a principle here. the president talked about loyalty friday night. does he feel on principle that if republicans vote the way he pushes them to or wants them to or asks them to, does he owe them something in return? and does he feel the people who have worked in this white house should go along with his thoughts on these races? sarah: i think the president feels he owes it to the american people who elected him which means they supported the agenda that he was trying to promote and the more that we have like-minded officials helping promote and push that agenda and pass that legislation, i think the better off we are and that's
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certainly the reason that the president was elected and so i think the more that we can have people help make that successful, that's certainly i think a positive thing and the right step forward. reporter: i want to follow up here. will the white house commit to releasing jared kushner's private emails related to government business? sarah: i'd have to ask. i'm not aware of that conversation. reporter: is that something he would do? sarah: i'm not going to get ahead of a conversation that hasn't taken place. reporter: will you let us know? sarah: sure. reporter: i want to -- would you talk about the president wanting to defend -- you talked about the president wanting to defend the flag. you know the oath of office is to defend the constitution. so does the president have a problem with the first amendment? sarah: not at all. the president is simply stating that pride in our country is a good thing. it's something that we should all celebrate. it's something that should bring us together. not divide us. standing up for the national anthem he feels is a symbol of that.
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reporter: can i follow up on that. why is it that the president over the weekend is going after or seeming to go after african-american athletes and then this morning he's putting out a tweet praising nascar, which obviously is geared toward a different demographic, and the way they stand and respect and honor the flag? is he trying to wage something of a culture war? sarah: not at all. the president's not talking about racism the president'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's talking about. that's what his focus is on. as you guys know, the president's got an event here in a few minutes. so we're going to close there. thanks so much. have a good day. reporter: it is a cultural reference. you should at least speak to that. >> tom brady didn't come to the white house. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] ap


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