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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Melania Trump Undergoes Kidney Procedure at Walter Reed; White House on McCain Comment: "This is an Internal Matter;" Palestinian Ministry Of Health: At Least 58 Killed In Gaza As U.S. Opens New Embassy In Jerusalem; Evangelical Pastors Invited To Jerusalem Embassy Ceremony Have Controversial Past Attacking Non-Christian Religions; Royal Drama; Report: Meghan Markle's Father Won't Attend Royal Wedding After Admitting Staging Photos For The Paparazzi, Getting Paid. Aired on 8-9p ET
Aired May 14, 2018 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:12] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. Thanks for joining us.
There is a lot to get to tonight.
We begin with news about First Lady Melania Trump. Today, we learned she's at Walter Reed Medical Center after having a procedure for what's been described as a benign kidney condition.
I want to get the latest now from Pamela Brown.
So, what more do we know, Pamela?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, we can tell you that the First Lady Melania, she's recovering. She is resting comfortably at Walter Reed Medical Center after a successful kidney procedure this morning there.
Her communications director Stephanie Grisham who was dressed in scrubs told the press that she had just left the first lady, that she was in good spirits. She was asked to elaborate on any more details about this procedure that were just now learning about today and she declined to comment.
Vice President Pence spoke to reporters saying that Melania is already on the mend, but she could stay at Walter Reed, Anderson, for the duration of the week. We'll have to see though. Possibly, you know, time will tell whether she ultimately spends the duration of the week in the hospital or if her recovery happens at a faster clip and she's released earlier than that.
But late this afternoon, the White House released this surprise statement, describing the procedure as an embolization procedure to treat a benign kidney condition. It offered no additional details about this condition or treatment, but it certainly came to surprise for certainly for reporters covering the White House, covering Melania because there really wasn't any sort of news about the fact that she needed this procedure in the first place until after the -- after the fact, after the procedure happened, Anderson. COOPER: The president wasn't with the first lady during the procedure. He did visit today. What more do we know about that?
BROWN: Yes, that's right. The president did visit with her late this -- today, early this evening I should say. He was not with her during the actual procedure but he did visit with her and he spent about an hour there at Walter Reed. He sat with her. He spoke to some of the doctors and nurses who helped with the procedure. He thanked them, we're told.
It's unclear why he wasn't there earlier, particularly this morning when the procedure actually happened we know that she spoke to her on the phone before she had it and then spoke to the doctor after the procedure.
But as we know, Anderson, this is a first lady who was very independent, who is also very private and a presidential visit there would have certainly drawn a lot of attention surrounding the procedure and it was clear that the first lady didn't want anything to come out about it until after the fact. In fact, hours after the fact was when that first statement was released about her kidney procedure today, Anderson.
COOPER: Yes, we certainly wish her the best. Pamela, thanks.
As we mentioned, the statement from the first lady's communications director said she'll probably be hospitalized for the rest of the week after this embolization procedure as was described.
I want to get some insight now from Dr. Sanjay Gupta. He joins us.
So, what exactly we know about this procedure that the first lady underwent?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the embolization procedure basically means that you think of it like a catheter that's being thread through some of the blood vessels. The catheter goes too close to the kidney to where this abnormality is, was, and basically think of it like glue being injected into those blood vessels, to try and cut off the blood supply to that abnormality, if that abnormality was something that was at risk of bleeding, it would decrease the risk of bleeding and when you -- and when you cut off the blood supply, it starts to shrink this blood supply, shrink the mass as well.
So, that's sort of what we know about the procedure. It is something that is sometimes done before. Other operations are done if you're thinking about trying to try to do a procedure in the future for example, we don't know that, but we do know that this embolization sounds like it was successful. And as you heard from Pam, she's resting comfortably now.
COOPER: Why would someone need this sort of a procedure? You're saying there might be a -- there's a mass that in this case they say it's benign, is that -- is that correct? GUPTA: They, in the statement, say this is a benign kidney condition. So, they did use the word benign. There are certain masses that are benign, meaning they're not cancerous, but they can still be dangerous. They could still be at risk of bleeding for example, and that's one of the reasons you might actually use this embolization procedure, to try and stop those blood vessels that be at the risk of bleeding.
So, that could be why it's done. It's -- there's not as much information as it I would like to try and put these pieces together, but that's what it sounds like so far. She -- we also know that she's going to be staying in the hospital for a few more days.
COOPER: I just want to be clear, I use the word masked I just want to make sure. Is that is that accurate that you would do if there was some sort of, or could be something else that but just in general benign?
GUPTA: Well, OK, so if you start to look at why would this embolization procedure being done in something that has benign, not cancerous, it could be a benign mass. there's one that's known as AML, angiomyolipoma, big word but basically means a benign mass that can be at risk of bleeding .
[20:05:01] There could also be sometimes blood vessel abnormalities, so within the blood vessel themselves, you can develop aneurysms or other things, those could be embolized, try and prevent that risk of bleeding from occurring. We don't know. All we know was the statement that says benign kidney condition and that suggests that it's not cancer, but it must have been embolized for some other reason.
COOPER: You mentioned she's going to be in hospital for a few more days. Is that typical with this kind of a procedure?
GUPTA: It's not -- it's not really typical with this sort of procedure. I mean, you know, sometimes, these can even be done as outpatients, you know, come in the same day and be discharged the same day. Sometimes, people stay overnight because you want to see if someone develops any pain. There could be a risk of infection. There could be a risk of bleeding as a result of the procedure, so you want to monitor those things.
Staying until the end of the week seems kind of long. I don't know if that means that there's something a little bit more serious going on that we may learn about over the next couple of days, or if this is, you know, just an abundance of caution given that she's, you know, the first lady.
GUPTA: So, I'm not -- it's not clear. We've asked those questions, haven't heard back yet specifically on that. But I think over the next couple of days, hopefully, we'll get a few more details.
COOPER: Sanjay, stick around. I want to bring in our Gloria Borger, Dana Bash, as well as Douglas Brinkley.
So, Gloria, you know, there's still a lot of unanswered questions. Clearly, anytime, a first lady is hospitalized it's very significant for a number of reasons.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it really is and look, in this case, Melania Trump is quite popular. She has a 57 percent approval rating. She's seen quite frequently now. She wasn't at the beginning of the presidency but now, she's got her own agenda out there, and so, we do -- we do see her a lot.
And I think it's also important for another reason. I think people in this country look to the medical treatments of people who were well- known to see in their lives if something should happen to them what they might do. I mean, I remember when Nancy Reagan back in the day had had breast cancer and took a very aggressive treatment. It was quite controversial when she had a breast removed at the time.
And so, people will look to the first lady try and figure out what it is that she has and as you've said, they're very being very protective about it, but try and judge from her treatment should it happen to them in their own case -- well, this is what Melania Trump did and maybe that's something I ought to -- I ought to think about. And so, it is -- it is significant.
Dana, I mean this does -- to Gloria's point also, it comes up her very busy period for the first lady. We've seen her more consistently in the last couple of weeks and really in quite a while.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: We certainly have. She clearly has made a point of not only putting her own agenda out there, but being more present even as recently as the end of last week when the president went to greet the three prisoners who had come back from North Korea. She was there in the middle of the night to do that and they've also had a little bit more, I would even say a lot more public affection than they ever had. I know it's basically going from zero to a little, but the little was noteworthy and has been has been noteworthy.
And I think at the end of the day, just like Gloria said, she is a very, very private person. Few first ladies asked for this. I think Melania Trump is in the category of -- may be one of the few, even of those group who didn't ask for this, who really, really didn't expect this when she married Donald Trump, to be the first lady of the United States.
And she keeps her own counsel. She has her own staff and she wants to do things her way and doing things her way means if you have something wrong medically and you have to have surgery, you're going to announce it after it's done and not give a lot of details.
COOPER: Doug, can you just speak to the historical context here, first ladies being hospitalized while their husbands are in office? DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, it happens a lot and you know the one that this kind of rings my bell about is when Woodrow Wilson came in and his wife Ellen Wilson had Bright's disease, had chronic kidney problems. She was only first lady, she's 54 years old, and ended up dying out of only, you know, a year-and-a-half in office.
The difference is that was 1914. Today with modern medicine, these kind of procedures like Melania Trump's going through are pretty commonplace. I mean, well, I recall and you probably do, Anderson, LBJ got his gallbladder removed and he would show people his big scar was like a dramatic surgery. And today, these are done, people go in and out on something like gallbladder surgery, and the same with removing a kidney tumor that's benign.
Nevertheless, Wilson -- Woodrow Wilson back then got pressures on my wife is sick, it distracted him a lot. Some people think it made him have an itchy finger in Mexico with an invasion there. Today, Donald Trump is dealing with what's going on in Israel and Palestine, North Korea, and yet, he has to constantly be monitoring his wife's physical and mental health when she's under this kind of strain and stress.
COOPER: You know, Sanjay, Gloria made an important point that that, you know, often when a well-known person, particularly somebody from the first family, the first lady or the president has a condition, it does inform vast numbers of people about possible conditions that they may have or possible treatments that they may be able to seek if they did have a condition.
GUPTA: Yes, I mean, there's no question. I think even if you look at post-presidency for Bill Clinton, for example, when he had his heart surgery, I think a lot of people learned about heart disease, different ways to treat it at that time. It is certainly an opportunity -- I mean, a lot of people are paying attention at that time to something they wouldn't otherwise they attention to, and they could potentially learn a lot. I think there's no question.
We see it obviously with politicians, but also Angelina Jolie when she had her breast cancer surgery after being diagnosed with the breast cancer gene. So, those are real teaching moments.
COOPER: And, Sanjay, just to be clear. I mean, this sounds -- I mean, is this routine? Would it be -- I mean, I don't want to quantify it in any way that's not right.
GUPTA: No, it's a great question and I think given the fact that we saw so much of the first lady over the past week or so, my guess is that this probably was routine as opposed to being emergent, you know, this was something that was planned. It may have been something that had been seen on a routine exam, maybe even followed along for a little bit of time, meaning that they were getting some follow-up scans and at some point said, you know what, this probably needs to be treated, it's grown, or it's changed in some way, and deserves treatment at this point.
So, I -- this doesn't sound like this was an emergent emergency type procedure.
COOPER: Gloria, does it surprise you that we only heard about this procedure after it happened? I mean, certainly, Melania Trump likes privacy and, you know, deserves privacy in a medical condition.
BORGER: Sure, and look as Dana was pointing out, she's private, she's independent, she's got a small staff and she decided to keep it private, as did other first ladies. I mean, I think -- I think Nancy Reagan did. I think Betty Ford in her -- never talked about the alcoholism until she was -- she was out of office.
And I think that first ladies deserve their privacy and she got it. Now, at some point, I would think because who wants all this kind of speculation out there, I would assume that when her care is done and she's back at the White House, that perhaps there would be a more detailed briefing. But we just -- you know, we just don't know if that's going to happen, but I would assume that it's better than speculating. I think perhaps, they want to wait until she's well and back and back in the White House for that though.
COOPER: Dana, it is interesting how little we really know about, sort of, the life of the first lady and particularly obviously now. I mean, the health thing is obviously an issue, but the really kind of her -- she's just developing her role in a public way in the White House.
BASH: Absolutely, look, she didn't remember even come down to Washington formally and officially until at the beginning of last summer. So, she hasn't even been formally in the White House for a full year yet, and I think that there's no question that she was as much as the president says that he knew he was going to win, people around him really didn't think that it was going to happen, and that includes his wife.
And so, it took some time understandably for her to kind of get her sea legs and understand what this role is, never mind that she is coming in too and she has been a part of this unbelievably, you know, unprecedented situation where she has her husband talking about and having to deal with allegations from earlier on in their marriage and, you know, there's no question that it's impossible to think that that has not determined how Melania Trump has talked or not talked very much publicly.
COOPER: Yes. Well, again, we wish her the best.
BASH: We do.
COOPER: Thanks, everybody.
Coming up, the White House aide who made a horrible joke about Senator John McCain has apologized privately not in public and the White House still refuses to apologize at all. We're keeping them honest, next.
Also, dozens of Palestinians killed by Israeli security forces. At least a thousand injured in Gaza according to Palestinian Authority as an American delegation led by Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner attend a ceremony to officially open the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem.
[20:18:44] COOPER: Well, tonight, we're keeping them honest with what should be the easiest thing in the world, an apology for an insensitive remark, an apology the White House again just flat-out refuses to give.
Kelly Sadler, White House aide, said in a meeting last week that Senator John McCain's opposition to CIA nominee Gina Haspel didn't matter because, quote, he's dying anyway. Sadler called Meghan McCain on Thursday to apologize. A source told CNN that Sadler promised Meghan McCain she would publicly apologize. That public apology however has not happened yet, and the White House continues to refuse to apologize at all or even to denounce what she said.
At the White House today, deputy press secretary Raj Shah said Kelly Sadler is still an employee and that she came to work today. As for that apology, not happening.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Why not just apologize so America doesn't think that that is an acceptable way of speaking inside this White House?
RAJ SHAH, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: Well, I understand the focus on this issue, but it's going to be dealt with and has been dealt with internally. You know, I was told -- hang on, I was told Kelly Sadler called the McCain family late last week and did apologize, and beyond that, I don't have further comments.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, Shah was asked about this multiple times today and the same phrase kept popping up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHAH: It's going to be dealt with and has been dealt with internally. This is an internal matter. It's being addressed internally.
[20:20:01] And, obviously, if I explain all that and it won't remain internal. Again, the matter is going to be addressed -- has been addressed internally. It's an internal matter and we're -- we've addressed it internally.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, keeping them honest, the White House may want this to be an internal matter, but the story got out there and got out there fast. The genie is not going back in the bottle.
Before we get too far into this, let's just remember what exactly we're talking about. We're talking about Senator John McCain, an American hero, former prisoner of war, who was tortured to the point that he still can't lift his arms over his head, a Republican senator who's dedicated his life to public service, who's battling brain cancer.
How hard is it to say we're sorry for a member of the White House staff made a crass remark? For this White House, apparently, it's impossibly hard. They're trying to make it about leaks, about an internal matter, and all common sense and common decency were simply ignored.
Listen to what Matt Schlapp said on CNN's "NEW DAY" today. He's the head of the American Conservative Union and is married to White House communications advisor Mercedes Schlapp.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATT SCHLAPP, AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE UNION: Kelly is my friend and I feel bad that she's going through this. She's a character to immediately call to apologize, but she's also a little bit of a victim here.
I don't blame anybody like you, Chris, for running with leaks out of the White House, it's your job. You're trying to get transparency to the voters and to Americans.
The problem is none of us were in that room and the people who leaked what she said are clearly people who have an animus against her and that's the problem in this White House, is that when people have animus they go public and they've got to solve that problem. We don't know what Kelly meant by that term.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Certainly seems like we know what she meant. As for what Matt Schlapp meant about Kelly Sadler being a victim, that ones unclear. We invited Mr. Schlapp to come on the program tonight. We also asked the White House, they all declined.
So, let's call this what it is -- the White House obviously has been instructed not to apologize or something clearly just should apologize for and move on. And now, the president's staff and supporters are running around throwing smoke screens. And don't forget, this is a president who not only has insulted McCain himself, but as we all found out during the campaign doesn't ever want to apologize for anything.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The idea of asking for forgiveness, that's not a sense -- is that a central tenant for you is that? Or is that something that --
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENET OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I like to work where I don't really have to ask -- I like to do the right thing we're not have to actually ask for forgiveness.
I like to be good, I don't like to have to ask for forgiveness and I am good.
I think if I -- if I do something wrong, I think I just try and make it right.
I totally think apologizing is a great thing, but you have to be wrong.
And I will absolutely apologize sometime in the hopefully distant future, if I'm ever wrong.
COOPER: When was the last time you actually apologized for something?
TRUMP: Oh, wow.
TRUMP: No, I do I believe -- I don't know. I think -- can I think? But, look, I do believe in apologizing if you're wrong, but if you're not wrong, I don't believe in apologizing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So, by that logic, either the president has never been wrong or he just really doesn't believe in apologizing. In fact, the only instance we could find of him apologizing on camera was after that "Access Hollywood" tape when he bragged about sexually assaulting women. After it came out, he released a video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Anyone who knows me knows these words don't reflect who I am. I said it. I was wrong and I apologize.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Of course, he went on to say in that same video that Bill Clinton is worse and he has since raised doubts about whether that was even his voice on the "Access Hollywood" tape which as we all know it was, that he said one time, I said it, I was wrong, I apologize is an anomaly.
Clearly, the president does not believe in apologizing but that doesn't stop him from constantly demanding that people apologize to him. Now, here's just a few of the people he's tweeted about demanding apologies from them for perceived wrongs -- Hillary Clinton, ESPN, the cast of "Hamilton" on Broadway, the former president of Mexico, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, "The New York Times", "The Wall Street Journal" and Senator John McCain himself.
The bottom line is with a simple apology, the White House could have made this Kelly Sadler story go away the day it happened and every day since then, right up until today. The question is why won't they? Why won't they admit the tone it set from the top?
Remember what Sarah Sanders said Friday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: What does the White House believe about and is there a tone set from the top here where it is allowed for an aide to say he's dying anyway?
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Certainly, there is not a tone set here. We have a respect for all Americans.
REPORTER: Why not apologize to Senator McCain?
SANDERS: Again, I'm not going to get into a back-and-forth because, you know, people want to create issues of leaked staff meetings.
REPORTER: Does the president set the tone? Does he bear responsibility for the tone for this business?
SANDERS: The president, as I mentioned just a moment ago, supports all Americans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So, he supports all Americans but won't apologize to one in particular.
With me now is Steve Cortes and Paul Begala.
So, Paul, I mean, this is really part of whether it's the administration's playbook or Mr. Trump's playbooks never to apologize.
[20:25:02] Does it work? I mean, it certainly seems to have worked for the president this far.
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it has so far. It works apparently with maybe a third of the country, right? With the Republican core base. And I guess that's fine.
The question is, first off, not just as a political matter as a moral matter. This is a man whose record that based by the way Christian evangelicals white Christian evangelicals and I'm glad you found that tape. It was the same interview in Ames, Iowa, in 2015, where he attacked John McCain. That's the same interview where he said McCain is not a war hero.
Then he was asked by Frank Luntz, the moderator, do you ever seek forgiveness from God? And for people of faith of which I am one seeking forgiveness from God is essential, and he said, no, I don't do that.
So, that's his view and it he does set this tone. He never apologized to President Obama for spreading a racist lie that he wasn't born here, never apologized to Ted Cruz for spreading really this vicious nonsense that somehow Cruz's father was connected to the Kennedy assassination or to Senator Cruz's wife whose looks that he mocked. I mean, Serge Kovaleski of "The New York Times" whose physical disability he mocked, he never apologizes.
And what that does in this case is it compounds the pain in the McCain family, and that is unconscionable. It comes as political (ph), but that's his business but it's compelling the pain of a family who's a padre de familia (ph) is fighting for his life and who is an American hero and then that's really unconscionable.
BEGALA: -- to agree with me because I know he's a man of conscience and would never countenance this kind of reprehensible, right, Steve?
STEVE CORTES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Listen, if you are going to sit in judgment of Donald Trump, moral judgment of him, then I think it's important that you realize that you served a president who supported abortion through the ninth month of pregnancy, literally until the day of birth. So, that's an important distinction.
So, we can have problems with Donald Trump as people of faith, OK? We can have problems with Barack Obama as people of faith, but let's be clear about the policies, not just as attitudes that they've espoused.
BEGALA: As a pro-life person, Steve, you must be really astoundingly offended that they're mocking a man who's fighting for his life, right?
CORTES: Listen --
BEGALA: That can't be a pro-life thing to do not, right, to mock a man who's fighting a brain tumor?
CORTES: To mock anyone who is near death I think is wrong, absolutely. And let me --
COOPER: Steve, should the president -- Steve, should the White House just make him say, look, we're sorry for what this person said, or should the person who said it herself to publicly apologize?
CORTES: Anderson, I think the White House should apologize, I do. I think that, number one, because I think it's the right thing to do, because we created an unfair or an unneeded narrative out there.
Number two, I think it's -- this story should not be five days old which I think it is right now.
But I will say also this, Anderson, will the mainstream media apologize for continuing to focus on a mid-level staffer who -- and, by the way, I really like Kelly Sadler, so I don't mean to demean her in any way. But a mid-level staffer who'd 99 percent of America has never heard of and ignore the massive amount of good news, whether it's from the jobs market to the Korea peninsula that is going on right now, and hyper-focus on one crass statement or one poorly worded joke from one mid-level White House staffer.
COOPER: Yes, if it's so meaningless, why not just do the decent, human thing? I mean, you say they should. I just don't understand just the -- I'm trying to understand the -- is it that the president believes apologizing is weakness and that message has been sent to anyone in the White House that does he believe that you don't get credit for apologizing from your enemies, anyway so what's the point?
CORTES: You know, well, listen, I sure don't think so. Listen, Anderson, you can ask my wife, I apologize probably about four times a day. So I believe it apologizing.
COOPER: I mean, we're on the same page on this, but I just don't get why -- what the thinking is behind it?
CORTES: OK, I guess -- I think here's the thing: and I think here's where the president has a point though is, when is the mainstream media apologize to him? When did they apologize -- when did "The Washington Post" apologize for saying that he moved the MLK statue when he did not? When did CNN apologize for reporting, by the way, that he as a matter of fact, not as supposition, that Comey was going to was going to deny the fact that he had told him three times that he had not -- was not investigating him? When is the mainstream media going to apologize for fake news?
So, I understand --
COOPER: I believe "The Washington Post" apologized immediately for that mistake. And generally, anytime in the news organization makes a mistake, they issue a correction. I mean immediately.
BEGALA: That was "TIME" magazine, by the way. I don't believe it was "The Post".
CORTES: The correction -- the gets 1/100th the volume of the initial report. We saw that with, for instance, ABC News who said that that he directed General Flynn when the stock market crashed for a day to contact the Russians and it was untrue. The correction never gets the volume.
COOPER: It just seems to be like you're trying to like jingle like a shiny object away from the actual thing we're talking about, which I get why you would want to do that. But Paul, I mean, to Steve's point, this is something that happened days ago. If she had just apologized and said, you know, publicly, or the White House put out a statement saying we regret what she said she is a mid level staffer to Steve's point. And, you know, we support her but what she said was wrong. No one would be talking about this, would they Paul?
BEGALA: Right. And I think of what Michelle Obama said when she was first lady, where she said the presidency does not shape your character, it reveals it. And I thought President Trump's character was already revealed in the campaign, but we're seeing again. He is a person no matter what the offense, no matter how horrible conduct he or his staff in this case commit will not apologize. And yet is rewarded with 80% support of white Christian evangelicals, people of color of faith and generally not a strong supporter, but. In that sense, you know, the fault were prove their slice not in our (INAUDIBLE) it lies in ourselves. People wanted to hold this man accountable, they would. But --
COOPER: I going to go.
BEGALA: -- I understand how my fellow Americans responded this, because it is reprehensible.
COOPER: Paul Begala, Steve Cortes, appreciate it.
CORTES: Paul, but that's twice you brought up white by the way, is there a racist tone? Is that what you're implying?
BEGALA: No, it said -- and people say --
BEGALA: Here's why Steve it's important, because people say evangelicals support --
CORTES: Because I'm a Hispanic.
BEGALA: Let me answer your question. People say evangelicals support Trump, that's actually not true. People of color who are evangelicals tend are Democratic and so -- I'm just saying as an analytical accuracy, we should say, white evangelicals --
BEGALA: -- support Trump. It's nothing against this. Nothing wrong being white, I don't know if you can see.
COOPER: Paul Begala.
COOPER: Steve Cortes, Paul Begala, thank you.
Up next, we have more breaking news on the 70th anniversary the formation of Israel, the U.S. embassy is moved to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. The (INAUDIBLE) campaign promise made by President Trump also during past demonstrations by Palestinians and protest. Palestinian official saying nearly 60 were killed. We have the very latest from the region when we continue.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [20:35:10] COOPER: Its breaking news out of the Middle East tonight. The death toll is rising along the border of Gaza and Israel. Now standing at 58 according to Palestinian Ministry of Health. This is the formal American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital that came the reality in a televised ceremony, the capture of Syrian contras between speech making and violence.
President Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner delivered a speech praising the move. Meantime as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu talked to the podium, television screens in the U.S. were also showing the violence as Palestinians protested the openings by trying to force their ways past guard into Israeli territory. For his part, the President delivered a video taped message of welcome.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: This city and this entire nation is a testament to the unbreakable spirit of the Jewish people. The United States will always be a great friend of Israel and a partner in the cause of freedom and peace. We wish you Ambassador Freedman good luck as he takes up his office in this beautiful Jerusalem embassy and we extend a hand in friendship to Israel, the Palestinians and to all of their neighbors.
COOPER: But both the President and the Palestinians delivered on their promises of course, President Trump promised to move the embassy from Tel Aviv during this 2016 campaign and the Palestinians promised to protest if he did. To sort all this out, I'm joined by CNN Global Affairs Analyst, Aaron David Miller.
Sir Aaron, so Jared Kushner saying today, I believed peace is within in reach if we dare to believe that the future can be different from the past. Is he right? I mean is peace within reach right now?
AARON DAVID MILLER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: You know, it's a nice line Anderson, but I think we got a face up the reality. The first time I met Mr. Kushner, I said to him, you know, I wish my father-in- law has much confidence in me as your father-in-law pierce (ph) to having you, because his giving you mission impossible. And I think what happened today, even though the U.S. Embassy belongs in West Jerusalem, there is no question about that.
What happened today made mission impossible -- mission impossible on steroids. So the reality is I doubt frankly, we're certainly we are not closer, and I think in terms of the U.S. role in terms of the framework for negotiation I think what happened today is made the situation all that more difficult.
COOPER: Yes, I mean I guess the question now, is does anyone on the Palestinian side see the U.S. as an honest broker in this situation which I assume is essential for some sort of peace process and yes, peace process to move forward?
MILLER: Yes, I mean I think the answer is no. I think the answer is probably no even before Mr. Trump got to Washington. But the truth is, the situation in many respects and again I'm not -- I'm not dreaming here. The situation may actually be redeemable if the administration were prepared to put on the table and approach Israeli- Palestinian peace maybe that was more than one hand clapping, one that reflecting the needs and requirements on the core issues, borders, Jerusalem, refugees, recognition of Israel as a nation state of the Jews, end of conflict in all claims that reflected the core needs and requirements of each side.
But, that's a stretch frankly in this administration. One additional points worth making, you know, this administration, and I have worked for Republicans and Democrats and voted for them too, this is not a partisan comment. But this administration seems to come up with solutions to problems that we don't have. It's true on TP -- withdrawal from TPP, climate change, the travel ban. Withdrawal from JCPO which -- JCPOA the Iran nuclear agreement, which was highly flawed, but still functional.
And I think the Jerusalem decision is another example of creating a solution to a problem we didn't have and in the process creating additional problems.
COOPER: It is something that past candidates and past administrations frankly have said they would do and then just kept pushing it off for the future.
MILLER: It's true, but there was a reason for that. You know, Congress passes the '95 Jerusalem Act and telling this administration that basically moved the embassy to Jerusalem by '99 and three previous administrations two for whom I worked, exercised that national security waiver every six months precisely. Because this is Jerusalem is the most combustible volatile, emotionally and religiously fraught issue in all of the issues in the Israeli- Palestinian conflict. That I think they were right and wise to do it given the situation that we're going to face now.
COOPER: And today the White House spokesperson Raj Shah was asked a number of times about responsibility of Israel for the dozen of deaths on the border between the Israel and Gaza. And he answered each time pointing the finger at Hamas that they're the blame. What do you make of that?
MILLER: Well, I think -- looked, dealing with the humanitarian situation in Gaza which is reached crisis proportions. The absence of electricity, portable water, massive unemployment and originally, these demonstrations were grassroots from Palestinian activists. They were hijacked I think in -- in all fairness by Hamas for seven Fridays in a row.
[20:40:11] And the fact that you have these things today on the 70th anniversary of the Christian State of Israel and the opening of the embassy and tomorrow is all today, violence could be worse and then we're into Ramadan. So, I think Hamas realized that high trajectory weapons and tunneling was not an effective way to put the Palestinian issue front and center. They found one. And tragically, this is the one they advanced. COOPER: Aaron David Miller, appreciate your time. Thanks very much.
MILLER: Thank you.
COOPER: As of events on the ground weren't turbulent enough. The presidents of two Americas more conservative evangelical pastors at today's Jerusalem ceremony at even more controversy, we have details in that when we continue.
COOPER: Well again, our breaking news, at least 58 people have died in clashes in Gaza. The U.S. opened its new embassy in Jerusalem today, that's according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Two of the invited speakers at today's ceremony in Jerusalem are evangelical pastors, John Hagee is the founder of Christians United for Israel and Robert Jeffress is a Southern Baptist preacher. Both have come under fire for that controversial statements about religions that aren't Christian. This is Pastor Jeffress associate sales at least three major religions, its not exactly isn't to hear but listen.
ROBERT JEFFRESS, PREACHER, SOUTHERN BAPTIST: "Islam is wrong. It is a heresy from the pit of hell. Mormonism is wrong. It is a heresy from the pit of hell.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
JEFFRESS: Judaism, you know, you can't be saved being a Jew.
COOPER: But former presidential candidate Mitt Romney who's a Mormon tweeted this late Sunday. Robert Jeffress says, you can't be saved by being a Jew. And Mormonism is a heresy from pit of hell. He said the same about Islam, such a religion bigot should not be given the prayer that opens the United States in Jerusalem.
Again both were invited as representatives at the United States of America. To discuss, we're joined by Reverend Darrell Scott, a Trump supporter and CNN Political Commentator, Marc Lamont Hill.
[20:45:11] Reverend Scott, given that both of these pastors have made not just generally controversial statements -- but controversial statements about Judaism in particular, was it appropriate to have them speak at today's ceremony?
REV. DARRELL SCOTT, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Well, I know both pastors particularly John Hagee have been big pro-Israel for years. I don't think that they intentionally was saying disparaging remarks about Judaism or any other religion they would just expressing their faith and their beliefs. You know, most were religious belief that they're religion is the exclusive avenue to salvation or to God.
Mormonism believes that the Mormons are is the way to God. Jews are --Judaism is the monotheistic religion. And so they believe that their way is the only way to the one and true living God, Islam believes the same thing. So these pastors were expressive of their faith. I know both of them and I really don't believe that they were trying to say anything denigrating about any other religion.
COOPER: Marc, what about that? I mean it is certainly something that the Pastor Jeffress and Hagee, you know, it is their faith. It is their belief.
MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: They are entitled to their belief, but it's an odd choice to go to Israel to stand in Jerusalem and introduce a preacher and have a preacher give words who have said that Jews are going to hell and Muslims are going to hell. In an area in a region where religious difference is being pushed particularly by Netanyahu and Donald Trump as the primary reason for this conflict, although I would disagree.
So there's a religious tension there, there's cultural tension and you stand in front of these people and say hey, these are -- these people are going to hell. Can you imagine if Mr. Farrakhan had said that you're going to hell, Donald Trump will be leading the march on Twitter of course to that -- to have him denounce. Imagine Jeremiah Wright have gone there, they would even been denounce, but somehow Donald Trump was able to bring in an evangelical base that's -- that is anti-Semitical in the one hand, and committed to a very particular Zionist edible (ph) in the other hand, it's a tight rope that you just can't walk and as a result you end up really insulting everybody and just provoking more tension in the region.
COOPER: And Marc, is it fair to say he is anti-Semitic though? I mean yes he clearly believes that Jews will go to hell unless they convert, but is that anti-Semetic?
HILL: Saying that Jews are going to hell as such is not anti-Semitic, it's a belief that I disagree with. But it's a religious faith piece. However, Donald Trump has surrounded himself with a group of -- of evangelicals who have said other things in alt-right crew that doesn't just say make theological and (INAUDIBLE) theological claims. They also make the same anti-Sematic remarks about Jewish Kabbalahs (ph), I mean about Jews running the world. These are the very same narratives that we hear from the alt-right people who support Donald Trump. So the same people were marching in Charleston is same people who support this pastors.
So, it's not just what he said in that particular sermon, that particular snippet that people keep showing today. It's the whole narrative together.
COOPER: Reverend, Scott, what about that?
SCOTT: Well, I don't agree with that. I mean people are entitled to their own opinion. They own have -- logical views. They own feel logical views. They simply expressed the fact that they believed Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life, there is no other means of -- by which one can access God, having a relationship with God outside of him. (CROSSTALK)
COOPER: If their support though of Israel is based at least on prophesy and the belief that is the location and the end, the end time comes, I mean it is an end time prophesy, isn't that at least part of the support of someone like Pastor Jeffress?
SCOTT: Well some of it is prophecy, some of this history. See people I don't understand, Christianity is not antagonistic to Judaism. And so -- it's complementary, we believe that Christianity is simply the fulfillment of Judaism. That the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed. And so it then, not antagonistic one towards another. We consider do's to be our brethren after the faith. We believe in the same God, amen. But they do not accept Jesus Christ as their Messiah. We believe that Jesus is the Messiah of the Jews. And so we're not antagonistic a hostile one to another, I mean, I don't know what they did centuries ago. But as of now, we're not.
HILL: Well I think if you look at anti-Semitism in the United States, if you look at anti-Semitism in Europe, it's often animated by people who purport to be Christians. And so --
SCOTT: You're absolutely right.
HILL: So I don't think it is fair to say that there's no antagonism here. But it's also important to make a distinction between Israeli state craft and Judaism. To say that someone is not anti Jewish because they support Israel those are two different things, you can support the state of Israel and still be an anti-Semite, which we often seen with evangelicals, and to Anderson's point, part of why that happens, is because they're supporting a return Jews and European immigrants to Israel, because it's part of the end of the day prophecy fulfillment, not because they believe that it's a just or right for outcome.
So this is how you end up with a state of Israel that on the one hand is oppressing Palestinians and on the other hand is trying to push forward a religious narratives and its being supported by Zionist Christians and Zionist Jews. So -- well, I mean but that's something is historically fact, I mean historically --
[20:50:04] SCOTT: I don't see Israel -- I don't see Israel as persecuting Palestinians. If it was up to the Palestinians, it was up to Islam, every single Jew in Israel would be slaughtered, if it was up to Israel, it would be peaceful co-existence. So let's not get it twisted here. The goal of Judaism is not to wipe out Islam. The goal of Islam is to wipe out Israel. And you can't --
SCOTT: -- say that Israel is persecuting Palestinians simply because they're protecting themselves.
COOPER: Reverend Scott, you said that all Palestinians want to wipe out all Israelis. Do you -- do you stand by that?
SCOTT: When I say all, I don't mean -- I mean all in a limited sense, as a figure of speech, known as a synecdoche when a word, all, is used for a part. But they as the fact --
COOPER: Yes, you say all Muslims.
SCOTT: That would desire to completely and totally remove Israel's presence from Jerusalem and from Israel. I mean, to remove them from the portion of the world. And that is -- and even when you're saying about the discriminatory practices or whatever, I'm not denying the reality. I'm simply saying there's something they have to work out for themselves.
COOPER: All right. Appreciate the discussion. Marc Lamont Hill, Reverend Scott as well. Thank you.
Up next, less than a week until the royal wedding at Windsor Castle and there's reportedly a big development regarding Meghan Markle's family. Details on that when we come back.
[20:55:22] COOPER: But the last thing that Meghan Markle wants before she weds Prince Harry on Saturday is a scandal that was playing out. According to TMZ, her father has decided to skip the wedding after admitting staging several photos for paparazzi including this one supposed of him getting fitted for a suit. Ms. Markle's half sister was the first one to make the confession saying it was all her idea. This all started with a report in a London newspaper over the weekend.
CNN's royal correspondent, Max Foster joins us with the details. So Max, what more are you learning about this?
MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what's interesting is these photos suddenly came out. They went viral and they show Thomas Markle apparently getting ready for the big day. A lot of people at the time actually said they looked staged then that was dismissed and they turned out that they were. You know, Meghan's half-sister, Samantha, admitted as much. She also said it was her idea to come up with this. It wasn't for the money despite lots of money being made from these photos. It was because, you know, Thomas didn't feel the images out there really reflected him very well so he wanted to create some new ones.
So it's all become a real mess. And now he's told TMZ that he's not coming to the wedding. And this is just a few days, obviously, Anderson, before the big day, itself.
COOPER: And TMZ originally reported he wasn't going to attend because he had a heart attack six days ago. What have you found out about that?
FOSTER: We haven't been able to confirm that, but what we did do obviously was go to the palace and say what do you know about this TMZ report? And they came back and they issued a statement saying, you know, this is very difficult situation, effectively. Then I managed to speak to someone very close to Meghan and Harry and they described how, you know, deeply upset they were, how very concerned they are about Thomas Markle, and how they want the media just to give him some space.
She said, this is interesting, I mean, while the source said she said that she's not put off at all by these photos. It didn't affect whether or not she wanted her father to walk her down the aisle. And I think the point that they're making there is there are some rumors around suggesting that, you know, the palace got involved, they were embarrassed by these photos, they didn't want him coming to the wedding. And I think the message really from the people I've been speaking to is it absolutely was not the case, they weren't -- well they might have been embarrassed by the photos but didn't stop the idea that she wanted him coming to the wedding.
So I think they're deeply upset by this. They'd still love him still to come. And it's all become, you know, pretty sad for them I think a few days ahead of the wedding.
COOPER: Yes, Max Foster, appreciate it. Thanks.
Not sure what the big deal is about those photos. I'm going to be traveling to England for the royal. I'll be anchoring from there starting Friday night.
And up next, more serious stuff, First Lady Melania Trump hospitalized after undergoing a kidney procedure. The latest when we continue.