tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC September 13, 2017 9:00am-10:00am PDT
thank you for watching this hour of "velshi & ruhle." i will see you tomorrow from the virgin islands. and right now on "andrea mitchell reports," get guest who is -- guess who is coming to dinner? chuck and nancy are dining at 1600 pennsylvania avenue. they joined some representative colleagues at the president's table last night. >> i'm looking for a balanced approach to fixing things and i'm open-minded about this. >> from where i sit, it's a little hard to have a constructive conversation with the folks, the 45 democratic senators, who signed a letter basically declaring their lack of interest in working with us. a grim discovery. a terrible tragedy in hollywood, florida where a power outage and high temperatures after hurricane irma may have led to the deaths of five elderly residents of a nursing home. >> as a precautionary measure,
we've assigned police officers to go check the other 42 assisted living facilities and nursing homes throughout the city. >> and today's take. hillary clinton assessing blame and not only on herself, in her first live interview since losing the election with matt and savannah on the "today" show. >> what's the biggest chunk? what's the biggest cause of your loss? what part is comey, what part is russia, what part is you? >> well, i think the determining factor was the intervention by comey on october 28th. but for that intervention, i would have won. but it stopped my momentum, it drove voters from me. hello, everyone, i'm andrea mitchell in washington where tonight there will abe return engagement, chuck schumer and nancy pelosi back at the white house, this time as dinner
guests following up on their meeting with president trump last week which resulted in such favorable headlines that the president was clearly delighted. nbc white house correspondent kristen welker joining me now. this is carrying bipartisanship to a new level, dining with chuck schumer and nancy pelosi and not with the republican leaders? >> reporter: it's incredibly significant, andrea, and i think it underscores the extent to which the president feels burned by the process of trying to overhaul obamacare. he felt as though he couldn't get the votes needed in his own party. he felt as though republican leadership didn't do what they needed to do to take the ball over the finish line. so as he looks to things like tax reform, infrastructure reform, the bottom line is he needs votes. so he's turning to the democratic leadership to try to work with them. i think the tax reform is going to be one of the topics at the forefront when he has dinner with pelosi and schumer tonight,
but i also think they'll be discussing immigration as well as possibly health care, maybe some fixes to obamacare. this is significant and it marks really a new strategy here at the white house, and it comes, andrea, since meeting with a bipartisan group of house members today. after that dinner with the bipartisan members last night, it included three democrats. we expect him to confer with democrats in three states. they have indicated, andrea, that they're willing to at least consider it. they know that in order to hold onto those seats, they need the trump voters, so this is a real possibility. but it's a striking political move here at the white house and a very different way of proceeding with some of these big pieces of legislation than we saw in the early days of his presidency, andrea. >> indeed. he wants policy, and what chuck schumer and nancy pelosi wants
is something for the dreamers, protection for the dreamers, those immigrants for not just the next six months but beyond that. there is a tweet from where you are right now from the president. with irma and harvey devastation, tax cuts and tax reform is needed more than ever. go, congress, go. so he's in a completely different gear right now. >> reporter: i completely different gear, and there is some frustration, i can tell you, on capitol hill as they await the all-important details. what is this tax reform proposal going to look like? what are the specifics? of course, we know initially the president had been pushing for, for example, andrea, 15% corporate tax rate. given the fact republicans weren't able to overhaul obamacare shls obamacare, repeal and replace it, they didn't get some of those tax rollbacks they were anticipating as part of the math. so now top aides here are acknowledging 15% will be tough.
it might be closer to 20%. sarah huckabee sanders didn't deny it when i questioned her on it. she said, look, the republicans want the lowest tax rate possible, but she didn't go back to that 15% number. i think this is going to be a key focus, but you're right, democrats are focused on immigration and daca, and i think you'll start to see some levers, some pushing and pulling, as both sides try to work out their priorities, andrea. >> kristen welker, thank you so much. a whole new chapter at the white house. in hillary clinton's first live interview since the election on the "today" show this morning, she opens up. she has her new book called "what happened?" but she opens up about what she feels led to her stunning loss against donald trump, most notably james comey. >> when you heard the news that james comey had been fired by president trump, what was your immediate reaction? >> he was fired for the wrong reason. >> but should have been fired? >> he should not have been fired for russia. he should have been disciplined.
whether or not fired, that's not for me to say, but he should have been disciplined for the way that he behaved on the e-mail investigation. >> joining me now is jennifer palmeri, former communications director for hillary clinton's campaign, from a white house communicator for president obama. good morning, jennifer. good to see you. well, the book and her interviews so far, she's clearly much more introspective than she's been in the past. it's clear she's not planning to run for electoral office again. but what about where she places the blame? do you feel -- she clearly feels that jim comey, that first decision on july 5th to clear her of any legal wrongdoing, but then virtually indict her in a long news conference, that that was out of line. >> it was. that was unprecedented, and i think my big beef with jim comey is he said he always wanted to play things by the book and not let outside considerations play into decisions that he made.
if that were the case, he never would have done the july 5th press conference, he would have just made his decision not to prosecute the case any further and dropped it. and i think that was an original sin with comey, because once he had made it such a big issue, and he did -- he was the prosecutor, the judge and the jury in that case, and he laid out a very damning set of arguments against her, although concluded that there was no, as he once said, no reasonable prosecutor would proceed with a case here. but that was a very hard thing to overcome how much he had -- he's sitti the sitting fbi director had criticized her. then to come back in october so close to the election, and the default at the fbi, the justice department, if you are close to the election, the default is supposed to be not to take any action, not to do anything that might impact the election. so, again, he chose to do something, take an extraordinary step that had a big impact, a
determined impact on the election. comey could have cost us the election. >> you were on a plane to des moines, as i recall, when you first got word that jim comey was reopening this with anthony weiner's laptop. >> actually, it was kristen welker who told me. i had been in the back of the plane with the press and she said, i just saw a story pop up that said the e-mail investigation had been reopened up. i said, that has to be wrong. neither she nor i could pull it back up, because as you recall, we had bad wi-fi. >> we had terrible wi-fi. >> you're not told by the fbi this happened. it was all on news reports. and -- >> did you feel -- how did she feel, how did you feel? did you feel sucker punched? >> i couldn't believe that it was true, and i kept looking for
some other explanation. once we finally, as best we could in that moment, figure out what had happened, i went up front to hillary's cabin to explain to her what had happened, and she took it like a champ. i said, i have something to tell you. what do you have to tell me? i said, it's bad news. it's jim comey. she got a little smile on her face, and i said, so you knew we weren't done? i knew we weren't done, there had to be another round of something to deal with. in the moment you're thinking about how to handle this and you couldn't contemplate why he would do this. it was a big problem. it blocked out the sun for five days, meaning we couldn't get covered on anything else for a long time. >> i wanted to play another clip from this morning where she talks about don jr. let's watch. >> he said he was trying to learn about your fitness for
office. what's your immediate reaction? >> it's ridiculous. it's another absurd lie to cover up what was really going on, which i hope we finally uncover and understand. >> so much has happened since she even wrote the book in terms of the june 16th meeting and the whole issue of russia, as she puts it in this interview today, you don't know what really took place, but there's certainly a lot out there. >> we still don't know. it was just in the last month or so just learning about trump jr.'s meeting and then also telling one of the hill committees last week that they were asking russia about her fitness for office. now, i wonder what fitness for office meant. i think it meant health. i wonder, is that why they chose to make health such a big issue for hillary and say that she was weak and that she wasn't up to the job? we heard rumblings about that, that the trump campaign was expecting some sort of bombshell e-mail about her health that
would come out. so i wonder now if you hear trump jr. talk about fitness if that's what he meant. >> what about her going after bernie sanders and saying he damaged her to the point with progressives in particular, that he made a weapon to donald trump and helped her lose the election? >> you know, everybody wants hillary to say how she -- you know, she said in the book what actually happened and what factors she thinks hurt her. that hurt her. we knew in realtime that it was -- that he was hurting her. it's also true that once the primary was over, he did everything he could to help her, but a lot of damage was done, and that's a fact. i don't think that it is bad for our party to have this reckoning even if public and have this reckoning in the fall of 2017. there are -- i think that our party is eventually going to be
able to come back together. i think it's healthy that we have policy differences and we debate them out in public. the republicans have enormous problems and they're too weak to even confront them and enormous differences, and i think that we can get through -- by the time we get to '18, be in an even stronger position than we are today. >> jennifer palmeri, thank you so much to talk about what happened, hillary clinton's book and her interview today. good to see you. >> thank you. don't forget rachel maddow's interview with hillary clinton. that is tomorrow at 9:00 eastern on the rachel maddow show only on msnbc. coming up, a tragic story we're following in florida. five died after they were left powerless by irma. stay with us. or this john smith. or any of the other hundreds of john smiths that are humana medicare advantage members.
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as the death toll from irma now climbs to 59 people, officials in hollywood, florida are reporting five nursing home residents have died after irma knocked out power to their facility earlier in the week. police evacuated more than 100 residents of the nursing home today, and a criminal investigation is underway. nbc's gabe gutierrez is at the scene. gabe, what else have we learned about this tragedy? >> reporter: hi there, andrea. good afternoon. you said it, this is a tragedy, it appears. we're expecting a news
conference in the next few minutes from local hollywood police as well as other authorities. we had heard a short time ago that, yes, as you mentioned, five people were confirmed dead. 115 others evacuated. it's still unclear what the conditions of those folks are, but we have spoken to several family members over the past few minutes who are very frustrated and they're trying to figure out where their loved ones are and what their conditions are. we have heard from those family members that they hadn't had a lot of communication with this facility. right now police say that a criminal investigation is underway and they say they received their first calls about this around 4:00 a.m. this morning. officials say this had something to do with a problem with the ac, andrea, and of course, over the past few days, that has been a major concern throughout south florida and throughout the state. 15 million people at some point in the state of florida have lost power. so we did hear from another employee at this facility a few hours ago that according to him,
there were working generators at this facility yesterday, but this person was working on the day shift, and the question was what happened during the night shift, perhaps, that may have led to the ac perhaps going out? that's all part of this investigation that is underway right now. this area is sealed off, and again, these 150 people were evacuated to other facilities. we're still awaiting word from authorities and a news conference any moment now to find out what their conditions may be. andrea? >> and gabe, do we know the ages of these victims? >> reporter: we don't. that's another thing we're hoping to learn, but we can tell you that from speaking with a case worker here, most of the residents here, according to this caseworker, were older than 65. we did speak with a family member who had a 58-year-old sister here. so this was a facility that was treating mostly older folks, some had been here for years,
and some of the family members said that they had previously very good interactions with the facility, others complained that the communication was not -- did not go so well, but again, we're right now trying to find out -- one of the questions we have is why, if perhaps there was some problem with the generators, why authorities were not alerted to it, and that's all part of the investigation and something we hope to ask police in the next few minutes. andrea? >> thank you, gabe, and i know you'll be reporting back with any updates at all. thank you so much for that. meanwhile, large-scale evacuations are still underway in the u.s. virgin island where irma tore through as a category 5. nbc's ron mott joins me now from st. thomas. ron, what is the latest there? >> reporter: we understand that nbc news crews slept on that ship last night. they are taking someie evacuv e
over to puerto rico today. we saw before we came to this relief station that the ship was still in the harbor, so they will be making their way to puerto rico and folks can get to points west, wherever they need to go, after they get to the island. most of the people on the boat, tourists have been stranded here for the past week or so. we're at a relief station where the curfew just lifted 20 minutes ago, and we're already, andrea, probably a good dozen, 15 people deep. they're coming in to get mres and some water to get through perhaps the next couple of days here. what i found remarkable, considering how much damage this little island withstood here, is people are managing to smile at each other. i have a condo down here and i know how important sanitation is. it's great to see humanity given people have lost just about everything. we did a quick tour around the island. there is significant damage here and it's going to be a long, long time before this island is back up and running like it was before irma came through here.
the eye of the storm passed north of st. thomas within 20, 25 miz 25 miles, so the north end of this island has very heavy damage, and we're talking sustained winds for 20 hours. that would damage a lot of these buildings that had been around for many, many decades and they simply couldn't withstand the battering from this storm. the tsa, we came in on a coast guard cutter yesterday. there is tsa here and they're going to spend the better part of the next few days trying to get their screens up and tested so supplies a lot of people on the mainland want to get down here, it will be much easier to do that when the airport is open to community traffic. the control tower is out of order there. they've brought in a temporary tower, so it's step by step, day by day. i spoke to the lieutenant governor last night who was
polling the governor and just asked everybody here to have expectations one day at a time. >> in the capitol of st. thomas, thank you very much. some relief hurricane efforts. last night hand in hand raised $44 million for harvey and irma. oprah winfrey and beyonce participated which spanned four networks. there was also a performance by stevie wonder and the gospel choir. ♪ lean on me ♪ i'll be a friend, i'll help you carry on ♪ it won't be long ♪ i'm going to need somebody to
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tax-writing committees, ways and means of finance and administration. the whole point of this is the house, the senate and the white house are starting from the same page and
the same outline. i would love to have the democrats supporting and working with us on a constructive way to tax reform, but we're going to do it no matter what. >> speaker ryan today saying republicans are going to press ahead on the tax bill no matter what the democrats do, even as the president has invited chuck schumer and nancy pelosi over for dinner tonight. joining me now are ron klein in the obama administration and michael steele, former press secretary to speaker john baynor. welcome, both. >> thank you. >> to a president that did no outreach at all in the first seven months, now he's having chuck schumer and nancy pelosi over for dinner. michael steele? >> this is a presidency unlike any other because trump and a president unlike any other, and
i think they're frustrated with the results on capitol hill and trying another strategy. at the same time they're working with recapublicans closely on t reform. >> this isn't the way you remember, ron, legislation being made on the hill. >> legislation is not going to be made. for tax reform, there has to be a tax reform plan. the question is whose plan? is it going to be paul ryan's plan? i can tell you it's something chuck schumer and nancy pelosi will not sign onto or will president trump simply put a plan on the table? until president trump moves forward with something, paul ryan and mitch mcconnell remain in the driver's seat, and if they're in the driver's seat on tax reform, you're not going to find chuck schumer and nancy pelosi in the backseat of that vehicle. >> and you have them saying 15% is not going to happen.
they want a big corporate tax cut, but 15% is not in the cards. >> that's the goal and it depends on the tradeoffs you're willing to make. i think this is because of the failure on tehealth care. they're trying to get a consensus beforehand, then move forward the way you're supposed to. go to ways and means, have a debate, offer amendments and get to a product we all can support that helps middle class families all across this country. >> at the same time, bernie sanders and a growing list of democrats opposing medicare for all. we're back to single payer which did not have sign-on from the party. is there a new consensus on the democratic side of health care? >> someone who is on the other side in the primary 2016, i have to give great credit to senator sanders for bringing this issue to the forefront, fighting for it, making it relevant and rounding up some supporters. i think what he is doing today is a tremendous step forward. at the same time, as someone who lived through this in the clinton administration and the obama administration, the problem with health care reform
is the devil is in the details and it's really personal to people. and now that senator sanders has put a specific plan on the table today, people are going to start digging into it. the test of single payer will be not just getting it to this point, but can it withstand the kind of scrutiny that health care plans have, and that will start today. >> speaking of 2016 when you skwus -- which you just alluded to, you were in the democratic primary race campaign, hillary clinton lost the primary. this is the way she's assessing the blame, acknowledging a lot of it herself but also putting the onus on jim comey. >> i think the determining factor was the intervention by comey on october 28th. it stopped my momentum, it drove voters from me who, understandably -- this is not about the voters who were saying, wait, what does this mean and how do i evaluate it?
so i think that in terms of my personal defeat was the most important factor. i was just dumbfounded. i thought, what is he doing? the investigation was closed. i know there is no new information. i certainly had given everything of any relevance to them. and then it became clear this was not necessary. i feel very strongly that he went way beyond his role in doing what he did. >> you're a lawyer, you were white house counsel, you were on the judiciary committee staff. jim comey should have gone to sally yates who was deputy a.g. if he felt that hillary was compromised getting on the plane. why did he do it and so close to the election? >> i don't know. it's hard to explain. what hillary clinton did was high right and he was not consistent
with the justice department, not consistent with the rules. miraculously enough, nobody summarizes it better than rod rosenstein in the memoir he wrote explaining why something should have been done to jim comey. i do think this is a big question and one that mr. comey hasn't fully answered and one that is secretary clinton's right to raise. >> it's hard for some people to accept her being out there talking about the loss given the mistakes they clearly did make, tactical mistakes, message mistakes. still, this is her version. >> this is another example of washington democrats not grappling with why they actually lost the white house, the house and the senate. that's because they failed to offer a coherent message that appealed to middle class voters, especially on pocketbook issues. >> the republican didn't exactly vote for a republican who will work with republican leadership. >> on the tax reform, he chose
to work with the democrats. it's just going to be a different presidency. >> more people relate to do hillary than donald trump, so her message resonated with a lot of people. if you read this book, it is candid, it is frank, it admits a lot of mistakes. but the data clearly showed she was on track to win this campaign until jim comey intervened in october, and that's just a fact. that's what the data shows. >> we'll have to leave it there. it's what happened. thank you very much, michael steele, and chris klein. after the attacks of september 11, there was one member of congress, one house member, who voted against authorizing the use of force. she may have an army of one joining her now, barbara lee. right here on "andrea mitchell reports." to control high blood sugar in adults with diabetes.
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democratic congresswoman barbara lee of california was the only member of congress to vote against the u.s. taking military action. for more than a decade, congresswoman lee has continued pushing her colleagues to repeal that 2001 war authorization. this past june she finally had a breakthrough when the republican-led house appropriations committee approved her amendment, requiring congress to debate and approve military action in the middle east. >> the question is on the lee amendment. all those in favor say aye? >> aye. >> all those in favor say nay. >> nay. >> an opinion, but the ayes have it. >> today marks 16 years since the congresswoman first launched her lonely fight to force congress to act. congresswoman barbara lee joins me at the table. a breakthrough, persistence. what do you attribute that people are now realizing in congress that they have the responsibility to vote on war
authorization and that an authorization from 16 years ago really doesn't address the fight across the nation? >> thank you, andrea, good to be with you. i think members of the house were realizing they weren't even present to vote. 300 members now who are currently serving were not serving in 2001. >> 300 out of 435. >> two-thirds. first, americans are war-weary. secondly, they want us to do our job. thirdly, we've been able to present the case in terms of where this authorization has been used unrelated to 9/11. somalia, yemen, four drone attacks, gouantanamo, you name it. that's what we're trying to do is repeal the old one and give eight months, mind you, to debate and come up with a new one. not three days like congress passed before. not three days.
>> what are you hearing from the administration, from the pentagon and the nsc? >> we have asked, and i have asked the administration to submit an authorization. remember, president obama, to his credit, did submit a new authorization, and speaker ryan did not bring it up. i would not have voted for it because i didn't think it was the appropriate amendment on authorization. so i think the trump administration should put forward a new authorization. they have not done that. speaker ryan, of course, after the appropriations committee passed my amendment on a bipartisan basis in the middle of the night, it just disappeared before it even got to the rules committee. a bill of 326 pages. that provision was taken out in the dark of the night. >> who does that? >> i have no idea. i assume the speaker and the leadership, because i went to the rules committee to try to put it back in, and, of course, that did not work. they defeated it, but they had not even had the opportunity to
vote no on an amendment that was put in. so who knows, this is the kind of underhanded and undemocratic manner in which speaker ryan is running the house of representatives. >> well, barbara lee, i know you're not going to give up. no, we' >> no, we're going to get this done. senator paul has the same type of amendment. they're tabling it but i think we'll start to see the end of this authorization. the public is speaking up and we'll get this done. >> congresswoman, thank you for being here. sdplz thank y >> thank you. coming up, we have new information into russian interference in the 2016 election. don't go anywhere. stay with us. we have some big stuff to report, coming up. what started as a passion
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with great pleasure that we offer our congratulations on your acceptance..." through the tuition assistance program, every day mcdonald's helps more people go to college. it's part of our commitment to being america's best first job. ♪ and now this breaking news. nbc news has learned that donald trump jr. is a subject of the investigation into russian meddling in the presidential election and possible collusion between moscow and the trump campaign. this according to four current and former government officials. joining us now is glen thrush
and political reporter carol lee joining me here with this breaking news. tell us about the significance of what nbc news has now learned. >> what this does is broaden the known scope of the investigation, and potentially one of the theories is that robert mueller's special counsel is looking to flip certain individuals, particularly michael flynn sr., to cooperate with the investigation. and this could, having his son come under scrutiny, could add pressure to do that. now, officials say one of the things that investigators are looking at in particular is michael flynn jr.'s work with flynn intel group, his father's lobbying firm, and flint jr. was very close to his father and accompanied him on a trip to moscow, for instance, in 2015, served as his chief of staff, so it was really his right-hand man.
so this is significant in the sense that it just shows that the scope of the investigation is widening. >> one of these issues is also michael flynn sr.'s work without having filed or disclosed it at the time he was both in the transition and in the white house, work on a for-profit nuclear power plant deal throughout the middle east, is that correct? >> right. we saw democrats on the hill today are requesting more information from former business associates of michael flynn about this particular issue. they're raising questions about whether he continued to work on this project when he was in the white house serving as national security adviser. and we should note that both michael flynn jr.'s lawyer declined to comment, and michael flynn sr.'s lawyer did not respond to a request for comment on that particular issue. >> and glen, let's talk about michael jr., because after
several controversial tweets and other statements he had made, he was very aggressive in some of his tweets. he was tweeting about pizzagate. he was saying until pizzagate is proven false, it will remain a story. the left seems to forget the many instances tied to it. that was, of course, that fake news conspiracy theory that led to a shooting -- fortunately, no one was injured -- but inspiring somebody who had read those fake e-mails going to this pizza place here in d.c., in northwest d.c. so flynn jr. had a controversial role but a very close role with his father. >> well, that's the thing, and as you recall during the early phases of this investigation, you know, it was pointed out that flynn jr. was, in fact, working for the transition, a transition spokesperson initially denied that, but it turned out he was actually being paid by the transition to do work with his father. and he is very, very close to his father. i think the interesting dynamic,
and kudos again to carol who has broken a lot of these stories over the past few weeks. the interesting dynamic here is it's widely assumed, by the way, with no real reporting behind it, i just read it in a lot of different places, that flynn is either going to be flipped or prosecutors and investigators are attempting to flip flynn in order to get him to testify. i just wonder where his son fits into that picture. they remain very, very close even though trump and associates tried to distance themselves from it. so the interplay between what flynn the elder and flynn the younger did together, what they knew about each other's activities, i think, is going to become, at least from the sources i spoke to, an area of wide interest. >> and it is news that both michael flynn and manafort are key figures in this
investigation for robert mueller. now we have former prosecutors telling us, carol, any time a family member is also add to do this cha -- added to this chain of people being looked into, it can put pressure on the principal. >> right, we spoke to a former in any typical parent/child dynamic, if a parent sees their child potentially getting into trouble for something they're responsible for ornish a initia the typical thing is that parent would try to stop that from happening. so, the theory is that if michael flynn sr. was to see that his son was potentially in criminal jeopardy for something that maybe he initiated or was responsible for, then he would do something he might not otherwise consider, such as flip and cooperate. >> well, i know you'll have a lot more on nbcnews.com throughout the day and msnbc as well as "nightly news."
thank you for your reporting. glenn, congratulations on the book deal with my fellow scorpio, maggie. >> i didn't know your sign, but now i do. >> well, we have the same birthday, actually. thank you very much. good luck on the book. now, back to florida. as the state of florida works to recover from irma, president trump is set to survey the damage tomorrow in naples, a city that experienced significant flooding. in a twitter announcement the president said he'll be meeting with members of the coast guard, fema and first responders. joining me by phone is the fema administrator, brock long. thank you for being with us, administrator long. i know you were in st. thomas and puerto rico yesterday. you've just arrived in florida. what are you looking to find out there on the ground before you're with the president tomorrow? >> obviously, the most important thing is to collect ground troop to make sure fema is meeting the mark to meet governor scott's
and our local partners' response and recovery goals. so, it's very important for me to get out, interacted, not only with my teams on the ground, our emergency management teams in various locations, but also liaison with each of the local governments in florida that were heavily impacted, particularly in southwest florida. i'm here to make sure we're meeting the mark. >> you and your agency are being widely praised for good reason for everything you've done handling two of these storms back to back. yet at the same time, you know, there are tragedies along the way. just today five people from a nursing home fell victim to what may have been, you know, overheating. we don't know what the causes were. we know there was a power outage. they were trying to get generators in. the heat has been very high. the elderly are so vulnerable in these situations. >> yes, you're absolutely correct. and it reinforces the need for
primary care facilities to have robust emergency operation plans for situations like this. you know, planning should always be done not only by health care facilities, schools, communities, planning should be done on a blue sky day so that when they hit disaster, they have some understanding of how to handle the worst case scenarios. it's a very unfortunate situation. >> i want to ask you about your visit to st. thomas. i think you were in the capital of st. thomas of the u.s. virgin islands and there was a dreadful hospital situation there. i know people were being evacuated. what is the situation? because the hit on the virgin islands was terrible. >> yes, it was. i met with governor mapp and his team yesterday. you know, the virgin islands, obviously, took a horrific hit. things are coming together. the roads -- the pathway to recovery sbing established. obviously, there's a long way to go to fix the infrastructure
that's there. but the objective of the governor are very clear. you know, continue to do the life-sustaining mission in regards to the hospitals, i can't recall exactly which hospital i met, but we did forward deploy disaster medical assistance teams that were there on site. so, there are doctors, you know, on site in the island. it's been another tremendous whole community government. not only has the federal government looked forward -- well over 35,000 staff members out in the field in various locations, but the communities also surrounding, you know, those who have been hardest hit, the virgin islands as well as puerto rico, met with the governor there as well. and, you know, it's our goal to provide a bridge to recovery. we can't make them whole, but that bridge is already starting in the islands. >> and getting power, water, food, shelter to people, how long might it even be before they can try to get their economies back in order, especially economies that are so
heavily tourist-based? >> yeah. right now we're focused on emergency power to the infrastructure. obviously, our teams are working everywhere in the virgin islands. it's difficult because of the logistics. getting the equipment to the islands, making sure the ports are open that you can get the equipment into and then transferring them where they need to go. so, it takes time. that's why i've been very up front with not only people, you know, in puerto rico and the virgin islands but here in south florida saying, it takes days, if not, you know, weeks in some areas to restore the power. but power crews -- you know, florida power and light is calling in aid from all over the country. power crews are coming in from, you know, 30 states. if i remember correctly, canada is also supporting as well. and you have to keep in mind, there are still power restorations taking place in texas as well. so, just the magnitude and the complexity of this issue is --
it's just a very complex issue. but, you know, we're doing the best we can and trying to put everything forward we can to help people out. >> well, thank you for everything you're doing. you and your teams, extraordinary. brock long calling in from naples, florida. thank you, sir. >> thank you. we have a long way to go. and i would encourage citizens to please figure out ways to volunteer and help. it's a whole community effort. thank you. >> thank you very much.
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and that does it for today's edition of "andrea mitchell reports." craig melvin is up right here. >> i like your d.c. digs. this is nice. >> welcome back. welcome home. >> good to be home. craig melvin here in washington, d.c. playing both sides. in just an hour president trump will be meeting with democrats and republicans at the white house to talk taxes. but will gop in-fighting or just standard d.c. gridlock stop a deal from getting done? also, stealing the spotlight. it's 2016 all over again with hillary clinton and bernie sanders, both in the headlines today. she maintains that she did not make enough mistakes to lose and what he's unveiling next hour that's already dividing democrats. nursing home nightmare.