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EARLY START

NFL's Show Of Unity; White House Rolls Out New Travel Ban; Trump's Latest North Korea Threat; Mexico Rattled By Aftershocks. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired September 25, 2017 - 05:30   ET

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


[05:30:00] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: The NFL fighting back in a show of unity after President Trump called on team owners to fire players who kneel during the National Anthem.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN ANCHOR: And time is running short for the Republican health care bill. An opposition to the bill seems to be growing by the day. This, as a new version of the legislation attempts to target some key votes.

ROMANS: Breaking overnight, the White House rolling out a new travel ban and expanding it to eight countries, including North Korea and Venezuela.

Good morning, everyone. Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans. Nice to see you.

NOBLES: And -- nice to see you, Christine. I'm Ryan Nobles in for Dave Briggs. It is 30 minutes past the hour.

A league-wide show of solidarity. NFL players and owners united in protest against President Trump after a weekend of relentless attacks condemning players who choose not to stand for the National Anthem.

In stadiums across the country Sunday, and even in London, players locked arms, kneeled, raised their fists all during the National Anthem. Now, some teams skipped the Anthem entirely, staying in the locker room.

ROMANS: Even NFL National Anthem singers were bending a knee in a game in Detroit and one of the Nashville singers joined the protest kneeling along with the players on the sidelines.

This all began when the president made these remarks at a rally in Alabama Friday night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say get that son of a bitch off the field right now -- out? He's fired. He's fired.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBLES: He didn't stop there. The president tweeting nearly a dozen times about protests by pro athletes, including this.

"If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our flag and country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend."

In response to the player demonstration Sunday, the president tweeted, "Great solidarity for our National Anthem and for our country. Standing with locked arms is good, kneeling is not acceptable. Bad ratings."

ROMANS: In some of those cases they were standing with locked arms together, coaches and players, against the president calling them sons of bitches.

Mike Tomlin, head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, one of three teams that remained in their locker rooms during the National Anthem, says his players acted in unison.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE TOMLIN, HEAD COACH, PITTSBURGH STEELERS: We didn't ask for this. This was placed upon us by circumstance.

I heard rumblings of guys talking during the course of the day yesterday. My contention was that we would not allow politics to divide us.

We're football players, we're a football team. If many of them felt like something needed to be done, I asked those guys to discuss it and whenever they discussed it, you know, we have 100 percent participation or we do nothing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: There was one Steeler player who is a former Army Ranger who did stand in the tunnel. He did stand for the National Anthem.

Many say President Trump, though, is capitalizing on the politics of racial division. Here's what he says.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: This has nothing to do with race. I've never said anything about race. This has nothing to do with race or anything else.

This has to do with respect for our country and respect for our flag.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: It wasn't just the NFL. The president in the crosshairs of two of the world's most popular athletes, Steph Curry and LeBron James. Trump withdrawing Curry's invite to the White House with the NBA Championship Golden State Warriors.

That led LeBron James to tweet this. Quote, "You bum. Steph Curry already said he wasn't going. So therefore ain't no invite. Going to the White House was a great honor until you showed up."

Let's get more on the NFL's day of protest with CNN's Andy Scholes, who joins us now. Good morning, Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Christine.

You know, it was clear that players on every team had a plan of how they were going to show that they were unified after President Trump's comments. Some players took a knee, some sat on the bench, many locked arms during the National Anthem.

And for the first time, we saw owners from teams around the league, some who donated to President Trump's campaign, standing arm-in-arm with their players during the Anthem, showing that they had their players' back.

After the games yesterday, players around the league explaining why they decided to do a show of unity.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JULIUS PEPPERS, CAROLINA PANTHERS: I felt like he attacked my brothers -- my brothers in the league, so I thought it was appropriate to stand up with them and stay in the locker room.

There's only a few times in a man's life where you have a chance to stand up for something that you believe in and make a statement, so today I thought it was that chance and I took it.

LESEAN MCCOY, BUFFALO BILLS: I can't stand, you know, in support of something where our leader of this country is acting like a jerk, you know, angry and upset about NFL players protesting in a peaceful manner.

JOSH NORMA, WASHINGTON REDSKINS: You mess with one, you mess with us all. Don't nobody dividing us. We was in unity.

We wanted to stand for something. We're standing right now. This man's not welcome here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[05:35:00] SCHOLES: Now, the Steelers, Titans, and Seahawks all deciding to remain in the locker room during the National Anthems yesterday.

All the players except for one on the Steelers, Alejandro Villanueva, the former Army Ranger who did three tours in Afghanistan after graduating from West Point. He stood in the tunnel alone with his hand on his heart. He, clearly, not agreeing with the team's decision to remain in the locker room during the National Anthem.

And, you know, guys, it's a league rule that every player on every team is supposed to be out there on the field for the National Anthem. But we reached out to the NFL and they said they are not considering any fines or punishment for the players that remained in the locker rooms.

ROMANS: All right, Andy Scholes. Certainly, a very interesting weekend of sports, no question.

NOBLES: Yes, and I don't think this conversation's over so let's continue it with "Washington Post" reporter Eugene Scott.

And, Eugene -- and, Andy touched on this a little bit -- you know, there is -- there's actually quite a few Donald Trump supporters in the NFL --

ROMANS: Yes.

NOBLES: -- many of the NFL owners, some of them coaches and former coaches.

One of them, Rex Ryan, who was the coach of my beloved Buffalo Bills last year. And I distinctly remember Rex Ryan introducing Donald Trump at a very large rally --

ROMANS: That's right.

NOBLES: -- in Buffalo.

Listen to what Rex Ryan had to say yesterday. He's working for ESPN now. This is what he had to say about Trump's comments yesterday morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REX RYAN, FORMER NFL HEAD COACH: I'm pissed off, I'll be honest with you, you know, because I supported Donald Trump. You know, I sat back and when he asked me to introduce him a rally in Buffalo, I did that.

But I'm reading these comments and it's appalling to me and I'm sure it's appalling to almost any citizen in our country. It should be.

I mean, you know, calling our players, you know, SOBs and all that kind of stuff, that's not the -- that's not the men that I know. The men that I know in the locker room, I'm proud of. I'm proud to be associated with those people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBLES: And, you know, Eugene, there weren't -- there were many people that weren't necessarily in agreement with Colin Kaepernick in terms of his form of protest.

ROMANS: Right.

NOBLES: But they weren't necessarily attacking him --

EUGENE SCOTT, STAFF WRITER, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Sure.

NOBLES: -- the way the president has. Has this taken a turn, from your perspective? SCOTT: I think it's interesting. And people have noticed that regarding this conversation, if you decide to focus on how someone protests -- policing how they express their discomfort instead of addressing the very real issue that racial discrimination exists in this country, that's telling and it gives people the idea what is most important to you.

The fact that you won't address the fact that Kaepernick originally started by talking about the presence of police violence in America. There have been protests in St. Louis over the past week because of an incident there that President Donald Trump hasn't commented on at all and so there's a conversation to be had. How people show their discomfort with racial discrimination is not the most important one.

NOBLE: Yes. It's interesting that people's tolerance for a form of protest often has a lot to do with what someone is protesting for.

SCOTT: Absolutely.

ROMANS: You know, the president says this is not about race and he was very vehement about that, right? But, a lot of folks have said look, look how quick he is to call these men sons of bitches --

NOBLES: Right.

ROMANS: -- but how slow he was to criticize the violence in Charlottesville.

SCOTT: Right.

ROMANS: How slow he was to react to that and still going out of his way to say there were very fine people on both sides that's being chose (ph), so that's what this is about.

You know, the president can say this is not about race -- I'm not mentioning race -- but there is this feeling in America and among many of these athletes, and they've said it, that there is white privilege that Donald Trump doesn't seem to understand here, and that's at the core of the feelings of inequality.

SCOTT: Yes. We have data that shows that after the election many of the white working-class and white people who weren't working-class who voted for Trump were tapping into the cultural anxiety that he communicated during his administration. And I think the fact is that Donald Trump knows that it's something that rallies his base.

He was in Alabama when this -- when these words were shared. A state that doesn't even have a professional NFL team.

ROMANS: Right.

SCOTT: He should have been focused on helping Luther Strange get reelected. But instead, he tapped into this feeling that so many of his supporters have about America's traditions and nostalgia, and some of those things changing. ROMANS: Meanwhile, you have two of the most, I guess, famous people on the planet, LeBron James and Steph Curry -- Steph Curry -- you know, the White House pulled the invitation for the -- for the NBA champions, right, and this is what LeBron says.

"You bum. Steph Curry already said he ain't going. So therefore ain't no invite. Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up."

It's interesting how something like a visit to the White House has been politicized under this administration.

SCOTT: Very much so. I mean, I've seen pieces about how former President Barack Obama really politicized or birthed activism among athletes and so you saw athletes engaging in issues in ways that they had not in the past. And so, people were going to the White House and listening to the issues that the president was addressing. And so, to see them back away from wanting to be engaged with this administration is telling.

And I think what's very fascinating, to your point, is seeing the expansion of people interested in this protest. It's not just cab (ph) anymore. We have these two NBA stars --

[05:40:05] ROMANS: Right.

SCOTT: -- an Oakland A's catcher now this past week. And so, I mean, this could go further.

ROMANS: I've got to say the pro-Trump media has been very quick to say, you know, these guys should play their -- play their game, stay out of politics.

SCOTT: Right.

ROMANS: I mean, rich celebrities talking about politics totally not appropriate. Donald Trump was a rich celebrity --

SCOTT: Right.

ROMANS: -- talking about politics before he became a President of the United States.

SCOTT: Yes.

ROMANS: It's sort of ironic.

SCOTT: It's very difficult to make the case that entertainers should not be involved in policy when you back an entertainer. The reality is Donald Trump isn't just an entertainer, LeBron isn't just an NBA player, and so they bring all of their identities to these issues and we should hear them out.

NOBLES: We're a long way away from Michael Jordan saying that Republicans buy sneakers, too.

SCOTT: Right, absolutely.

NOBLES: Different.

All right. Thank you, Eugene.

And, this topic -- many of these topics could come up tonight in a town hall debate about health care with Republican senators Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy facing off against Democratic senators Bernie Sanders and Amy Klobuchar.

Jake Tapper and Dana Bash will moderate. That's tonight, 9:00 eastern, right here on CNN.

ROMANS: All right, travel ban 3.0 and three nations are added to the U.S. travel ban list, including North Korea. We'll get reaction from the region, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:45:20] NOBLES: Breaking overnight, the Trump administration rolling out a new travel ban. The measure imposes restrictions on certain individuals from eight foreign countries -- Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen.

The new list targets several non-Muslim nations including North Korea and Venezuela. In most cases, travel will be broadly suspended. In others, passengers will have to undergo enhanced screenings.

Let's get more now from CNN's Laura Jarrett in Washington.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LAURA JARRETT, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Trump administration has unveiled travel ban 3.0. New travel restrictions on certain foreign nationals from eight countries -- Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen -- as a replacement to the central portion of that controversial travel ban which expired on Sunday morning.

Now, the new restrictions vary by country and they include a phased-in approach, so most of the limitations you won't see go into effect until mid-next month on October 18th.

For the last three months, the Trump administration has used an executive order to ban foreign nationals from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. unless they have a so-called bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the country.

Now, individuals with that bona fide exception, like a grandparent, can still apply for visas to come to the U.S. until October 18th, but after that date these new restrictions will begin.

Now, on a call with reporters, a senior administration adviser called the new restrictions tough but tailored and quote "vital to national security." The Supreme Court is also set to hear arguments on the merits of this travel ban next month. And the Justice Department will be filing an update with the Supreme Court soon.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: All right, Laura Jarrett. Thank you for that.

No let-up, it seems, in the war of words between the United States and North Korea. President Trump tweeting over the weekend, "Just heard foreign minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of little Rocket Man they won't be around much longer."

The president's latest salvo coming as U.S. military flew bombers in international airspace near North Korea and the Trump administration adding North Korea to the list of nations on the new travel ban.

I want to bring in CNN's Ben Wedeman. He is live in Tokyo for us.

What's the reaction in the region to this rhetoric between the U.S. and North Korea? This is the second time the president has threatened destruction of North Korea, something that we know inside the hermit kingdom feeds right into the storyline for its leader.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And not just the second time.

Let's recall back in August he threatened fire and fury against North Korea and therefore, yes, this -- all of this rhetoric, this back-and- forth has been very disconcerting for countries like Japan and Korea, which are very much -- South Korea -- which are very much in the crossfire.

Now, what's interesting is that under the Clinton, the Bush, and the Obama administrations the Americans always tried to stress that North Korea's nuclear program is a regional problem that affects China, Japan, South Korea and others.

But as a result of this sort of back-and-forth of personal attacks and invective between President Trump and President Kim Jong Un it's sort of become very much a one-on-one -- a verbal fight between the two leaving, for instance, South Korea very concerned.

We heard one of the spokesmen for the ruling party in Seoul saying that all of this is heightening anxiety. We heard a -- we saw an editorial in one of the newspapers in Beijing saying that President Trump's chest-thumping is unhelpful at the moment.

So we have countries sort of caught in the middle concerned that this -- at least the rhetoric at the moment is getting out of control.

ROMANS: Yes, I'd say so. Where's the off ramp?

All right, thank you so much for that. Ben Wedeman for us in Tokyo.

All right, time for a look at what's coming up on "NEW DAY." Alisyn Camerota joins us. Good morning.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, guys. Great to see you.

ROMANS: You, too.

CAMEROTA: So obviously, we're going to have all the threads and all the debate over the NFL protests this morning and I'm calling in an assist from John Berman because he and I will be having these debates with all of our guests and we have a great lineup.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I've got Donte Stallworth, Earnest Byner, George Martin --

CAMEROTA: Bob Costas.

BERMAN: -- Bob Costas. We could feel like a great football team and do the play-by-play the whole time.

CAMEROTA: Let's do that.

BERMAN: We totally should.

CAMEROTA: OK, so we're going to be doing that this morning.

Obviously, also all of the latest in health care for you -- what's happening with Graham-Cassidy.

[05:50:00] And then, we're also going to have Daddy Yankee on with all of the efforts -- do you know what I'm -- do you know Daddy Yankee?

BERMAN: Yes, OK.

CAMEROTA: Behind the --

BERMAN: I hope you're going to tell me because right now it sounds like a pet name you have for somebody. That's sort of creepy.

CAMEROTA: That's big daddy.

BERMAN: OK.

CAMEROTA: But, Daddy Yankee is behind the smash blockbuster "Despacito" and, of course, he's helping out in --

BERMAN: Uh, oh, pop culture.

ROMANS: Pop culture.

BERMAN: That's where I went wrong.

CAMEROTA: That's right. But also, obviously, on a serious note, Puerto Rico and what he's doing for the effort there.

ROMANS: Oh, yes -- yes.

CAMEROTA: So all of that when we see you at the top of the hour.

ROMANS: All right. Nice to see you, guys.

NOBLES: All right. Thank you, guys.

ROMANS: Happy Monday, everybody.

All right. President Trump is picking fights with the sports world, including Under Armour endorser Steph Curry. And now, Under Armour is drawing criticism for how it responded to the president.

"CNN Money Stream," next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:55:12] NOBLES: The death toll in Mexico rising again, now up to 320 following last week's 7.1 magnitude earthquake.

A new challenge for search and rescue efforts over the weekend as two powerful aftershocks hit southern Mexico.

Let's go live now to CNN's Ivan Watson. He is in Mexico City.

We talked about the aftershocks already, Ivan. And, of course, you're dealing with rain there this morning. How's that complicating the recovery efforts?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right. I mean, it's shortly before 5:00 a.m.

This is supposed to be a 24-hour operation here at this collapsed six- story office building where there -- at least 40 people believed to be missing. When the rain comes the workers were all warned to get off because it's already dangerous, treacherous work on this pile of rubble and then the downpour complicates it further.

It also makes it very difficult for the poor relatives and families that are conducting a vigil, camping out here on the sidewalks in tents, in sleeping bags, stuck out under this chilly rain, as well.

Now, the death toll did rise. There was the body of an unidentified adult woman who moved from another site to a collapsed school in another part of Mexico City. At that location, you've had at least 19 schoolchildren who were killed in the collapse and seven adults. And there was a somber church ceremony for those child victims at Sunday -- at a Sunday mass there.

Meanwhile, the Mexico City authorities say more than 100 other schools will be back in class today, a slight sign of improvement after this natural disaster, Ryan.

NOBLES: All right. Ivan Watson live in Mexico City. Thank you.

ROMANS: All right. First lady Melania Trump meeting Britain's prime -- Britain's Prince Harry as she led the U.S. delegation to the Invictus Games in Toronto over the weekend. It was her first solo foreign trip as first lady.

The two met for about 20 minutes. Melania Trump extending an invitation to His Royal Highness to visit the White House.

She attended the opening ceremony on Saturday, along with Harry and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Prince Harry started the Invictus Games competition back in 2014 to support wounded warriors.

Now, let's get a check on "CNN Money Stream" this Monday morning.

Global stock markets beginning the week lower after Wall Street finished mixed. Still, the Dow hit its second consecutive week of gains.

U.S. stocks, Friday, feel early in the day. They were spooked by developments in North Korea. But then the rebound, driven by health care stocks after Sen. John McCain said he would not support the GOP health care bill.

Right now, U.S. stock futures are lower.

A big corporate deal, potentially. T-Mobile and Sprint closing in a deal that would shake up the U.S. wireless market. Reuters reporting a possible merger between the two.

Combined, the third and fourth-largest carriers would have 130 million subscribers. That's just behind Verizon and AT&T.

T-Mobile and Sprint first attempted to merge three years ago. They abandoned that plan when it looked like regulators would kill the deal. But experts say the business-friendly Trump administration may be more receptive to a merger.

President Trump's picking fights with the sports world, including Under Armour endorser Steph Curry. The president disinvited Curry and entire Golden State Warriors team from visiting the White House.

Now, Under Armour is being criticized for how it responded to the president.

Now, the brand first tweeted that it stands by our athletes for free speech, expression, and a unified America. But then, it deleted that tweet and replaced it with this -- look there. It stands by the flag and by our athletes for free speech.

The tweet drew sharp criticism. Many accused the company of riding the fence and not picking sides. Taking pains not to pick sides.

Curry has been a huge boon for Under Armour. His signature line has significantly boosted Under Armour sales.

Interesting, right? Politics, business, sports, all one big ball of wax.

Thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

NOBLES: I'm Ryan Nobles. "NEW DAY" starts right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN: I'm pissed off. I supported Donald Trump and it's appalling to me.

TRUMP: Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say get that son of a bitch off the field?

LEBRON JAMES, CLEVELAND CAVALIERS: For him to try to use his platform to divide us even more is not something I can stand for.

TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Right now, they don't have my vote. I want to get there.

ROMANS: GOP leaders hoping to win over holdouts with a new version of the health care bill.

STEVEN MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY: Republicans have campaigned on repeal and replace but it's going to be very close.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the biggest catastrophe in modern history for Puerto Rico.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are 70,000 people at risk of another life- threatening situation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's going to take a lot of work for Puerto Rico. It's a resilient community.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.

CAMEROTA: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Monday, September 25th, 6:00 here in New York.