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Trump's Remarks Mirror White Supremacist's Jargon; Global Condemnation of Trump's Remarks on Protests. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired August 17, 2017 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM:
And in the aftermath of the deadly mud slide in Sierra Leone, now aid and rescue workers are worried about another risk.
Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world. I'm Isha Sesay. This is NEWSROOM LA.
Well, US president Donald Trump is said to be defiant in the face of growing backlash of his remarks on the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
But other leaders are speaking out. Former presidents George W. and George H.W. Bush issued a statement saying, America must always reject racial bigotry, anti-Semitism and hatred in all forms.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell did not mention President Trump by name either, saying we can have no tolerance for an ideology of racial hatred. There are no good neo-Nazis.
And the top commanders in the US military all issued statements condemning racism and intolerance. CNN's Jim Acosta has more now on reaction from the White House.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump laid low, steering clear of the cameras arriving back at his New Jersey golf club one day after his incendiary news conference on Charlottesville.
DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think there's blame on both sides.
ACOSTA: The president is said to have no regrets about his performance. Still he's dealing with the consequences, announcing that he's shutting down two advisory boards due to defections from big business executives over his remarks, tweeting "Rather than putting pressure on the business people of the Manufacturing Council and Strategy and Policy Forum, I am ending both. Thank you all."
Top White House officials are backing the president, including Vice President Pence who danced around a question about Trump's comments.
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I spoke at length about this heartbreaking situation on Sunday night in Colombia, and I stand with the president and I stand by those words.
ACOSTA: For now, aides to the president and his key surrogates appear to be sticking to these White House talking points that read, the president was entirely correct, both sides of the violence in Charlottesville acted inappropriately and bear some responsibility, an echo of the president's own words.
TRUMP: I think there's blame on both sides. And I have no doubt about it and you don't have any doubt about it either. And if you reported it accurately, you would say -
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, the neo-Nazis started this. They showed up in Charlottesville. They showed up in Charlottesville to protest the removal of -
TRUMP: Excuse me. (INAUDIBLE) and you had some very bad people in that group. But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides.
ACOSTA: Other signs the White House is trying to ride out the storm. Chief of Staff John Kelly emerged from Trump Tower frustrated, but still very much on the job.
While the president promoted his longtime aide Hope Hicks to be his interim communications director. They'll be dealing with mounting outrage among Republicans in Congress.
GOP Senator Lindsey Graham, who issued a statement saying, many Republicans do not agree with and will fight back against the idea that the party of Lincoln has a welcome mat for the David Dukes of the world.
To Sen. Cory Gardner -
SEN. CORY GARDNER (R), COLORADO: The president should have immediately denounced the racism, the bigotry, the hatred that we saw in Charlottesville. The president should have done that immediately.
The president was wrong to do that and I've said that loud and clear.
ACOSTA: But it's not clear GOP leaders are going to do much about it. Both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan expressed their disappointment and not much more.
Though one Republican source told CNN, I think the president's ability to effectively govern is dwindling by the hour. Many in the party are still shell-shocked by the president's comments.
TRUMP: So, this week it's Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week and is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?
ACOSTA: With the president back at Bedminster, one Michigan Republican Congressman offered one suggestion to Mr. Trump. Go back on vacation, tweeting, "I think America needs more unity and less divisiveness, meaning Donald Trump should focus more on golf and have less press conferences."
Some White House officials I'm told are upset by the president's comments, but consider how one aide put it, "nothing surprises me. People around this White House saw President Trump survive the "Access Hollywood" video scandal. They think he can survive this too.
Jim Acosta, CNN, Bridgewater, New Jersey.
SESAY: Well, joining me now, political commentator and talk radio host Mo'Kelly; president of the Global Policy Institute at Loyola Marymount University, Michael Genovese; and the host of "America Trends" and Trump supporter, Gina Loudon.
Welcome to all of you. Very good to have with us. Gina, let me start with you. The president's comments have provoked a swift backlash. You said it outlined there in our own Jim Acosta's piece.
And even though his words have clearly re-salted the racial wound in this country, President Trump, according to CNN reporting, has no regrets. Is he right to take that position?
[02:05:10] GINA LOUDON, HOST, "AMERICA TRENDS WITH DR. GINA": I think it's interesting that we're saying his words because I would ask you specifically what words.
I would say that most of those out there practicing identity politics right now and putting salt in the wounds of already divided people, they are the ones who are instigating the division, much more so - if anything, the president - the only thing I've heard him accused of is perhaps a sin of omission.
But when you look at those who are willing to sort of rub raw the sentiment of past pains, I would submit to you that, to me, those are the real racists.
And I'm so glad to see the focus becoming what the American people really care about, which is the death of this young woman, Heather Heyer, and I'm glad that the focus is on unity and peace and that her family has asked that and that there has started to be some attention given to that because, clearly, that's what matters here and that's what the president said matters as well.
SESAY: Yes. That is what the president said matters. The president also presented a moral equivalency between neo-Nazi groups and white supremacist groups alongside counter-protesters.
The president also said that there were some very fine people out there amongst those neo-Nazis and racists that took to the streets of Charlottesville.
LOUDON: No. He did not say that there were among neo-Nazis.
SESAY: He said that there were some fine people that were out there on both sides. So, to your point as to what the president said that is upsetting people, which bit of it is lost on you?
LOUDON: No. What is lost on me is why we continue to focus on words instead of actions. You look at the things that the president has done that are color-blind. For example, creating 1 million jobs. Those jobs don't have a color. They don't have a race. They don't have a gender.
You look at those kinds of actions, that, to me, speaks louder than where the president who has never claimed to be the perfect, plastic, polished politician, right, he's been labeled a racist, they tried to connect them to the KKK and to Russia and who knows what else.
SESAY: No, Gina. I must stop you there. I must stop you there because being on the show is about sticking to the fact.
This is the president who has trafficked in racism, this is the president who has trafficked in dog-whistles and saying things that other people - most people have found highly offensive and troubling. So, you cannot come on here and say that it's all about - you definitely cannot come out here and say that the president has only - we should be looking at words.
But let me turn over to Mo.
LOUDON: (INAUDIBLE) the president.
SESAY: Let me turn over to Mo because he will have a perspective that I'm sure he would like to share.
MO'KELLY, HOST, "THE MO'KELLY SHOW": Well, Gina said, talking about rubbing old wounds and rubbing them raw, well, you have people walking with Tiki torches, which is a direct connection to the Klan raids of the 19th century. That rubs a wound raw.
When you have those same people ostensibly there to march in protest the taking down of a Confederate statute, talking about blood and soil, and also Jews won't replace us, you're not talking about anything but race.
This is not a political discussion. This is a racial discussion. We're talking about neo-Nazis and also the descendants of the Confederacy fight talking about white supremacy. There is no alt- left, alt-right. This is white supremacy. This is about race and this is about a president who is bereft of decency, dignity and decorum.
There was an opportunity to bring this country together, but instead he made it morally ambiguous as far as what was right and wrong. This is not about right and left. This is just simply right and wrong.
SESAY: Michael, to bring you in here, I want to pick up on what Gina said. Gina made the point, so let me put it to you. She says it's not about the president's words, the president has never claimed to be polished and all the rest of it and that's about his actions.
So, if you measure them up, what does this moment mean to you? MICHAEL GENOVESE, POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, first of all, words matter. They matter because they're broadcast to the entire world. And so, the face of America is a president who is, you've said it, trafficking in racial division.
He did during the campaign with the judge who was born in Indiana, but who was -
MO'KELLY: Judge Curiel.
GENOVESE: Judge Curiel. And he did it the last few days. He has defined America as a country that says fine people and Nazis belong in the same note.
In my world, fine people don't hang around with Nazis. And I think the president is morally bereft if he thinks that he can get away with just saying these things and that the world is going to look at us and say this is a country to admire, this is a country that we want to emulate.
I think they look at us and say this is a country in deep, serious trouble. And Mo is right, it's about race, but it's also about morals. It's about truth and it's about who we are as a people.
[02:10:05] This is a defining moment and we have to choose.
SESAY: And, Gina, let me read you part of a letter that John Brennan, the former CIA chief, wrote to our own Wolf Blitzer after hearing Wolf say on Tuesday's show that he lost his grandparents during the Holocaust.
Here's what he said. Let's put up the Brennan pilot. "Mr. Trump's words and the belief they reflect are a national disgrace and all Americans of conscience need to repudiate his ugly and dangerous comments. If allowed to continue along this senseless path, Mr. Trump will do lasting harm to American society and to our standing in the world. By his words and his actions, Mr. Trump is putting our national security and our collective futures at grave risk."
Gina, do you not see this as a matter of conscience for Americans to stand up and say, well, the president's comments - the comments made by the president were wrong?
LOUDON: I do think that we need to have this civil discourse. And I've been saying this for a long time. But I think that this rush to judgment of people's hears - I've read the president's words over and over, we condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence has no place in America.
He went on, he didn't name the groups. He didn't want to name them right away as he explained because he didn't have all the facts yet.
SESAY: You're talking about his Monday statement. You're talking about his Monday statement.
LOUDON: I remember when police officers - no, I don't know when police officers were murdered by alt-left people and President Obama didn't want to immediately name that what it was. I remember the Fort Hood shooting where President Obama didn't name them as Islamic terrorists.
And so, there have been moments in our history where the presidents have paused for a moment before they named them.
President Trump did name them. And I commend him for that. However, let me say this. This is such a painful - I'm of Jewish ancestry. I adopted a minority son that you know about. So, this is a conversation we need to have. And I am totally fine with that.
But let's not let political correctness dictate our conversation about this. Let's really try to look at each other and try to think the best of each other rather than constantly labeling everyone a racist all the time because all that does is shut down the discourse that could lead to healing and progress.
MO'KELLY: This is not political correctness. We're talking about neo-Nazis, genocide, we're talking about KING: which is genocide. If we can't talk about race in genuine terms now -
SESAY: OK. So, Gina, to that point - to that point about it being condemned, you will acknowledge that it took the president two days to come out and condemn them. You'd also acknowledge that there can be no debate as to who these groups were, what they were. There was no debate that they were supremacists - white supremacists, they were racists, they were hate groups. There's no doubt about that.
So, again, I'm not entirely clear when you say it was a case of having to wait to see who was there or who was involved. I just don't follow your line of argument, especially when you place it in the context of this being a president who readily, instantaneously comments on most things before he has all the facts.
LOUDON: In President Trump, we're never going to have a separate president. He's just not going to be that. The American people, when they tried to pin the KKK label on him during the campaigns, Americans said no way, they're not buying it. His evidence is just not there.
I mean, he has Jewish children and grandchildren. Like I said, he's worked for color-blind jobs that have nothing to do with any of that. More than a million new jobs for people in this country already in just his first 200 days. That is going to improve the plight of any minorities in this country, more than just about anything he could or couldn't have said.
The bottom line is he didn't come out and say anything inflammatory. Again, we're talking about a sin of omission. And again, the American people already decided on this in the last election and they decided that they want someone who's going to act in the behalf of all Americans, and not somebody who is going to go out there and be packaged up by some consultant somewhere. SESAY: Michael, has the president shown, with the comments made on Saturday, Monday, Tuesday, that he wants to be the president for all Americans, to Gina's point?
GENOVESE: Well, is the president healing our wounds or is he deepening the wounds? I'm old enough to remember my father driving us down to Florida from New Jersey and going to the south and my father stopping on the side of a road, pointing to a sign that said no coloreds allowed and giving us a lesson in what that meant.
We have a difficult time dealing with race. We would rather not talk about it. It causes pain. I grew up in a very segregated society, more so than today. And I know that I have things in me that I don't like because of that and it's hard to talk about it. We need to talk about it.
[02:15:15] If this is an opening to talk about it, great. But the president is not speaking for the nation. He's not healing wounds. He is deepening them. He's dividing us.
SESAY: We must leave it there. I want to thank all of you. This conversation is going to continue. Michael, Mo, Gina, thank you so much.
Well, hours ago, hundreds of people came together for a candlelight vigil in Charlottesville, Virginia.
SESAY: They sang Lean on Me and other songs as they rallied for peace after the deadly violence in their city over the weekend. They also remembered Heather Heyer, the woman killed during the white nationalist protest in the city last weekend.
At a memorial on Wednesday, Heyer's mother had a message for her daughter's killer and a call to action for everyone.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUSAN BRO, HEATHER HEYER'S MOTHER: They tried to kill my child to shut her up. Well, guess what? You just magnified her.
So, remember in your heart, if you're not outraged, you're not paying attention. And I want you to pay attention, find what's wrong, don't ignore it, don't look the other way, you make it a point to look at it and say to yourself, what can I do to make a difference. And that's how you're going to make my child's death worthwhile.
I'd rather have my child, but by golly if I've got to give her up, we're going to make it count.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: A brave mother there. Time for quick break. Later this hour, we'll have the international reaction to President
Trump's controversial remarks.
Plus, in Sierra Leone, a country in mourning. The latest on the deadly mudslide just ahead in a live report.
SESAY: Well, as the US and its allies keep a close eye on North Korea for any signs of provocative actions, the US military is maintaining a high state of readiness.
On Wednesday, two B1 bombers operating out of Guam conducted drills with Japanese fighters near a remote island southwest of South Korea.
And happening right now, the new US ambassador to Japan is expected to arrive in the country. Nashville businessman William Hagerty received Senate confirmation to the post last month.
Meantime, South Korea's leader has US President Trump on the top of his mind during a news conference to mark his 100th day in office. He told reporters that Mr. Trump has offered assurances he would consult with Seoul before making any military decisions about North Korea.
And Mr. Moon said that he was confident they would never be at war again on the Korean peninsula.
[02:20:00] Paula Hancocks joins us from Seoul with more. And, Paula, it really is remarkable to hear Mr. Moon speak with such strength and authority. He clearly felt that this was important that he presented this image of himself to the South Korean people.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Isha. This was his first official press conference and he wasn't mincing his words. He was being very definitive about the fact that he said there will be no second Korean War.
He asked his people to trust him that there wouldn't be a war. He said that they have rebuilt this country from the ruins of the first Korean War and it simply wouldn't happen again.
He gave guarantees. He said that the US President Donald Trump has said that he would run anything past him. He wouldn't be going it alone. And he said that there wouldn't be a military option on the Korean Peninsula because nobody can make that decision without the approval of South Korea.
Now, I did ask him whether or not the rhetoric that we've been hearing from the US president last week of military options locked and loaded, the fire and fury, whether that undermined what he was saying or whether that sent a mixed signal to Pyongyang.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOON JAE-IN, SOUTH KOREAN PRESIDENT: The stance of US and Korea is not fundamentally different. The stance of US and South Korea is the same that we should make North Korea stop additional provocation through strong sanctions and pressure and leading them to the table of discussion for giving up nuclear.
The US is imposing sanctions through the UN as well as its own additional sanctions. President Trump of the United States is trying to pressure North Korea through showing a strong will.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
President Moon said he did have a redline. The red line for South Korea was once North Korea has a capable ICBM, intercontinental ballistic missile, that you can put a nuclear warhead on top of, he didn't say when he thought that would be accomplished and he also didn't say what the action from South Korea would be.
But he was very firm that that was South Korea's redline. Isha?
SESAY: And, Paula, we know that Mr. Moon campaigned on a platform of engagement with North Korea. When he came to office, there was outreach to Pyongyang for talks. That was ignored. Is that offer still on the table at this point in time? Are they still trying to actively engage with North Korea?
HANCOCKS: Pretty much. We did hear from the president, saying that the dialogue is necessary, dialogue is the way. He said potentially would he send an envoy of his to North Korea to discuss future plans if North Korea were to curtail its nuclear and missile tests.
So, certainly from President Moon's point of view, his policy remains the same that he wants negotiations, he wants dialogue with North Korea. From his point of view, he really doesn't see another alternative to try and solve this issue.
He's also said that he wants to see a freeze of the nuclear program and the missile program, slightly different from what we're hearing from US officials. They're saying they want denuclearization. They're not, at this point, specifying that they would be happy with that first step of a freeze to get those negotiations.
So, there are some differences between what the US and South Korea are saying. But from President Moon's point of view, dialog and diplomacy is really the only way to try and deal with North Korea.
SESAY: Paula Hancocks joining us there from Seoul, South Korea. Paula, always appreciated. Thank you.
Now, Sierra Leone is quickly burying the victims of a deadly mudslide that killed hundreds of people near Freetown this week.
Authorities say they are trying to free up space in overcrowded mortuaries and there is also the threat of disease caused by decaying bodies.
At least 600 people are still missing after heavy rain caused part of a mountain to collapse. On Wednesday, the country came to a standstill to a minute of silence to honor those who died in this disaster.
Evariste Sindayigaya joins us on the phone from Freetown, Sierra Leone. He is the Sierra Leone country director for relief agency CARE.
Evariste, thank you so much for joining us. At this point in time -
EVARISTE SINDAYIGAYA, SIERRA LEONE COUNTRY DIRECTOR, CARE: And thanks for having me.
SESAY: You're very welcome. At this point in time, is this still considered a search and recovery effort or is this now purely seen as a recovery effort for those who've lost their lives in this mudslide?
SINDAYIGAYA: What we are witnessing is a tragedy beyond words and it is still a search because more dead bodies are still buried under the mud and over 600 people are still declared missing. Over 400 bodies, mostly women and children, have been recovered from the mud and rubble.
And it is feared that over 500 people have lost their lives.
SESAY: And, Evariste, are you aware of anyone being found alive amid the destruction and rubble in the last six, 12 hours? Are they still finding people alive?
[02:25:08] SINDAYIGAYA: No, but people are completely traumatized and fearful because they don't know what tomorrow would bring. I see women and children in tears as bodies of their loved ones are recovered from mud and rubble.
Yesterday, when I visited two affected areas, women and children told me they had not eaten in days because they lost everything in the floods, in the mud slide. The rain is not stopping.
SESAY: The rain is not stopping. And with that in mind, with so many people displaced, with bodies still unrecovered, what is CARE doing to help all those affected by this tragedy, by this disaster?
SINDAYIGAYA: CARE International in Sierra Leone is moving fast to distribute food, household items, safe drinking water and hygiene kits to prevent the outbreak of cholera and other water-borne diseases. We plan to reach 1,500 people in the next 24 hours.
Thousands of survivors are in need of food, water, shelter and relief supplies.
SESAY: And talk to me, as you share those numbers there, about the principal challenges your team is facing there on the ground to respond to this disaster.
SINDAYIGAYA: We (INAUDIBLE) respond to reach the affected people because we have to procure relief items. And CARE joins the government of Sierra Leone to appeal for funds to help the affected communities with their lives. SESAY: And just quick, before I let you go, what amount is being sought here? And what level of support has Sierra Leone received from the international community?
SINDAYIGAYA: So far, the country has not received enough support. And for CARE, we are looking at 250,000 to reach 2,000 households, which would take us to 12,000 people.
SESAY: All right. Evariste, let me say thank you for the work you are doing in my home country and we're wishing you the very best that you can get to all those people who need some support at this time. Evariste Sindayigaya, thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you very much.
We have to take a quick break here. "State of America" with Kate Bouldan is coming up next for our viewers in Asia. And next here on CNN NEWSROOM LA, a closer look at President Trump's remarks after the violence in Charlottesville.
Plus, several Israeli politicians have fiercely condemned the neo- Nazis propagators of that violence, but the reaction from the prime minister was relatively tame.
[02:30:14] ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay.
The headlines this hour --
SESAY: President Trump's news conference on Tuesday closely mirrored the talking points used by white supremacists to justify their racist positions.
Our Drew Griffin sat down with the editor of a Web site that promotes a white-only agenda just hours before the president spoke out. The similarity of their responses was unmistakable.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): To members of a movement steeped in symbolism, coded messages and belief in secret support for their cause, the president's initial response to Charlottesville --
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- violence on many sides, on many sides.
GRIFFIN: -- was a sign the president had their backs. He didn't attack us," wrote Andrew England (ph), the creator of a Neo-Nazi Web site.
Other white nationalist boasts included, "He left the door open and clearly said we are all equal under the law." TRUMP: Racism is evil.
GRIFFIN: Monday when President Trump finally branded members of the KKK, Neo-Nazis, white supremacist, and other hate groups who take part in violence as "criminals and thugs." The Alt-Right viewed that as a double meaning.
(on camera): So was the president's second response, the delayed response, wanted to believe he was pressured into and doesn't believe?
JARED TAYLOR, EDITOR, AMERICAN RENAISSANCE: He was clearly pressured into it. Now, I don't think Donald Trump is an advocate for white communities. I think he probably is entirely sincere when he says Neo-Nazis, white supremacists, whoever those people are, are very bad and evil and away. I think he entirely believes that. But his first statement was much more accurate.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Jared Taylor is editor of what he calls a white advocacy Web site called American Renaissance. He tries to be a soft- spoken voice in what most Americans call a hate movement.
The Southern Poverty Law Center says Taylor's group is racist, "with ideas that most would describe as crudely white supremacist."
Taylor calls himself a white advocate.
(on camera): What is a white advocate?
TAYLOR: A white advocate is someone who speaks up for the legitimate interest of white people. White advocates just want to be left alone. They would rather have a nation which was overwhelmingly white.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): And Taylor says the president understands this, even if the press does not.
It is why Taylor backed Trump during the presidential primary campaign, producing racially charged robocalls like this that then Candidate Trump eventually had to deny.
CALLER: We do not need Muslims. We need smart and well-educated white people.
CALLER: I am a farmer and white nationalist. Support Donald Trump.
GRIFFIN: This week, Donald Trump took a page from white nationalist talking points.
I interviewed Jared Taylor Tuesday afternoon, two hours before President Trump's news conference in New York. The answers so similar, it is almost as if the president was listening in.
TAYLOR: And there would have been no violence whatsoever if there had not been counter protesters showing up with baseball bats and helmets and masks.
GRIFFIN: Mr. Trump, a few hours later. TRUMP: Let me ask you this. What about the fact they came charging, that they came charging with clubs in their hands, swinging clubs, do they have any problem? I think they do.
GRIFFIN: 2:00 p.m.
TAYLOR: If those folks had not showed up, there would have been no violence. I believe they are much more hate motivated than the people who wanted to gather and talk about preserving the Lee statute and preserving a white majority.
GRIFFIN: 4:00 p.m.
TRUMP: But not all of those people were Neo-Nazis. Believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists, by any stretch.
TRUMP: Those people were also there because they wanted to protest the taking down of a statue of Robert E Lee.
GRIFFIN: Then this.
TAYLOR: When are we going to rename the capitol city, Washington, D.C.? He was a slave owner. When are we going to write out of history the first seven of nine presidents who owned slaves? Are they all going to come down?
[02:35:05] TRUMP: Washington was a slave owner. Was George Washington a slave owner? So will George Washington now lose his status? Are we going to take down --
TRUMP: Excuse me. Are we going to take down statues to George Washington?
TRUMP: How about Thomas Jefferson?
GRIFFIN: Jared Taylor may call himself a white advocate to soften the harsh reality of his views, but he does not hide what he really wants, an apartheid-style whites-only America, where Blacks and Hispanics are pushed out of a whites-only geographic zone. American borders divided along racial geography. And if that means breaking up the United States, Jared Taylor says that is fine with him.
Drew Griffin, CNN, Atlanta.
SESAY: Remarkable to hear that in 2017.
Mr. Trump and especially what he didn't say has drawn criticism from other world leaders. The global reaction next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
SESAY: Hello, everyone. Major American business executives are taking a concrete stand against President Trump's response to Charlottesville. Mr. Trump tweeted that he was dissolving his two business councils, but only after nine CEOs had already quite this week over his comments. Apple CEO Tim Cook is taking his own steps to help. In a letter to employees, he said he would donate $1 million each to two organizations fighting hate groups, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League. He also offered to match employee's contributions to those and similar groups through the end of September.
The international reaction has been as well.
Let's start with the United Kingdom.
ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORERSPONDENT: I'm Isa Soares, in London, where Prime Minister Theresa May has been condemning the far- right views being expressed in the United States. She says she sees no equivalence between those who espouse such views and those who oppose them. But she didn't go as far as to mention President Trump by name. However, M.P.s in the U.K. who have been calling on the prime minister to cancel President Trump's state visit to Britain. No word yet from Mrs. May on that.
We had heard a similar strong-worded statement from Ireland who says, and I'm quoting here, "It condemns outright, with no equivocation, the bigotry as well as the fascism that is playing out in the United States."
CHRIS BURNS, JOURNALIST: Hi, I'm Chris Burns, in Berlin.
Strong reaction from some German media and German politicians. "Des Spiegel" online saying, "The downplaying of hatred." And they showed a transcript of Trump's exchange with reporters. Saying how Trump strengthens hatred and violence. "Bild" newspaper leading with "The haters, how Trump trivializes rightist violence in Charlottesville. We heard from the justice minister today, saying, "It is unbearable how Trump also glosses over the violence during the march."
Reaction from Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, over the weekend, saying what happened in Charlottesville is racist. Far-right violence and clear forceful action must be taken against it.
The Social Democrat candidate, running against her, saying, "Nazis must be decisively confronted. What Trump is doing is a fire hazard.
[02:40:20] SESAY: Turning to Israel now, where politicians have also weighed in. The Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took his time in doing so.
Let's bring in CNN's Oren Liebermann who joins us from Jerusalem.
Oren, politicians in Israel, right and left, are sharply divided, we know that, but have Trump's comments united them at least this one time?
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. We are seeing condemnation from across the political spectrum. Some politicians name President Donald Trump directly. Others simply condemn his remarks, his attempt to draw the moral equivalency between Neo-Nazis and white supremacists at a rally and counter protesters here. And that simply didn't go over well here. Again, condemnation coming from across the political spectrum. Now we're seeing that reflected in today's headlines. This is the English-language "Jerusalem Post." It says, "American in crisis. Jewish outrage as Trump defends Virginia white power rally." Hebrew-language newspapers also picking up the same criticism. This says, "A presidential hug for the extreme right." So that condemnation, that criticism coming from all over at this point with the language and the rhetoric against President Donald Trump's attempt to draw some sort of moral equivalency, getting stronger at this point.
SESAY: Oren, give us some perspective on the prime minister's reaction there, his response. He has been quieter, hasn't he?
LIEBERMANN: He had a very muted reaction, one of the most delayed reactions we've seen. He posted a statement on Twitter condemning racism and Neo-Nazis and white supremacists, but he did so only three days after the initial rally in Charlottesville, and only on social media, and only after President Donald Trump condemned white supremacists. Notably, it came just a few hours before Trump seemed to backtrack there in an attempt to draw the symmetry between the two sides there. Since then, we have not seen a follow-up statement from the prime minister. Netanyahu has never criticized Trump during his 200-plus days in office. This time is no exception.
SESAY: Oren, adding to the reaction that is raising eyebrows in Israel, the prime minister's son also weighing in?
LIEBERMANN: His son, yes. He's 26-years old. He weighed in on Facebook saying the "Neo-Nazis are scum." But he called them a, quote, "dying breed" in a Facebook post, which is odd, given that they just held a torch-baring rally in Virginia. He then said, "The great threat to the U.S. and to Israel is on the left, from groups like Antifa, who is the associated group of anti-Fascists, and Black Lives Matter." So he attempted to say to that the left is a greater threat than the right in his Facebook post. A source close to the prime minister said Netanyahu's son is an adult and his views are his own.
SESAY: All right, Oren Libermann, with the reaction in Jerusalem. We appreciate it, Oren. Thank you. And that does it for us. I'm Isha Sesay. Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles.
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[03:00:06] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Ahead this hour, we're told the U.S. president has no regrets about his divisive comments on Neo- Nazis. But more lawmakers --