tv CNN Newsroom Live CNN October 18, 2020 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT
witnessed so many former top government officials warning about the president for whom they once worked. it's just never happened before, not in these numbers and not with the same stark conclusion that president trump in their view is unfit for the office he holds, the office he's asking you to return him to for a second term. it's a phenomenon that we cannot ignore. his former chief of staff, retired marine general gene kellie has told friends about donald trump, the depths of his dishonesty is just astounding to me, the dishonesty, the transactional relationship of every relationship though it's more pathetic than anything else, he is the most flawed person i have ever met in my life. retired general james mattis said earlier this year, quote, donald trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the american people, does not even pretend to try. instead, he tries to divide us,
unquote. this hour you will hear from trump administration insiders, some of whom have formed the group republican voters against trump. these are people who knows how president trump makes decisions, to whom he listens, how he governs, from those inside the most exclusive meetings to those responsible for keeping our nation safe. >> tonight we begin with the pandemic that has killed more than 200,000 americans and two officials who were part of the early response from the trump administration, olivia troye, a former member of the white house coronavirus task force and rick bright, who was directly involved in trying to develop a coronavirus vaccine. let's talk about the trump administration and the pandemic. rick, let me start with you. president trump, frankly, seems only more defiant after contracting and surviving coronavirus. he's holding rallies with no masks required, no distancing,
obviously. he's claiming he's immune, which is not bourn out by science. do you worry that his handling of the pandemic, which you've already criticized as reck less and care less is only going to become more reckless and careless now that he's been infected? >> i think it's beyond worry, jake. i know his actions and his words and the things he's doing now are extending the duration and magnitude of this pandemic. the people attending these rallies that are not following public health guidelines, not wearing masks and social distancing, they are spreading that virus. and unfortunately, in some cases, it is the older people, the senior citizens in the community in florida, for example, who are going to get infected from that virus from people from that rally and they're the ones who are going to die. so, his actions today are actually leading to more deaths from the pandemic. >> and olivia, you worked at the white house on the coronavirus task force. the president is directly
putting the health and even lives of supporters and americans at risk by holding these rallies all over the country, no masks, no distancing. do you think he realizes that? do you think he understands that he's putting their health at risk? >> i don't know how he wouldn't realize that. i mean, he has been briefed on how contagious the virus is repeatedly. he has been told by the experts on the task force, like dr. fauci and dr. birx and others who every day have said this virus is very contagious, and it spreads very easily and it spreads especially in mass gathering. so, he is fully aware of this and he still continues to behave this way. >> fauci told me that this is asking for trouble for the president to hold these rallies. president trump yet again trying to attack, trying to undermine dr. fauci. you were in the white house on the coronavirus task force, and you saw the president sideline an attempt to discredit the
nation's top infectious disease doctor. what did you see happen? >> i saw dr. fauci briefed repeatedly. he attended every meeting i was there while i was still there. i saw him at times -- i saw people in the room during meetings, people -- senior white house officials -- look away and roll their eyes while he was briefing sometimes, or they would try to push back and say, well, can't you, you know, spin the data this way? it seems that we're looking at a -- we're not looking at increases cases. isn't it true that cases are decreasing? or isn't it true that children are completely immune? these are people who do not have any medical or scientific backgrounds. and i saw this happen again when he would speak out publicly. and i saw, you know, them try to manipulate the press briefings at the white house. i was complicit in that, jake. i was the person that would have to call him at times when he was
already on his way and say, dr. fauci, you're not needed today, i'm sorry. >> because they didn't want him at the white house delivering facts, delivering truth. >> correct. >> and they did this to other doctors as well. they did it to dr. redfield repeatedly. at times they did it to dr. birx, where they would say, you know, we don't want you briefing today because she had posted a slide or something that just didn't fit with the narrative that this pandemic was going away and it was not as severe as it truly was. >> but the facts speak for themselves. the pandemic has not gone away. speem are still dying. infections are going up. this probably doesn't surprise you as somebody who was on the medical and scientific side of things. but what's your response when you hear about how fauci was sidelined and undermined and not taken seriously by people who don't know anything about health. >> jake, there's no one in our country has more experience, knowledge, expertise about responding to an infectious disease or a pandemic than dr.
fauci. and his expertise in guiding us through that pandemic is sorely needed. the rhetoric that we're hearing from the whouite house, the narrative we continue to hear that overrules and undermines the scientific guidance from the best scientists in the world, actually, is actually frightening. dr. fauci, the experts at the cdc, at the nih and fda have the experience to pull our country through this pandemic. this white house, president trump ignored that have day one. he still refuses to admit we have a problem. the first action is to admit you have a problem. his rhetoric today still tells us he's in complete denial and he forces everyone around him in his inner circle to believe and buy in and repeat that narrative. that narrative is what's causing more deaths today. he needs to admit the truth and he needs to be honest with americans. he's not done that yet today. >> and we should point out you're a scientist.
you're somebody that's been in public health for decades. you don't want to be here. you don't want to be talking about this. you would rather be in the administration trying to solve the problem of this pandemic. >> it is what i need to do. it's what i planned to do, prepared to do. it's what i exercised to do for many years, for decades actually. i've worked with the w.h.o. i've worked with the gates foundation, different organizations. i've worked in government. i've worked in industry. we all know what needs to be done. it is so frustrating to encounter a white house that is resistant to those actions. you know, we have practiced and planned and exercised all of the things that we need to do to address a pandemic. however, the one thing that we never anticipated in dekasd cad planning was resistance from the president of the united states, resistance from the white house and refusal to admit tlais problem. we never anticipated that in any pandemic planning.
that is why we're in the trouble we're in today. this president still refuses to acknowledge there's a problem. >> he never war gamed for the president playing the president to say i don't believe it. why? why does he do this? olivia, you've seen him in the white house. you've helped. you've been there when he asked vice president pence to take the lead of the coronavirus task force. i mean, there are projections now that we're going to lose up to 400,000 americans by february. does he even comprehend this? why doesn't he care? >> first, we've been talking about the fact that this virus would likely not go away. we knew he was briefed back in the spring, that this virus would probably get worse in the fall and the winter and that we needed to be using all of these months to prepare for that situation. and as much as he would hear these briefings -- and i know he understood it. i mean, i've heard the woodward
tapes, which were quite frankly appalling to me because it was proof that he had listened and he was repeating what he was briefed about. but he is so focused on this political narrative of strength and the pandemic not being real because he thinks that it hurts him, and rightly so. this pandemic response has been a failure led by him. and i think he just does not allow himself to live in the reality that the rest of us are living in. >> so, in other words, he thinks that he can bs his way back into re-election even though we all see the sickness and the death around us. >> well, see, that's the problem when he is the loudest voice in the room because he has the platform of the oval office. he is the president. he has the biggest microphone or platform, so to speak, where what he says people are listening to and his words matter. >> olivia, rick, thank you so
much for your honesty. really appreciate it. up next, a former top official who says president trump himself was the biggest obstacle to keeping the country safe. plus inside the oval office, an insider compares president trump's attention span to that of a fruit fly. stay with us. wow, i wish i could get a deal on a smartphone, but i'm not a new customer. well, actually now, new and existing customers can get our best smartphone deal. it's historic. that is historic. which means... i'm making history, right? yea, i don't know if i'd exactly sa- wow. me, dave brown. existing customer who got the greatest deal in history. just like every other customer gets... oh that's cool too. it's not complicated. at&t is making history. everyone gets our best smartphone deals, including the lates pre-orders. a livcustomizeper iquickbooks for me. okay, you're all set up. thanks!
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this hour we're bringing your perspectives of former trump administration official who is worry that another four years of him and his presidency would be devastating for the united states. joining us now, elizabeth neumann. former assistant secretary of the department of homeland security. robber ferraro and also kyle murphy who was a senior analyst for the defense intelligence agency. thanks one and all for being here. elizabeth, let me start with you. you call president trump your biggest obstacle to keeping america safe when you were at the department of homeland security. how so? >> there's so many ways, jake. the fact is that he was not interested in doing the business of governing. so, we were able to make progress if he wasn't paying attention to our issues. but let's just take the issue of the rise of domestic terrorism in our country. that's a very complex issue. it's one that requires defining
the threat, articulating the threat to the american people and setting forth a strategy of how we're going to go after the emerging threat. and the president was not interested in exercising that kind of leadership. so, thankfully there were officials who committed to doing what we could at the various levels. but there were important conversations that have not been had, that won't happen as long as he is president. and we're delaying getting the tools and the laws updated that would then help law enforcement be able to go after this threat more effectively. >> kyle, you've briefed president trump. what were those meetings like? what impression did you get from him? >> so, i was a political civil servant who was detailed to the white house security council staff. in my role in the transition in the first couple of months of the trump administration, i briefed the president ahead of several phone calls he was making to head of state
counterparts overseas. and what i found was a president who was uninterested in the core challenges to u.s. national security who was pre-occupied with profit making and who was willing to betray the ideals of u.s. democracy and the rule of law in order to cozy up to dictators and sell weapons. this was fundamentally an unserious leader who didn't understand the challenges and opportunities before him. like elizabeth said, what i saw most often was you needed to work around the president if you were to get things done on behalf of the american people. and that's not the way the u.s. government should work. >> robert, you said the u.s. government has little patience for facts or data that do not comport with his personal world view, unquote. what effect does that have? >> when you're an intelligence community official and you're trying to impart the complexity of an issue, of a threat, it is filled with details that one
needs to delve into and to wrestle with. he had no tolerance for that kind of discussion. as a matter of fact, whenever he would bump into something that was inconvenient or went against that core vision that he had, he would deflect or deny it. so, from a national security perspective, you can't then make good sound decisions on behalf of the american people. >> can you give us an example? >> well, the -- i can talk about the general topic that we had. it was around the north korea threat. it was early in his administration. he was in learning mode, which is expected for any new president. but, again, the conversation just bounced so much because one, his attention span didn't allow to go deep, or if it was heading in a direction that he either found not relevant or, again, too difficult, he would just move it along. so, the frustrating thing was we couldn't get him to the hard
point, which is where we need our president to be to make those tough decisions. >> elizabeth, when you talk about the inability to get president trump to support the issue of domestic terrorism, i know that one of those issues has to do with the fact that president trump has been reluctant to forcefully, clear throatedly condemn the white supremacist domestic terror threat. has there been an impact from that? >> the issue is not that once or twice in the course of a 20-year period that he has uttered the words, i condemn white supremacy. the issue is all the other times where he has refused to use those words clearly and consistently. multiple groups that have been emboldened by this, not just the proud boys. other white supremacist groups have been emboldened. they're chattering and talking about taking up arms in preparation for the election. we're in a dangerous space right now. what concerns me is not so much whether the man is racist or
not. that's horrible if he is. but the issue is that he has also took an oath to protect our country from all enemies foreign and domestic. right now his rhetoric is making -- it's aiding and abetting our enemies. he's absolutely in violation of his oath. and i think it walks up to the line, if not crosses the line, of treason in term of making our country less safe. >> kyle, you've authored hundreds of intelligence assessments about the threat abroad of autocratic leaders. but you think that president trump is acting like one himself? >> that's right, jake. and much like the example that elizabeth just provided with white supremacists, i think we see this president getting closer to in both personal friendships but also in terms of style with the famous autocrats around the world, vladimir putin in russia, kim jong-un in north korea and others. what i saw, looking at places
where leaders would adopt the veneer of democracy and utilize the tools of democracy to their own objectives and seize power and control it in a smaller and smaller circle and for their own benefit. and i watch some of these same things happening in the united states. >> and robert, you've called president trump taking putin's word when it comes to russian interference, an unprecedented betrayal of his oath to the constitution. explain what you mean by that and why you believe four more years of president trump would be devastated. >> well, jake, he was presented in finland with an opportunity to associate himself with, you know, his country's intelligence community, combined assessment of these apolitical professionals that serve above themselves for the nation. and he took what i guess he thinks is the easy way out and sided with his colleague vladimir putin.
and to me, at that moment, it was a devastating moment. and i don't mean for the intelligence community. we can take it. i meant for the american people because, you know, kyle just mentioned some of the risks that we see overseas. i'll add to that. one of the most fundamental foundations of our democracy, which is 244 years old and people think of it and enduring and ever lasting. it's not. it's an idea. and if the people -- if the governed don't have confidence in their government and how it works to serve them, then we're moving into dangerous places. and i got to say if there's four more years of his self-centered, it's all about me and everything else is either part of a deep state or some sort of, you know, hoax, i worry about that confidence that's necessary for our democracy to continue. >> robert, kyle, elizabeth, thank you all. appreciate it. coming up, a former official shares what he was told to never bring up in front of president
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welcome back. this is "the insiders: a warning from former trump officials. "it takes some courage for former trump officials to speak out in such a public way, no doubt risking fury from president trump's fingertips to his twitter following over almost 90 million people. the president who claimed to hire only the best people calls
his former employees unstable and uncapable. the white house responded, quote, these individuals are nothing more than fixtures of the swamp who never understood the importance of the president's agenda or why the american people elected him and clearly just want to cash in and be forgiven by their liberal d.c. friends. president trump has an unprecedented number of accomplishments, in spite of government bureaucrats, who are holding out for themselves, not the forgotten men and women of this country. this hour you hear them for your own words and you can decide for kwlours. ahead a former top military official and an adviser inside the oval office with president trump nearly every day. first we go to two former officials from the department of homeland security. we are approaching historic election with millions of ballots already cast in the u.s., but already president trump is saying if he loses, that will only be because the election is rigged. that's not true, of course. but that's what he's saying. joining me now are two former top homeland security officials,
miles taylor, former chief of staff of the department of homeland security and john mitnick. we're on the cusp of a historic election. we know that russia is currently now trying to interfere in our election again as they did in 2016. president trump has been reluctant, to say the least, to confront putin. in fact, rudy giuliani is out there pedaling wears he gathered from a ukrainian politician that the u.s. treasury department says is a russian agent. is the u.s. ready for this election? is it going to be fair? >> i'll say two things, jake. to encourage americans out there, i do believe that the integrity of the vote and the voting process itself is perhaps more secure than it's ever been because of the great work done by america's civil servants at the federal, state and local level since 2016. we are vastly more secure than we were in 2016. when it comes to that actual infrastructure of voting.
the machines, the tallying processes, the cyber security element around it, that's the good news. the bad news, jake, is that the president has not only disregarded this threat. he has flagrantly disregarded this threat to the point that we were told by the white house not to raise issues about russia with the president. and we were told by the president that we should fire our top intelligence official at the department of homeland security because one time he went to congress and he told the truth about the russian threat and said, yes, they had intervened in 2016 and yes, they had shown a preference for donald trump. that wasn't our intelligence official sharing his opinion. it was him sharing the collective assessment of the entire u.s. intelligence community. but the president wanted him fired. that sent a chilling message to the department of homeland security work force. but we weren't going to be pressured. we weren't going to shut up about it. we continued to talk about the threat. but the president also continued to threaten to fire people for discussing it. that was a concern. we considered the threat from russia and their interference in
our democratic affairs to be one of the top three homeland security challenges facing the nation. i think you would be hard pressed to say that the president considered it anywhere in the top 25. >> and john, i know because you were general counsel, you loathe to get into the specifics you saw and issues you had with president trump and the white house. but from a 30,000 foot view, you were one of the top officials of the department of homeland security. is our homeland less secure with president trump in the white house? >> i believe that it is less secure, jake, for a number of reasons. first of all, the politicization of the department of homeland security, which has only gotten worse over time. also the chaos that exists within the department and the low morale that results are certainly a problem. and the fact that during donald
trump's presidency, the senior leadership of the department was pushed to spend nearly all of their time on immigration and border security issues, which are very, very important issues. but there are many other things, many other very vital functions that the department of homeland security carries out to secure the nation. and unfortunately, those sometimes get short drift because the senior officials are being pushed to spend most or all of their time, 24/7, on immigration and border security. again, they're important, but they have to be looked at in context. >> miles, does that square with your experience? >> that's absolutely right. i mean, look, at the end of the day, the department of homeland security does so much more than border and immigration. but the president was solely focused on those issues. in fact, i am hard pressed to think of a circumstance where we went to brief the president on anything other than border security and immigration or if we ever did, he rapidly changed
the topic back to things like the border wall. and that wall or nothing approach to governing meant the president ignored cyber security challenges, counterterrorism, man made and natural disasters and foreign interference in our democracy. in fact, i would go as far as to say that on those other critical issues, the president was truly leading from behind. and that's, i think at the end of the day, led our country into danger. >> what kind of pressers did the white house put on you? >> well, there was always pressure on me and the office of the general counsel. let me say it was the honor of a lifetime and a privilege to leave the 2,500 plus dedicated attorneys to work in the department of homeland security and the hundreds of support professionals in the office of the general counsel. but the pressure was always there to, let's say, reach a certain conclusion. and i was not in the policy
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president trump with so much attention on the president's coronavirus diagnosis and his handling of the pandemic which has killed hundreds of thousands of americans, it may be easy to forget the very real other threats from abroad. joining me now are two people who know those threats now. former commandant of the coast guard and a career foreign service officer. admiral, let me start with you. it's very rare for a former top ranking military official to speak out against the commander in chief, especially one for whom he served. but clearly you find it to be necessary. what specifically did you see, did you experience that brought you to the conclusion that president trump is unfit for office. >> well, there's a number of facets to that, jake. and the first one was really the holding of ransom, if you will, of the entire coast guard over a conflict over an appropriation for the wall. i volunteer here in hawaii at a
food bank. and so for several pay periods, every member of the coast guard was not paid. our junior enlisted personnel were hurt the most. and it's ironic that our junior enlisted whr enlisted, when they take an oath, not to just support and defend the constitution of the united states but to obey the orders of the president of the united states specifically yet they were held ransom and not paid. and when i saw them show up at the food bank, they were utterly embarrassed they had to rely on a food bank in order to feed their family. >> chuck, in the trump presidency, chaos is a feature. he thrives in chaos. what does that mean for u.s. allies? what does it mean for u.s. enemies. >> that's an amazing question. i have to say that i resigned after only about ten years in the foreign service as u.s.
diplomat. it became impossible, impossible, to keep up to represent to defend this president and his policies overseas. that's not just because of the incompetence and how, you know, these clear marching orders that we received via cable one warning could be thrown out the window, upended an hour later, but also because of a real moral crisis within the state department. you know, as every other american heard in 2018, there were tapes of children crying in detention centers. there was an image of a man and his daughter face down in the muddy banks of the rio grande. so, for me, the decision was i can no longer faithfully follow orders amid the chaos and amid the true absence of any kind of moral consideration of our foreign policy. so, the right thing for me to do was resign. but when you talk about the
chaos that's absolutely right, the state department is assaulted from the outside. the state is calling it the deep state. the deep state doesn't exist. there's no conspiracy trying to undermine him. there are a lot of faithful career diplomats trying to keep up. >> and what is the result of all this chaos on all our allies and on our enemies. >> there are a lot of really difficult conversations happening in rooms where we can no longer sit. there are quiet meetings of all of our friends in europe, in nato, in the g7 talking about us basically behind our backs. i had one experience in canada where it was a think tank meeting of experts and a lot of senior canadian diplomats were there. maybe because of my appearance they didn't know i was a diplomat sitting in the backseat, listening and taking notes. and as a service to them, i won't quote them directly, but they were incredibly concerned, incredibly concerned, with just
the madness coming out of the white house. >> admiral, we've lived through now in the trump years a number of crises, whether it has to do with racial mistrust in this country, police brutality, whether it deals with the coronavirus. and as a leader, i'm wondering what you think of president trump's leadership during these crises. >> jake, i've dealt with probably one of the more complex crises, and that was the deep water horizon oil spill back in 2010. it's easy to fix blame. but blame gets you no closer to a solution. yet, what we're seeing now is every crisis that hits the air waves, it's immediate finger pointing of who do we blame. not just fixing blame, but it's then laced with hatred. and then that hatred devolves into a polarized nation.
i remember very well, mostly conservative values. i can sit down with a liberal and we can have a conversation. and topics we could agree to disagree on. but now it's a win/lose proposition. we've become a very polarized nation and are no closer to fixing the solution to a pandemic that is killing hundred of americans each and every day. >> admiral, president trump famously or infamously said he knows more than the generals. he's also suggested that generals, admirals, like to go to war because they're able to make money when they go into the defense contracting industry. what kind of impact do those kind of comments have on the people who run the military? >> well, jake, that's -- it's really jaw dropping. when i served over-41 years on active duty, my first mantra was always say look out for my
shipmates. look out for the most junior people in our service. and do everything i can within my sphere of influence to keep them out of harm's way so we don't jump into a conflict with no diplomatic end in site. coming from the smaller and most underfunded service, i am clearly not in a position so say we're trying to leverage the military industrial complex for personal gain. the only legacy any of us who have served is, did we leave the world a better place? did we look out for our troops? and if you can answer those with great satisfaction, then you can sleep well at night. and i did. >> chuck, admiral, thank you both. i appreciate your time. up next, i'll talk to the man who was in the room where it happened, who tells me president trump has the attention span of
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with the grill that grills for you. welcome back to this cnn special report, "the insiders," former top trump officials who say president trump is unfit for office from his handling of the pandemic to foreign affairs and the very core of american democracy. my next guest was inside, quote, "the room where it happened," john bolton, former national security adviser under president trump is here with me now. mr. ambassador, thanks so much for joining us. first of all, i just want to take a moment to acknowledge the fact that the reason we're doing this special is because there's never been anything like this in
term of so many top administration officials saying after they leave the administration this president is unfit. >> no, i think it's an indication of what the central problem is with the trump administration. it is in the oval office. it's the president himself. dozens, scores of loyal americans have tried to work for him and simply been unable to do it. >> there's 215,000 deaths and counting from coronavirus in this nation, yet president trump's own coronavirus infection has apparently changed nothing about his handling of the virus, including he's now back on the campaign trail holding these reckless rallies, exposing his own people to the virus. >> no, it's totally in character. he beat coronavirus. he's a winner, as he always is. these other people, as he said, that's the way it is. i think the coronavirus crisis is probably the best example for public consumption of why trump is not fit to be president. for now, close to ten months, he
has never had a strategy. he has never had a clue how he expected to get through this. he's proceeded on an ad hoc fashion. he's had the attention span of a fruit fly with respect to this. the one thing that's kept his attention, where his attention span is infinite is getting re-elected. and that hasn't change thermodyamic entire time. >> >> does anyone tell him what he doesn't want to hear? is he capable of -- if somebody were in the room and said you have to stop the rallies. you are risking your own supporters health. you have to stop berating dr. fauci. he's trying to save lives. you have to come up with plan, does he ignore it? >> he ignores what he doesn't want to hear. coronavirus is a good example. staff and others were saying you have a crisis. didn't want to hear bad news about the chinese economy and particularly didn't want to hear
bad news for the u.s. economy which was his ticket to re-election. you're dealing with a president. you can't treat him like you're lecturing a bunch of high school students. so you do have to be respectful. i've never seen anybody be disrespectful to him. but if he doesn't agree with what you're saying, he doesn't take it in. >> what do you think a second term of a trump presidency would look like? >> i think he will be utterly unrestricted. >> he's been restricted? >> as i explain in my book, one of the things in the national security space that was trying to get in the right policy judgments was making arguments about the domestic political consequences and making the wrong judgment. forget the merits of the particular policy. he reacted to the political environment. and once reelected, that political grail is substantially reduced, if not eliminated. i think the failed impeachment is another big mistake.
he wasn't really restricted by what happened in impeachment. he's not deterred from engaging in that conduct again. the fact that he was acquit empowers him. i think that's a big risk in a second material. >> we have no idea what will happen. polls are certainly favoring joe biden but polls are not facts. they're analysis and predictions. if he loses, there is a lot of concern that he isn't going to commit to a peaceful transfer of power. he's already trying to claim the selection being stolen with no evidence of that. is there, are there any guardrails in the administration? do you have any concern about general milley or secretary esper? or chief of staff. is there anyone there to say, sir, you lost. you have to leave. >> i think the defense department is in good hands with esper and milley. i have no concerns as long as they're still in office. let's be clear. trump will not leave graciously if he loses. he will not leave graciously.
whether he carries it to the extreme, i don't think we know. it is it is very troubling that he has said i can't lose unless there's fraud. of course he can lose in an honest election. and i think this is really on the leadership of the party. elected officials, private citizens. if it is clear, what the outcome is, it is up to republicans, not democrats to say, this is on us. he has to go. >> do you have faith in republican officials that they will step forward and do that? there's not a lot of evidence. you see individuals like mitch mcconnell who are, who disagree with the president on coronavirus or on election, peaceful transfer ofpour. of power. there is not a lot of profiles in courage up there. >> i have been in touch -- >> i think they're ready for this moment. i think they can see the president trying to sow confusion and chaos. which is his natural best operating environment. i don't think they will stand up. >> do you think the trump
presidency has done irreparable harm? to the united states. >> i don't think of a four years it has but one reason i won't vote for him and i'm not voting for biden either. eight years could cause irreparable harm to the u.s. and abroad. international relations. and the constitutional system in the u.s. i think that's important for people to understand, specially conservatives. you vote in maryland, a reliably blue state. so the fact you won't vote for joe biden even though you're decided i not against joe biden doesn't have long term effect. do you think you would be different if you lived in a battleground state where your vote might make more of a difference if you lived in virginia or colorado? >> i won't vote against my philosophy. i point to the example of george meany, in 1972, told richard nixon for the first time, he wasn't going on vote for george mcgovern. he wasn't going to vote for richard nixon, either.
that's what he considered to be the principled thing to do and that's the example i'm following. >> but trump is also against your core philosophies. not just the democrats. >> let's be clear. trump is not a conservative and he's not really a republican. that's why conservatives and republicans should fear his re-election. it's not going to get better in the second term. >> lastly, sir. your message to any voters throughout considering voting for donald trump. what do you want to tell them? what should they know given your book? >> well, i don't think trump should get another term. don't misunderstand. i think voters in that situation should vote for a republican senatorial candidates on help republicans keep control of the senate and be a check against left wing of the democratic party. that's what i'm working to do. >> thank you. so for your time tonight. appreciate it. more of our cnn special, the insiders, after this quick break. stay with us.
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welcome back to "the insiders." the president's chief of staff retired general john kelly is quoted in the book, worrying a couple years ago about president trump's erratic behavior, saying, what if we have a real crisis like 9/11? with the way he makes decisions, unquote. now with the coronavirus pandemic, that crisis is here. you have heard a lot this hour from people who have worked president donald trump who believe he should not win re-election. that he is under interested in governing. that he is motivated only by his self-interests and the united
states of america is less secure with him in the oval office. in every presidency, there are people who disagree with various policies of a president, for whom they serve. as an historical matter, we cannot ignore the sheer number of officials who worked for this president and are now sounding a very public alarm about his fitness for the job. now you can listen to them or you can ignore they will. that's entirely up to you. as journalists, we cannot pretend that they are not there shouting from the roof tops. i'll jake tapper in washington. thank you for watching. i believe the republican party has a platform that is a