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NEW DAY SATURDAY

Trump Attacks San Juan Mayor As She Begs For Help; HHS Secretary Tom Price Resigns Amid Private Jet Scandal; Puerto Rico Still Struggling to Recover; President Trump Versus NFL. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired September 30, 2017 - 08:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I'm not happy, OK? I can tell you, I'm not happy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Trump today accepting the resignation of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tom Price knows better. He railed against people using private jets.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was time for him to go. He had lost the confidence of the American taxpayer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Parts of Puerto Rico are at risk for flash flooding this weekend.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: We will not rest until the people of Puerto Rico are safe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're taking food, water, and medicine everywhere. We would like it to be quicker. Of course, it's not where it needs to be, but we recognize that there is a limitation in terms of the logistical support to get there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're dying here. We're truly are dying here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I'm tired of the president always talking about how much it's going to cost. It's costing lives.

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CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: We are so grateful for your company. Good morning to you. I'm Christi Paul.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Martin Savidge in for Victor Blackwell this morning. Millions of people in Puerto Rico now are without food, power, clean water, gasoline, and anyway to communicate. The mayor of San Juan, as you heard, is begging the federal government for more help. Here's the president's response in the last hour.

"The mayor of San Juan was very complementary only a few days ago has now been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump. Such poor leadership ability by the mayor of San Juan and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help. They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort. Ten thousand federal workers now on island doing a fantastic job."

And again, the latest tweets coming from the president.

PAUL: Now, the mayor of San Juan has criticized the White House's response to Hurricane Maria. Let's listen to her together as she made a plea to the president just last night.

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MAYOR CARMEN YULIN CRUZ, SAN JUAN PUERTO RICO: We're dying here. We truly are dying here. And I keep saying it, SOS., if anyone can hear us, you know, if Mr. Trump can hear us, let's just get it over with and get the ball rolling.

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PAUL: Now, in just a few moments, we understand the governor of Puerto Rico and FEMA officials are going to give an update on the relief efforts that are underway there this morning. We're going to bring your comments live right here on CNN as soon as somebody steps up to the microphone.

SAVIDGE: Meanwhile, President Trump is spending the third straight weekend at his New Jersey golf resort. CNN's Brian Nobles is live in Branchburg, New Jersey. Brian, President Trump is set to travel to Puerto Rico Tuesday. But this morning, he's been very critical of the mayor of San Juan on Twitter.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, Martin. This seems to be what the president often does on Saturday mornings. He gets up early and voices his opinion through his Twitter feed.

And he is using it this morning to pick a fight with the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Carmen Yulin Cruz, who has been critical of the federal response to the crisis in Puerto Rico.

In particular, part of her criticism has been that the federal officials need to do a better job of working with the local authorities and the local first responders to get the aid to the people who need it. This is what she said, earlier in the week, about the federal response. Take a listen.

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YULIN CRUZ (via telephone): Using municipalities as a supply chain. We know our people. We know where the hot spots are. We know how to get our people involved. We can get the stuff where it needs to go.

(END VIDEO CLIP) NOBLES: Now, it seems to be that exact criticism from Mayor Cruz that the president is upset about. He said in a series of tweets this morning, that the leadership in Puerto Rico is lacking and that they are not doing enough to connect with the federal government to get those resources to the people in need.

Let me read you a couple of those tweets specifically. He said, "The mayor of San Juan who was very complimentary a few days ago has been told by Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump."

This is where he begins the criticism of their response to the disaster. He says, "Such poor leadership ability by the mayor of San Juan and others in Puerto Rico." He says, "who are not able to get their workers to help.

[08:05:08] They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort. Ten thousand federal workers now on an island doing a fantastic job." So, just to put this into context, the president of the United States, being very critical to some of the people most hardest hit by this tragedy.

Suggesting that they aren't doing enough to help themselves in a way to defend himself and defend his administration's response to this crisis. Obviously, there are a lot of people in Puerto Rico that are hurting right now that are just looking for help, not necessarily criticism from the person who is in a position to provide that help -- Martin.

SAVIDGE: Ryan, will this be an example of the president trying to deflect, coming from the bad news, of course, about a cabinet resignation, and then also to criticism about America's response to Puerto Rico, as far as federal aid?

NOBLES: I mean, Martin, this is a pattern that we've seen with this president. When he feels that he is under attack, when he feels that there are people criticizing his response to a situation, he doesn't normally take responsibility for that, or try and find a way to make the situation better, he usually goes after the people who are criticizing him.

He was very similar to the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, if you may remember, a couple of months ago offering up criticism of his response to the terrorism attacks in that city. So, this is a president that never backs down to his critics.

This is another example of this morning, but it doesn't really do all that much to fix the problem in Puerto Rico. The president also saying in his tweets this morning that he's going to travel to the region on Tuesday which we knew.

The first lady, Melania, is going to come along with him. Perhaps when he gets on the ground there, he'll get a better idea of just what is going on in that country. But right now, instead of talking about getting the aid and getting those resources to the people who are in need. We're talking about yet another Twitter squabble between the president and another leader. SAVIDGE: You're right. Ryan Nobles, of course, getting on the ground there could very much change the president's perspective, thank you.

PAUL: Well, let's go there with Brynn Gingras right now. She is in Puerto Rico at the FEMA briefing, which is said to get under way very shortly. Brynn, help us understand this morning the status of what's going on there and how the people are managing.

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christi, I mean, what you guys just said, I think that's one of the questions that's going to come out today is what do we expect when the president does get boots on the ground here in Puerto Rico and actually sees what is happening.

Because it's a dire situation in many, many parts of this island, especially when you head out further from San Juan area when all of the major communications are here. The food distribution, everything is sort of the hub here in San Juan.

It's just that issue that we keep hearing over and over again, about getting it out to these other areas that were incredibly hard hit from this storm. So, we're still getting updates every day. That's what this news conference is. This happens every morning.

It's going to be a joint news conference, including both FEMA and also the leadership here in Puerto Rico. And we do know a little bit, we've heard that they're constantly getting updates about the gas shortage. Checking in with gas stations and learning what is incoming.

What kind of gas amounts are incoming because as you guys have seen and we've been reporting, the lines are incredible. I mean, miles long down roads. People waiting for hours, losing gas in the process while they wait to refuel.

Other issues, of course, again is all that distribution of food and water to these areas. Of course, communications, electricity, so, there's a lot of issues, certainly, that will be addressed, when this conference gets under way, which is a little late right now. We'll bring you more when we have more information -- Christi.

PAUL: All righty, Brynn, a quick question for you, how is the communication and the work, the dual work going on between the FEMA officers and the U.S. personnel that are there? That have come there, the first responders, and how are they working with local Americans there who are trying to clean up and just get through all of this?

GINGRAS: Well, I mean, I can tell you in the convention center, this is a giant hub of all of that, those groups together. I mean, there are FEMA. There's the army here. There's also Puerto Rican officials here as well.

So, the hub, it looks to be good, but certainly that is the question about how there is that, working together in outside areas. I mean, I can tell you personally, I've talked to sources of mine that are here from New York, that are working with local governments, hours outside of San Juan, to help restore electricity.

Help search urban and rescues, help, you know, build ferry systems to get food and water across waterways to get to people that haven't had supplies in a couple days.

[08:10:08] So, I do know there are pockets of areas that there's people working together, but certainly, we know it's not everywhere. We know it's not perfect. So, these are questions we're going to ask -- Christi.

PAUL: All right. Good to know. Brynn Gingras, we appreciate it. Thank you.

And do stay close because there is somebody else there in Puerto Rico San Juan, it's Lieutenant General Russel Honore. We're going to get the latest from him, from his perspective in just a moment. Do stay close.

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SAVIDGE: And the breaking news this morning, President Trump is attacking the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico who has been begging for more help as Americans on the island try to recover from Hurricane Maria.

PAUL: This, of course, comes after his Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price is forced to resign after days of questions and revelations regarding his air travel. Now Price had fallen out of favor with the president after the failure to repeal and replace Obamacare. But it's clear the president also was not pleased with the recent story about headlines.

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[08:15:07] PRESIDENT TRUMP: Look, I think he's a very fine person. I certainly don't like the optics. As I said, we renegotiate deals. We're renegotiating trade dealing. We're renegotiating, as an example, the F-35 fighter planes. I saved hundreds of millions of dollars. So, I don't like the optics of what you just saw. I'm not happy, OK? I can tell you. I'm not happy.

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PAUL: So Tom Price is just the latest high-profile departure from the Trump White House. Just ten days after his inauguration, President Trump fired Acting Attorney General Sally Yates for refusing to defend his immigration ban.

Michael Flynn was forced to resign a few weeks later and then about a month after that, Attorney General Jeff Sessions asked dozens of U.S. attorneys to resign. All of them did so except Preet Bharara who said the president told him he could keep his job after he was elected. He was then fired.

Let's take you to May now, President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey. Days later, White House Communications Director Mike Dubke stepped down. In July, we've got the director of the Office of Government Ethics, Walter Schaub, who resigned.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer quit, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus was replaced and not far behind Anthony Scaramucci, who's firing made him the shortest serving communications director in history.

Also, Chief Strategist Steve Bannon followed him out the door in August and days later, there was Sebastian Gorka, who left his post as a White House adviser, and now of course, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price resigning over his use of private jets for government business.

SAVIDGE: Last hour, I spoke to the former ethics lawyer for the George W. Bush White House. He thinks the private flights by Trump's cabinets is unprecedent.

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RICHARD PAINTER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ETHIC LAWYER: I had several of those requests that I dealt with and we rarely approved it. If you needed a charter plane to go up north, to Alaska about or something about that, we'd sign off on it. But We did not want administration employees jet-setting around, either at the expense of the taxpayers or third parties, accompanying others paying to put people on private planes. We just don't do that. That's incompatible with public service.

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SAVIDGE: For more, I'm joined now by CNN political senior writer, Juana Summers. Thank you for being with us this morning. We'll get to Price in a moment. I have to ask you about the president's tweets in Puerto Rico. Let's just review.

"Such poor leadership ability by the mayor of San Juan," I'm quoting the president in his tweets, "and others in Puerto Rico who are not able to get their workers to help. They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort. Ten thousand federal workers now on the island doing a fantastic job."

Most Puerto Ricans are Americans, of course. The president saying, "they." what does he mean by that? Does he sort of get it or does he?

JUANA SUMMERS, CNN POLITICS EDITOR: I think what we're hearing from the president's response, very strong comments from the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, you know, she said this is not a good news story as one of the top homeland security advisers suggest that people are really dying.

I think it's important for people to realize there are still millions of people who don't have power or electricity. I think there's still a lot that we don't know yet. The president and White House have been criticized quite a bit for their response.

Many people are contrasting that his response to devastation that has wrecked Puerto Rico with Hurricane Maria comparing to what we saw with hurricane just weeks ago hit Texas and Florida.

So, I think we still don't quite know how this story is going to play out. The president said he will head to Puerto Rico on Tuesday. We'll see if maybe his tone changes or how he addresses the people there after he said that they're looking for people to do something for them rather than do it themselves.

SAVIDGE: I mean, in times of crisis, Americans look to their president to bring reassurance. This is not that case. I want to bring in Tom Price here. Let's talk about that. Just before Price resigned, the president told reporters that he didn't like the optics of Tom Price flying private jets that cost taxpayers about a million dollar. So, was it really sort of the bad headlines that doomed this?

SUMMERS: I think in a way it is. I think the number one rule of Trump White House, as far as I've learned from covering him from several years as a candidate is, you don't want to make the boss look bad.

And so, for a White House that has pledged to, quote/unquote, "drain the swamp." That has said that it wants to be untraditional. The president himself has boasted as saying that his administration made moves that has saved millions of dollars.

This is simply (inaudible) headline. The other reality is this, Tom Price was already in hot water with this president. The president has been openly and privately frustrated. The Republicans have been unable to repeal and then replace the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare.

That's an effort that Tom Price as the former head of HHS should have been instantly involved with. Of course, he's not been up on the Hill as much as some of the other members of the administration.

[08:20:05] I think Vice President Mike Pence perhaps has been a bigger face. So, I think there are some concerns outside of this issue that really fueled Tom Price's fate with the Trump administration.

SAVIDGE: He's pretty much AWOL on the whole issue. Juana Summers, thank you very much as always. We appreciate your insights.

SUMMERS: Thank you.

PAUL: And we need to get to Lieutenant General Russel Honore. He is there in Puerto Rico. He led the relief efforts, of course, after Hurricane Katrina. Lieutenant General, thank you so much for being with us. We certainly appreciate it as you are there.

I needed to get your reaction, if I could, first to a couple things that President Trump has said this morning on Twitter particularly saying that the mayor has poor leadership there, poor leadership ability, and that they're not able to get their workers to help. They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort. You are there, on the ground. Are you seeing community efforts? LT. GENERAL RUSSEL HONORE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Absolutely. The road I came in on yesterday, into the hotel where we're staying, in the tourist district, was cleaned by local citizens. I think what we need to get everything kick-started is to get the enablers going.

As we called it in Katrina, gas and communications. If people have gas and communications it would solve a lot of problems. The trouble in coordinating is that folks can't come in.

We need to get the heat on Verizon and AT&T, and particularly Verizon local partner to get the cell service up. There's no reason why, that that isn't better in the outlying areas. Yesterday when I got here. I had three bars -- two bars on my AT&T and two bars on Verizon.

This morning, I have four. That's an indication that they're making the system inside of San Juan better. But until they can get that out into the communities where the mayors can communicate and the government can talk to the mayors to get the enablers up like gas and hospitals, and being able to respond to emergencies will be very hard.

The other thing is getting the stores open. Getting the stores open. Walgreens came in here and they dominate the pharmaceutical industry. Most of the stores are not open. They need to get generators and get those stores open. Get it open, people got to go to work which means we've got to get gas.

A recommendation to the government, give everybody in Puerto Rico a tank of gas. Hourly workers can't get to work so you can't get the store open. It is just that simple. Solve the gas problem. Solve the communications problem and let's get moving.

Those things will help to get the people to work. When you get people to work, the problem will start solving itself, but we could bring 100,000 troops in here. The people that don't have the ability to communicate, the ability to move where they need to move.

So, when you get them moving, the trucks start moving, the stores start opening. That's key. Communications and gasoline at every station and health care. Getting some cold storage vans, I hate to use that word, at every hospital.

So as people expire, they die, there's a place to keep them in a dignified way. Get some body bags to the hospital so we get those people taken care of in a dignified way. And get liaison officers at every hospital to communicate with them. This will get better, but we got to get the enablers up at this time.

SAVIDGE: General, let me just interject here. Of course, we're talking about how the president now has gotten into this Twitter feud with the mayor. Is this what the leader of the free world should be doing at a time of crisis in Puerto Rico?

HONORE: I hope the president has a good day in golf and that's all I'm going to say at this time. Commando on the ground, if you want to solve this problem, the FEMA people are doing their best. But right now, we have to get the distribution of communications, liaison officers at every hospital.

And I did communicate with General Buchanan, and he can get them moving. I'm sure he's going to bring more troops in. Right now, the key is the enablers to get the economy working and people can go back to work.

I do recommend that the (inaudible). We got to adapt and overcome and allow local mayors to hire people, use a yellow pad, keep the hours and pay them by the week. That's the only way we'll get people moving. We had 40 percent unemployment rate here before the storm.

Put people to work. Let them clean up and get stuff done. But you got to have a system and promise that you're going to get paid every two weeks and you may need to keep it on a yellow pad but the government has to get in on that. We got to break this script of how we normally do things.

PAUL: General Honore, Mayor Cruz has just reacted to what the president said on Twitter. She on Twitter is saying this, "The goal is, one, saving lives. This is the time to show our true colors. We cannot be distracted by anything else."

[08:25:11] Your reaction to the mayor and what she has been able to do there in San Juan and her tweet this morning?

HONORE: I think she's very passionate. I think she's very passionate and she cares for people. She is putting out a cry for help. In that statement, she's also going around getting medicine to people and very visible. I think now, we got to get the economy working which means get gas for everybody. Ask for specifics.

Like getting the communication system up. As I said, give everybody a tank of gas. Solve that problem so hourly get to work. This country won't work until the hour works and get that 40 percent of people not working put them to work.

Clean them up and start working. Get the drainage ditches clean before it starts raining again. Those things are going to start happening to make progress here. I think it can be done. It will be done. People are ready to work.

We got to figure out how to get them into work. Get the enablers in and the sat phone -- I mean, the mobile phones, get a system working, the cell towers. It's very critical and then the government can communicate with each other. That's a big problem.

Police use cell towers to communicate. If they don't have that, they can't get to work. Then we got to start seeing what we're going to do about the first responders. I would recommend that the National Guard start considering sending the families back because they can't work 18 hours a day if they've got to take care of their family.

Same thing with police. Get them back to family and friends in the United States. We've got to get some stuff moving here.

SAVIDGE: You know, one factor that is obvious, but also plays extraordinarily into this, this is an island. Normally, if people have been affected they would evacuate. They would drive themselves into better circumstances, where there's power, where there's housing and you would have faith-based and private organizations pouring in aid. All of that is difficult because they can't get in or they can't get out.

HONORE: You're right. That's why we need to bump up that air bridge. Get more flying airplanes in here to take people out. We're about three hours from Miami. That's support we want to use and then weed me to use wide by the airplanes.

I came in on a Delta flight at noon and the last flight came in about 3:30. We need to be able to up that capacity in the airports so that people that want to leave can leave. We got to get people signed up for FEMA. We don't have the capacity here now because the service is down.

I'm sure FEMA will get more teams into the community so people can sign up. But if you sign up now, the banking system ain't working so they won't see any money. We've got to get that system moving. We need to encourage the vulnerable population to leave.

And the government, I recommend, to allow the means to do that to get people to family and friends in the United States. And then when they get there get on FEMA assistance and help them sustain themselves until they're ready to come back home.

PAUL: General Russel Honore, we so appreciate you being there and letting us know the urgent needs there and for the work that you are doing there. Thank you so much.

SAVIDGE: Thanks, General.

HONORE: Sure thing.

PAUL: And of course, that situation in Puerto Rico, it's also hitting home we should point out for a New York councilwoman. We've got her story coming up. She's seen the devastation first hand and she's talking now.

SAVIDGE: Plus, a sharp divide across the country as those protests in the NFL are expected to heat up. The culture war between athletes and the president. That's next.

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0830

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[08:33:02] PAUL: It's so good to have your company. I'm Christi Paul.

SAVIDGE: And I'm Martin Savidge in for Victor Blackwell.

PAUL: So we've been looking at Puerto Rico this morning, how they're dealing with the humanitarian crisis in front of them. President Trump is attacking the mayor of San Juan in a barrage of early morning tweets just within the last hour. Here's what he tweeted.

SAVIDGE: "The mayor of San Juan was very complimentary only a few days ago," I'm quoting the president here. "Has now been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump. Such poor leadership ability by the mayor of San Juan and others in Puerto Rico who are not able to get their workers to help. They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort. 10,000 federal workers now on island doing a fantastic job."

PAUL: 3.5 million Americans are there, they don't have food, they don't have water, they don't have gas or even a way to communicate with the people that they love. And at any moment, FEMA is providing an update on the Trump administration's response and what they're doing. So we're going to watch and bring you the latest as we get it.

This is happening as officials there in Puerto Rico are pleading with President Trump for more aid after Hurricane Maria did exactly what you're looking at there. Destroyed so much of this island. And there are families returning to Puerto Rico and they're finding that there's just nothing left. There are homes and businesses that are leveled. As I said, no power, no water, no food.

We put ourselves in this position and think about how we would deal with it ourselves. Well, this one New York City councilwoman, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and this is a personal situation for her, she grew up in Puerto Rico. Her mother still lives there.

Speaker Mark-Viverito, I understand that you went back and you assessed the damage. First of all, what struck you most when you went back? What did you find? And is your mother OK?

MELISSA MARK-VIVERITO, NEW YORK CITY COUNCILWOMAN: Thank you. My family is fine. Obviously what I was struck with is the devastation, basically, though, the absence of any sort of federal authorities in the three days that I was there. And it is just very dire.

[08:35:04] And this is serious, this is about life and death. This is about lack of preparation. Lack of planning. Lack of appropriate response. This has to be acknowledged. We all knew this hurricane was a category 5 and catastrophic. We all know Puerto Rico is an island. We all knew it was going to be a direct hit. So all of that should have led to a level of preparation where the next day resources and boots were on the ground.

There is not an appropriate response and there has to be an acknowledgment. Now what we need to do is save lives, is to have more federal workers there and more troops on the ground. We only have about 10,000 between troops and relief workers when there were 40,000 in Florida with Irma. When there were 30,000 in Florida with Harvey. This is not an appropriate response. And that has to be acknowledged.

So we need much more seriousness. We need President Trump to basically pull away from his fragile ego and not making this about himself, to get out of his golf course cocoon, and get to work. This is on his watch. People are dying and he needs to respond appropriately and give proper direction. So enough with the distraction.

(CROSSTALK)

PAUL: Please stay with us -- stay with us here, if you could, Speaker, we are hearing from FEMA. Why don't you listen in with us and we'll talk on the other side of it as we get an update?

GOV. RICARDO ROSSELLO, PUERTO RICO: We, the local governments, municipalities are establishing so that we can get results for the people of Puerto Rico, so not only giving you an update, not only giving you the data points that we will be uploading in Estatus.PR.gov. But also letting you know how the logistics and how the collaboration is pushing forward between all of these competencies. And how that collaboration promotes better results for the people of Puerto Rico.

I want to stress that for all those that want to collaborate and donate, you can go to BonitosforPuertoRico.com. Also you call our 800 number at 202-800-3134.

I want to reiterate that the prohibition of selling alcohol is over. And that the curfew has been up at 9:00 p.m. and lastly, we want to state that our housing department gave a moratorium on the payment of the rent to public housing up until January 2018. So give some flexibility to the payments. You know, liberating a little bit of the stress on the people of Puerto Rico.

I want to remind everybody that our priorities at this juncture, keeping being food delivery, delivery of gas, making sure that the hospitals are working. Making sure we can get more hospitals online. So that they get their diesel and their fuel. And establishing as best mechanism for robust communication, whether it'd be telecoms or otherwise. And the air traffic control so that we can get more assets here in Puerto Rico.

So let me talk a little bit about the gas situation. We have been upping the number of gas operators that has -- that have opened in Puerto Rico, that has alleviated some of the stress. To give you a perspective, four days ago we had 450 gas stations open. Now we have 714. That's somewhat over 50 percent of the gas stations that we have in Puerto Rico already operating and receiving fuel at this juncture.

So our expectation here is to continue identifying those gas stations that can operate. Those operators at the onset of this catastrophe were not found. So that they can operate appropriately, they can get fuel organized in a logistical manner. And they can have appropriate security. At the same time, we informed that the reservoirs of diesel have increased. We're almost to 600,000 barrels of gasoline. We're at 722,000 barrels as well. And we will be receiving through the ports more fuel disbursement

starting October 1st all the way to October 7th. We're going to have about eight of these efforts. We want to notify the people of Puerto Rico and everybody that we have supplied directly to municipalities through our general services account, 16 municipalities.

[08:40:02] We will post them as well. But they include Loiza, San Juan, Catano, Manati, Arenas and others, that have been signing those contracts and can get fuel directly from the general services juncture of the government.

FEMA has been working extra hard on this effort. And particularly the distribution of food. You know, we have -- we have 11 regional staging areas that have been receiving food and water all across Puerto Rico. In addition to that FEMA has taken several other missions so that we can go to direct municipalities where hard to reach, you know, the roads --

PAUL: All right. That's the governor there of Puerto Rico, as he's updating everybody saying, that listen, they used to have 450 gas stations open. They're up to 714. As of tomorrow, they will have more fuel disbursement through those ports. That's one of the biggest things that they have been fighting and that General Honore just told us they need so desperately.

With us still, Speaker Mark-Viverito, you just heard this, and we know that President Trump is going to Puerto Rico on Tuesday. You've been there, you've seen it, you've been talking to your mother who is still there. What would you advise the president to do that would be most beneficial when he makes that trip?

MARK-VIVERITO: He needs to be in charge. He needs to take control. He needs to demonstrate some level of empathy over what is happening. The tweets this morning are despicable, are deplorable, are not statesmanlike at all. And we need some level of understanding that there is going to be a seriousness given to this crisis.

This is a catastrophe that has never been seen, not only in Puerto Rico but also I'm sure within the confines of the United States. And we need an appropriate response. We need someone that is going to stand there and say, we are going to give you everything that you need. We're going to make this possible, we're going to make sure that we work with you to save lives.

We need some sort of understanding of what it is that we're going through as a people. There has been no demonstration of that. And this is really unfortunate obviously. And not acceptable. And so those of us that are in positions of leadership, those of us that have a platform to raise our voice, we are doing it.

We have great congressional delegation, leadership in Congressman Gutierrez, who's on the ground, and Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez and Congressman Espaillat, and others of New York and other states. Obviously Florida is very influential in this process.

We're going to flex our political muscle. But right now, 10,000 workers between troops and relief workers on the ground is not enough. So yes, an infrastructure is being set up, but we need to facilitate, after about 11 days, we're just about at the 11th day, we're seeing the response being too slow. And so that is first thing. I don't want to hear about conversations about the debt. We cannot be having conversations about paying debt. We cannot be having an accepting conversation that are denigrating the people of Puerto Rico who are resilient and have pride and dignity of this president denigrating us, we will not accept this from that -- this commander-in-chief.

PAUL: New York city councilwoman and speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito, we appreciate you being here. Appreciate your thoughts. So glad your family is OK. Thank you very much.

MARK-VIVERITO: Thank you. Thank you so much.

SAVIDGE: Up next, athletes defy the president. More NFL players are joining in against the protests against racial injustice. Even if half of America isn't on their side.

We'll talk about that sharp divide.

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[08:47:44] SAVIDGE: Americans are sharply divided over NFL players protesting during the national anthem. 49 percent of the country feel players should not kneel during the anthem and should, instead, find other ways to demonstrate against racial injustice.

Joining me now to discuss all of this is Donte Stallworth, CNN contributor and former NFL wide receiver.

Donte, good to see you this morning.

DONTE STALLWORTH, CNN CONTRIBUTOR AND FORMER NFL WIDE RECEIVER: You too.

SAVIDGE: So Americans, as we've said, are overwhelmingly against the president's use of the phrase SOB. But they seem to agree with him that players should stand during the anthem so should the players begin to listen?

STALLWORTH: I think -- I think the rest of this country should begin to listen to the reason why the players initially started to protest these social justice issues.

I would say in this country -- equality for African-Americans has always been a divisive topic unfortunately. All the way back to slavery to the Amistad case, to civil war, civil rights era, and into today, it was mass incarceration and the war on drugs. So for -- the fact that the players are pleading for the rest of the nation to listen to what we're trying to -- the message that we're trying to get out to the rest of the country about social justice issues, but not just in a way that can be seen divisive.

These players are actually on the ground doing things that are trying to move the needle in a progressive way to help criminal justice reform. And a number of other issues that these players have been engaged in, not just since Colin Kaepernick decided do take a knee a year ago. But also previous to that. Many players have been in the community, have been on USO tours. So the fact that these players are just stirring up controversy and not following up with action is completely absurd.

SAVIDGE: Right. I should point out that there is a racial split over the players' protest, again coming from the polling. 59 percent of whites say that protesting during the national anthem is, quote, "wrong," compared to just 12 percent of blacks. The president blasted the players in front of a mostly white audience.

So what does this say about the president's ability to heal race relations in this country?

STALLWORTH: Well, it says that he has a problem. And I mean, it's not something that is new to anyone who has tuned in to what this president has been saying since the day that he announced his presidency, I mean, his candidacy to run for the highest office in the land.

[08:50:16] I don't believe, and a lot of players don't believe that this is directed at the military. They explicitly have stated that this is not disrespect towards the military.

SAVIDGE: True.

STALLWORTH: In fact, a few players that I have spoken with this week have told me that they actually believe that this is respectful to the military because they're looking at it from the perspective of what better way to honor the people who have sacrificed so much for this country, what better way to honor them than to exercise those rights and principles that they have -- they have been sworn to uphold and defend, the Constitution.

So the players are looking at this from a different perspective. And until we can get on the same page with the people who are in opposition of these players, that are protesting for social justice, we're never going to be able to come to an agreement. But I think that both sides should adhere to what the other is saying. And the players, again, this is not just something that professional athletes have been doing.

This goes back to hundreds of years. So there have been a lot of issues that need to be -- that need to be fixed in this country. And until we can actually come to terms and look at it through a genuine lens of honesty, then we're not going to be able to move forward. But the players are trying to move the needle not just --

SAVIDGE: All right. Let me just stop you for a minute because I want to get to one more question before we run out of time.

STALLWORTH: Sure.

SAVIDGE: This is, of course, an industry, too. And it's a, you know, really big industry. Is there a concern on the part of the NFL players that they're going to turn off fans who are of course paying their salaries and paying for much of this?

STALLWORTH: I think, again, talking to a couple of players this week, I think a lot of the players who are not -- who are not financially stable, who are not in a position that -- on their team that they will be solidified throughout the course of their career in the next couple years, it is a short career for NFL players. So a lot of players are concerned about the owners not wanting to sign them and the perfect example of that is Colin Kaepernick.

So they are kind of squashing dissent unintentionally, whether it's intentionally or unintentionally, they are squashing dissent amongst players and to me, that's just -- we've come to a sad point in this country when we feel like we can't dissent because of losing our jobs.

SAVIDGE: Right, although -- yes, I agree. It is a problem.

Donte Stallworth, thank you very much.

STALLWORTH: Thank you.

PAUL: All right. Wouldn't it be great if someone already driving your directions could, you know, pick up and deliver an item wherever you're waiting for it? That's basically the idea behind -- yes, it's called Roadie, a small business that makes you the driver.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK ROLAND, FOUNDER AND CEO, ROADIE: We deliver everything from couches to kayaks to cupcakes to keys.

My name is Mark Roland and I'm the founder and CEO of Roadie.

We match up people that have stuff to send with drivers that are already heading in the right direction. You post a gig of what you have and where it needs to go. And people see what they're going to get paid to do it. They offer on it. There's ratings and reviews where you can see what they've done before. You accept them, and they take it.

There's actually a personal story that started Roadie. I had to replace a tile in the bathroom. I get a call from the tile guy. I said, where is this tile, how can I get ahold of it? So I think it's in Birmingham about an hour and a half north of Montgomery. So I'm sitting in the overpass at I-65 in Montgomery, Alabama. And I'm thinking there's somebody leaving Birmingham right now heading to Montgomery. If I just knew who they were, I'm sure I can throw a box of tile in their trunk. I can throw a box, they're coming my way. And that's when the light bulb moment hit.

We launched the app in February 2015. We have over 350,000 downloads, nearly 30,000 drivers. We have a driver in every state in the country. We're putting real people together in the real world. That's the beauty of what we're doing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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[08:56:05] SAVIDGE: "Impact Your World" is highlighting people who are shaking up misconceptions. And today we feature a charity that is changing perceptions about refugees who settle in America.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These women share a common experience of being displaced from their home countries with young children. Refugees family literacy program is a two-generation program providing education for refugee mothers and their young children.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You could get hurt surprising someone like that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Children come to our school and participate in an early childhood development program so that when they start school some day, they'll hit the ground running. Mothers are upstairs learning English. Our students are from about 20 different countries.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm from Burma. Burma is a colony. It's less safe.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They didn't want to leave their home country. They left because they did not have any choice. That common experience transcends language. These women are able to support each other.

I think a misconception is that most refugees were uneducated and impoverished. Many refugees have strong education, strong skill sets. And so much to offer us, we think of them uneducated because they don't know English. Really it's our loss.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: Very nice. That is it for us. We will see you back here at 10:00 Eastern Time.

PAUL: Yes. For an hour of NEWSROOM, but don't go anywhere, "SMERCONISH" starts for you right now.

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