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CUOMO PRIME TIME
Trump Finally Says He Respects McCain's Service to U.S.; McCain's Final Words; Believe in the Greatness of the U.S.; Pope Francis Accused of Covering up Sexual Misconduct. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired August 27, 2018 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: All right. Thank you, JB.
I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.
Respect, John McCain gets it for the strength not nearly the length of his service to the nation. Respect, President Trump could not give it to McCain until he was shamed into it this afternoon.
Tonight, we're going to get after this. When will our president understand that the flag and the office he holds actually belong to the people and he must act in our interests?
Plus, this moment really should be less about Trump. So we're going to take time to be positive in the midst of pain. We have something very special for you to hear tonight -- a final message from McCain to you, his fellow Americans.
Plus, a provocative question, did the pope know? Explosive new accusations from a former Vatican official who claims the church abuse cover-up went all the way to the top. So, tonight, we're going to have a cardinal on the show who was named in the disturbing testimony.
What do you say? Let's get after it.
CUOMO: So, all over the country flags remained at half staff in honor of Senator John McCain, but not at the White House. That is, until veterans groups and pretty much every corner of the national community demanded that their White House show the respect for a senator who deserves it.
So, let's talk about why, what the senator meant to his family and to his country and what we need to carry on.
Let's bring in S.E. Cupp, the host of "UNFILTERED" which airs Saturdays on CNN. And we have David Axelrod, of course, host of the "AXE FILES".
Good to have you both. Thank you.
S.E., you know the McCain family. How are they doing and, you know, going through this process of what their father meant, what their husband meant, where are they? S.E. CUPP, CNN HOST: Well, it's, as you can imagine, been a really
long and trying year. What people may or may not understand about this particular disease is that there are great days, and then bad days. And you sort of never know where it's going to turn.
And so, if you can imagine the emotional rollercoaster that this family has been through over the past year having great days, a great week, at times sending nurses away, and then to have it turn in an instant. The back and forth, the ups and downs have been so brutal psychologically and emotionally on Meghan and her mom and her whole family.
But on the flip side, the gift of time that they all had to anticipate this and prepare meant they all got to spend a lot of time together. Meghan spent a lot of time out in the desert with her dad in the peace and quiet of the Arizona desert, reflecting on his life and his legacy, and their relationship and that was such a gift that they all got.
And I know in the end, it was something that the senator really -- really appreciated and leaned on, and something that the rest of the family was really, really grateful for as well.
CUOMO: Hopefully -- look, I know they're going to process this on a personal level, they have to, Axe, but hopefully, it'll mean something that they know that everywhere you look in political culture right now, people are tipping their hat to a man who deserved it. Forget about the politics and the positions --
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Absolutely.
CUOMO: -- and we are seeing that, right?
AXELROD: There's no question about it. Because of the times in which we live those qualities are so much more acute in our minds. I mean, John McCain -- I will -- to paraphrase John McCain, I respected him -- I have great differences with him politically, I respected him enormously as a great American. And someone who really understood what this country is about.
Like you, Chris, my family were immigrants, my father was an immigrant. They didn't come to this country because there was an open scrap of land to settle in and pitch a tent. They came here because of the values that animated this country, because of what it stood for. And he understood, and he stood for that.
This notion that America was a very special place, that we're the inheritors of something special and we need to fight to preserve that. And everyone around the world respected him for that. And this animated his life.
CUOMO: Yes, S.E., funny -- not funny at all. A good story that ax has that you may not have heard before. So, after the election, he starts the institute at the University of Chicago, right? And so, you're thinking all the Democrats will come out and they'll come speak and they'll give some cache to what Axe is doing. Who was one of the first people who said they'd work with you? . AXELROD: Yes, John McCain. He came -- you know, I ran -- essentially ran a campaign with others against him in 2008. He was one of our first guests at the IOP, and he came and he spent time with students. He did an event for prospecting for support for the institute. Why? Because he thought inspiring the ethic of public service was something that he should do. It was something he believed in, he lived it. He wanted these young people to live it as well.
And it was really such an impressive thing that he was -- now, he had a few barbed lines about some of our past exchanges.
AXELROD: Which were well-received.
CUOMO: You were going to get it with him. He meant what he said.
AXELROD: And they always came with humor.
CUOMO: Yes. He said to me, how can such a big head hold so few ideas that make sense.
CUOMO: And I was laughing.
He meant it. He was a combatant. He wanted to battle ideas. He was a fighter in every different field, venue there was, S.E., and I wonder --
AXELROD: I'm sorry, Chris.
CUOMO: No, no, I want to bring S.E. on this idea of, you just don't have people like that in politics. You know, setting aside the completely unique service he had by political standards. You know, coming into office, he achieved something and sacrificed in a way you almost never see.
But the genuineness and authenticity of what he was, like him or not, like the positions or not, I hope the family knows what a unique place he holds.
CUPP: I think they do. You know, there's -- the moment that has been widely circulated from the Minnesota town hall that David Axelrod remembers well, where Senator McCain told a supporter, no, no, he's not -- he's a decent man, I just disagree with him. There's a moment from that town hall that isn't getting as much attention but it should, where a supporter got up and said I'm scared of a Barack Obama presidency, I'm scared of that. And Senator McCain said you don't have to be scared. We just disagree. Don't be scared if he becomes president. I mean, if you think of the current climate that preys on fear, Donald
Trump does it, Republicans do it, Democrats do it, certainly right now, that is highly acute. To imagine a man taking an opportunity and passing it by to say, no, you don't have to be afraid. I might disagree with him on policy but do not fear him.
That is something that he echoed today in that final statement where he said, we are going to be stronger after this. I have to tell you as a conservative of a certain perspective who is deeply concerned about the health of my country and health of my party, I was so grateful that John McCain said that in his final moments, that he comforted people like me to say, it's going to be okay, we're going to get through this and we're going to be better for it. That meant so much to me, and I'm sure I am not alone as a Republican who is concerned, in saying that was really, really important. An incredible give he gave us in the end.
CUOMO: Axe, what do you want people to remember about the senator?
AXELROD: Well, you know, he did my first "AXE FILES" show on CNN, and during that conversation, he talked really lovingly about some of the people he fought with in politics, Ted Kennedy, Mo Udall. Now, they worked together on other things, but he -- what he remembered was doing combat with Ted Kennedy, titanic fights on the floor, and then walking arm and arm. And Ted Kennedy saying then, well, I guess we really showed them that time, huh?
And the fact that he understood you could compete vigorously over ideas in this process of ours and still have great respect for each other is something we need to remember in politics, and something that many fear that we're losing. And one of the sad things about his departure is that there's one more great voice for reconciliation who is lost. And now, it's up to the rest of us to live up to those ideals that he counseled even up to his last.
CUOMO: I remember, S.E., my father who obviously is gone as well, saying to me when I was getting ready for McCain in an interview, he said, just go to what he believes. He is the real deal. Don't try to make him dance for positions, you're going to lose.
Just talk to him about what he believes. He's the real deal. High praise from a guy who couldn't be more ideologically different in terms of politics, but what mattered most, same page.
CUOMO: S.E., send our best to the family.
CUPP: Yes, I will, I will. Thank you.
CUOMO: Thank you for sharing your perspective.
And, Axe, I appreciate it. Thanks for letting people what's been lost.
AXELROD: Thank you. CUOMO: You know, sometimes in these moments I'll be honest with you, we truncate things to accommodate what we assume is going to be a short attention span. But tonight, I believe you want to hear all of a message that will blow you away. I have something to read to you. And we're going to give it to you in the best way we know how, next.
CUOMO: Senator McCain left us a gift. A message that is never mattered more and it comes from a man who lived it. Here it is.
My fellow Americans whom I gratefully served for 60 years and especially my fellow Arizonians, thank you for the privilege of serving you and for the rewarding life that service in uniform and in public office has allowed me to lead. I've tried to serve our country honorably, I made mistakes. But I hope my love for America will be weighed favorably against them.
I've often observed that I'm the luckiest person on earth. I feel that way even now as I prepare for the end of my live. I've loved my life, all of it. I've had experiences, adventures, friends, enough for 10 satisfying lives. And I am so thankful.
Like most people, I have regrets but I would not trade a day of my life in good or bad times for the best day of anybody else's. I owe this satisfaction to the love of my family. One man has never had a more loving wife and children that he was never more prouder of than I am mine. I owe it to America to be protected to America's causes, liberty, equal justice and respect for all people brings happiness more sublime than life's fleeting pleasures.
Our identities and sense of worth were not circumscribed but are enlarged by serving good causes bigger than ourselves. Fellow Americans, that association has meant more to me than any other. I lived and died a proud American. We are citizens of the world's greatest republic, a nation of ideals, not blood and soil.
We are blessed and are a blessing to humanity when we uphold and advance those ideals at home and in the world. We have helped liberate more people from tyranny and poverty than ever before in history. And we have acquired great wealth and power in the progress.
We weaken our greatness when we confuse our patriotism with tribal rivalries that have sown resentment and hatred and violence in all corners of the globe. We weaken it when we hide behind walls rather than tear them down. When we doubt the power of our ideals rather than trust them to be the great force for change they have always been.
We are 325 million opinionated, vociferous individuals, we argue and compete and sometimes even vilify each other in our raucous debates, but we've always had so much more in common with each other than in disagreement. If only we remember that and give each other the benefit of the presumption that we all love our country, we will get through these challenging times. We will come through them stronger than before. We always do. Ten years ago, I had the privilege to concede defeat in the election
for president. I want to end my farewell to you with heartfelt faith in Americans that I felt so powerfully that evening. I feel it powerfully still. Do not despair of our present difficulties. We believe always in the promise and greatness of America because nothing is inevitable here.
Americans never quit. We never surrender. We never hide from history. We make history.
Farewell, fellow Americans. God bless you and God bless America.
Thank you to Senator John McCain for words that matter every bit as much with him gone as they did every day of the time he spent here with us. This is a man who represented the best in American politics. He was a statesman, willing to put principles over party, trite but true, and done infrequently -- and unlike our president, who always puts the me before the we.
Will we ever see another John McCain in the GOP or anywhere else? I don't know. It's Trump's party now.
But let's take up that question, because it matters. It's the great debate, next.
CUOMO: Despite our differences on policy and politics, I respect Senator John McCain's service to our country. The president said it, but many of us don't know whether he believes it. In fact, all indications are it is exactly because of McCain's disagreement with Trump's assault on the ACA and many other points of character and leadership that Trump disrespected McCain even in death.
When it comes to how the president has related to this senator, there's only one thing you need to remember.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, THEN-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Frank, let me get to it. He hit me.
FRANK LUNTZ, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER: He's a war hero.
TRUMP: He's not a war hero.
LUNTZ: He's a war hero, five and a half years --
TRUMP: He's a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren't captured, OK? I hate to tell you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: And then today, when he was asked about these questions about Senator McCain, what was the president's response? Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Mr. President, any -- Mr. President, any thoughts on John McCain?
REPORTER: Mr. President, any thoughts on John McCain, sir?
REPORTER: Any action to the American Legion asking you to put up a proclamation about John McCain? Why won't you say anything about John McCain?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Great debaters, Bakari Sellers and Rick Santorum.
Can you dignify that for us, Rick?
RICK SANTORUM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't think it does anything for the memory of John McCain to use him as a cudgel to beat up the president at this point. I mean, let's focus on the man and what he did and his life. But the media seems to have this fascination to try to use the death of John McCain to further belittle and beat up Donald Trump.
CUOMO: You think we need this to find reasons to criticism --
CUOMO: You think we need to do that to find reasons to find reasons to criticize the president?
SANTORUM: Well, you are, whether you need to or not, it doesn't really matter. You're doing it.
CUOMO: This is a moment that matters, Rick. You should think about how you behave in it as well, all of us do. These moments matter. John McCain made a point to not have him invited to his funeral.
SANTORUM: So, why not beat up on John McCain for not inviting the president to his funeral?
CUOMO: Because I don't think he's wrong to do it, it's his funeral. It's about what he thought mattered. He's not a cudgel.
SANTORUM: You're not beating up on John McCain. You shouldn't beat up on the president, Chris.
CUOMO: I'm not beating up on the president.
SANTORUM: Sure you are.
CUOMO: I'm playing his words and the fact you would see those as inherently indicting of his behavior I think puts the point out there for everybody, Bakari, because in moments like this, you guys all get measured who wants to lead the rest of us, how do you act? What will you project? What do you make it about for the rest of us?
The president took that opportunity and did what he wanted to with it. Fair point.
BAKARI SELLERS, CNN COMMENTATOR: I think what we're seeing right now is that Donald Trump turned this Republican Party into one of cowardice. I mean, you see good people like Rick Santorum, who contort themselves into pretzels trying to defend the behavior of the president of the United States today. I mean, the fact is, you have John McCain, who's a war hero, I mean, even my Democrats, people who are on the left who want to chastise him, for whatever his policy may have been, we're saying now is not the time.
But you have the president of the United States who doesn't believe he's a president of moral authority. He doesn't believe that he's anyone who has to stand up and show the rest of the world that the United States is the beacon of morality. The beacon of what it means to be ethical. The beacon of what it means to be the leader of the world.
You have a president who's small, who's petty, who's a sociopath. I mean, I'm not a doctor, but defamation (ph), as you know, Chris, the absolute defense is absolutely truth or a piece of truth. I can tell you he has a dose of psychopathy.
But you had a president today who did not stand up. You have a president this week who did not stand up and show the best of what we can be. And that's a problem.
John McCain deserves -- he deserves all the glory today. John McCain is a Republican who I can honestly say that if my son wants to be a Republican when he grows us, be like John McCain. We can live in that America. That's OK. You don't have to kowtow like Rick is doing on TV and make excuses for a president who does not excerpt -- who does not deserve excuses.
CUOMO: Well, Rick, you agree with Bakari about what to remember about Senator McCain and what he represented for your party, right?
SANTORUM: I do and I've commented on it. I will continue to comment, you know, that John McCain was a great American. I didn't always agree with John McCain on the issues but John McCain was a great American.
CUOMO: You don't need to for him to be a great American, even a great politician. You don't have to agree with him.
SANTORUM: I understand that. But to suggest how that the president didn't heap praise on John McCain and that made him a lesser person because he wasn't as effusive in praise as others were, I just think -- again, as the reason that you see --
CUOMO: He said nothing for two days.
SANTORUM: He did not say nothing. He tweeted out immediately. His respects --
CUOMO: Condolences to the family. That's what a president says when you lose a major figure?
SANTORUM: Let's just be honest, I mean, I understand --
SELLERS: I actually think Chris is wrong here. I think, Chris, I think you're wrong there. And with all due respect to you and to Rick both. I actually think that you are -- you're wrong here.
You're expecting more of Donald Trump than we expect of him. I mean, Donald Trump is the same person who believed in birtherism whereby John McCain was someone who took the mike --
SANTORUM: This is why nobody listens to the media, Bakari, because you just keep saying --
SELLERS: How is that not true? Rick, is that not true?
SANTORUM: -- trying to beat up this president for everything. Whether if he does something, he doesn't do enough. If he does something, he doesn't do it sincerely. Just noise to most Americans, just so you understand --
SELLERS: Rick, when I say something that's not true, you chime in. The president was the original person who was beyond birtherism.
SANTORUM: Wasn't the original.
SELLERS: That's what he believed in. What John McCain -- John McCain actually took the mike from someone who thought Barack Obama was a Muslim so she could not hear what he had to say. I mean, these are two vastly different individuals.
And so, yes, I disagree with you, I disagree with Chris, I disagree with both of you all tonight because I don't have a level of expectations higher for Donald Trump.
Rosa Parks and everyone else had said it best, you know, you have to believe people when they tell you who they are. Donald Trump has shown to be who he is. And today, for some reason Chris and everyone else has a higher expectation or level of expectation for Donald Trump, I do not. What we know is that John McCain was a great American. Donald Trump
in his death can only ascribe to be that great. Right now, he has a long way to go.
CUOMO: Rick, in the good-bye letter, the farewell letter that John McCain wrote, what do you think his main message was in it?
SANTORUM: Well, his main message in his entire career was American exceptionalism. And I find it remarkable that Bakari Sellers who sits there and your brother who doesn't think America is exceptional, that American is a deeply flawed country --
CUOMO: Come on.
SELLERS: You're so petty.
CUOMO: Don't play Jesus. Play straight.
SANTORUM: Excuse me, who's calling who petty, Bakari?
SELLERS: I'm calling you petty, Rick. You're so petty, Rick.
SANTORUM: You've been -- no, you've been trouncing me since we got on this program.
CUOMO: God forbid you be better, though, Rick, right? Make sure you lower yourself.
SANTORUM: Not, I'm not lowering myself.
CUOMO: Of course, you are. You're talking about my brother not thinking America is exceptional.
SANTORUM: Well, he said it.
CUOMO: I give you a hundred things about my brother that are true, they are much worth than that.
SANTORUM: He said.
CUOMO: He said it, he was wrong and he corrected it.
CUOMO: God forbid our president try that one. God forbid you try it, Rick.
CUOMO: You say two plus two is five, you argue it to the ground. Go ahead.
SANTORUM: I think Donald Trump corrected himself quicker than your brother on this McCain situation.
CUOMO: On what? Hold on a second.
CUOMO: Hold on a second.
Did you ever hear the president say that he was sorry for disrespecting John McCain? Did you ever hear him say he was sorry for lowering the staff and putting it back up? Have you ever heard him apologize for anything, Rick Santorum, right now?
SANTORUM: All I can tell you --
CUOMO: No, no, tell me, yes or no, have you ever heard the president apologize for anything?
SANTORUM: No, we actually haven't.
SELLERS: I don't know where we are guys but I'm just going to say that --
CUOMO: We're where it matters, Bakari.
SELLERS: Yes, I don't know where we are right now, but I will just say this, you know, John McCain deserves a better dialogue than we're having right now. John McCain --
SANTORUM: That's because we decided to politicize John McCain's death.
SELLERS: You actually wrong first, Rick, so let's chill for one second.
CUOMO: It doesn't have to be about right or wrong.
SELLERS: Can I finish?
CUOMO: John McCain was the bigger fighter of the three people on the screen right now. He would have fought for what we thought.
SELLERS: I want to have conversations on TV, in private or public where we get back to where we once were as a country. John McCain was emblematic of what it means to be an American.
I can say that as a black Democrat from South Carolina, I can recognize what it meant to be great and exceptional in this country. And the problem that we have right now is that people contort themselves into believing something that we're not. Like the fact is we deserve to be better than we were yesterday, better than we are today -- (CROSSTALK)
SANTORUM: Bakari, with all due respect --
SELLERS: I'm not done, Rick. We deserve to be better than we are. We have to believe in what tomorrow can hold. John McCain represented that.
So, whatever your policy differences are, whatever you want to say about the Affordable Care Act and all that stuff, we have to be able to understand what it means to be American and right now we're being fair petty.
CUOMO: That's a fine and fair point to make.
Rick, make that last point.
SANTORUM: I would say that one of the great gifts of John McCain and I can say this because of my own personal experience because I had some really tough fights with him. It was his ability to forgive and move on and look at the best interests of America.
I mean, Bakari, look at what was said by Democrats in 2008 about John McCain. He was called a racist. He was called everything in the book and he forgave all that and moved on. Why? Because he cared about America.
SELLERS: You forgot that George W. Bush said he had a black child in South Carolina. So, let's not blame this on partisanship. He had a Bangladesh child that they said was a black child. That's how George W. Bush won the South Carolina primary back in 2004. So, let's not act as if this is partisanship.
SANTORUM: The bottom line is John McCain was able to forgive and to look past these things and to look and do what was in the best interests of the country.
CUOMO: He was a good man, he was a fighter and he believed in things that are important to remember today.
But let's make one thing clear, Bakari, you fight for what you think is right, and if you do it, it gets hot, it gets hot. It's how you deal with it afterwards. That's why I like about John McCain as a politician. As a man he was beyond reproach, he lived through things and made sacrifices the rest of us can't even imagine.
But in politics, he'd come at me, he wouldn't like some of the things, it was going to be hot and then he moved forward and came back the next time.
SANTORUM: I agree.
CUOMO: That's rare today.
Rick Santorum, Bakari Sellers, I expect both of that of you as well. Thank you for being on with me. SELLERS: All right, Chris.
CUOMO: All right. From one political situation to another. And this one is a real crisis and one of accountability. Generations of sexual abuse are being revealed within the Catholic Church. It's very real and the problem doesn't seem to be receding.
There are new allegations that implicate the pope from one former Vatican official. We're going to take you inside the situation all week. We're going to start with a cardinal who's named in this new testimony from an archbishop who's making ugly claims about him. The cardinal answers, next.
CUOMO: All right. A former archbishop and Vatican ambassador to the U.S. says that Pope Francis should resign. The man's name is Carlo Maria Vigano and he claims the pope knew about abuse and didn't act regarding sexual abuse by Theodore McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington five years ago.
The pope has not commented yet and Vigano's claims are just that at this point, unsubstantiated allegations. However, a man of his standing, experience and understanding within the church, those allegations are going to warrant attention. And one charge is that the archbishop of Chicago right now is part of the problem.
So, we reached out to the cardinal and he wanted to address the accusations.
CUOMO: Cardinal Cupich, the archbishop of Chicago, joins us now.
Father, thank you for joining us.
You're mentioned in this letter. What is your take on the testimony?
CARDINAL BLASE CUPICH, ARCHBISHOP OF CHICAGO: I would have to say I was quite stunned that he spoke about me in a scornful way because as I said in my statement when I was appointed, he called and said he had news of great joy, he was here in Chicago for my installation and spoke very warmly about my being the archbishop of Chicago.
So, it really came out of the blue. And I'm somewhat perplexed by it.
CUOMO: There are three main allegations. Let's deal with the first one. The two -- the second and third are specific to you, but I'll get to those.
The main one is you say in your letter to the archdiocese, how can this be happening again? I don't think the concern is that it's happening again, Father. It's that it never gets fixed. It never gets addressed by the church, that the proof is consistent in every way that this is an institution like any other, and it protects itself first. Do you agree with that criticism?
CUPICH: I think that there surely was evidence in the Pennsylvania grand jury report that that was the scenario there. But I can tell you, here in Chicago, we have followed the charter faithfully. And even giving over our records to authorities and listing all the names, as well as giving them to the police, of people who have abused.
So, what happened in Pennsylvania, surely that charge could be made. But let's make sure that we realize that there are almost 200 dioceses in the United States, and there are dioceses that have followed the charter.
CUOMO: Well, as you know, your state where you are, Illinois is now looking into it because maybe as many as seven of the priests mentioned in the Pennsylvania grand jury report had connections to Illinois. Do you think that you can promise your parishioners with 100 percent credibility that they -- that they will find nothing in Illinois that was overlooked by your diocese?
CUPICH: Right. Right. In fact, I had had a conversation this morning with our attorney general assuring her that we want to fully cooperate with any investigation that they would like to make. And I reminded her that we have already turned over all of our documents and they have been reviewed.
So, I'm confident that we're in good standing. We want to make sure that we set an example here and we do take this matter seriously. So I'm confident, yes.
CUOMO: So, you believe that after the attorney general does her probe, she will find nothing, no cases, that were overlooked by your diocese?
CUPICH: I am. In fact, legal authorities -- civil authorities already have our documents. So, they've reviewed them already, and we also have cooperated with the law enforcement to make sure they always have the names.
CUOMO: Let me move on to what the other big mention is in this. There is this passion within the Catholic Church to explain as much of the abuse as possible on priests being gay. And Vigano is big on that.
And he cites you now as an example of the problem within the leadership of people who are too open minded to priests being gay that you protect gay priests, that you ignore the facts. Don't the facts show that while cases of ephebophilia, which is going to be a new word to a lot of people, it means where a teenage is abused, they pale in comparison to the pedophilia cases, that there are so many of those. There's so much concern.
That blaming this on gay priests seems not to just defy the facts but really take confidence from the overall mindset of the church to get this right. CUPICH: Well, I would go with not what my opinion is or anybody's
opinion. I go with the facts that were the result of the John Jay study that we had in 2011. And they were very clear that there is not one particular cause, and surely homosexuality is not a cause, that there were other causes as well for the abuse crisis that peaked in the late '80s.
There are other social factors as well as opportunity. I have been time and again very forthright in saying that if you reduce this to homosexuality, what you're saying, in effect, is that gay people are more prone to abuse children than straight people. The facts just don't bare that out. The research does not bear that out.
So, I have said that quite publicly. And I know there are people who take issue with that. The Holy Father and I are both on the same page on this.
This is about clericalism, about a group of people in the church who think they're privileged and protected and that has to -- that has to go away. We have to remove that.
CUOMO: In terms of the Holy Father, the Pope Francis issue, do you think that you know whether or not what he knows, what he has been told about this, what he has acted on, and what has not been acted on, do you think you can state for a fact what he knows and what he doesn't?
CUPICH: Well, I have not talked to him about this, but I would say this to you, Chris -- any time the Holy Father has had actionable information, he has acted. Let's look at the McCarrick case. If, in fact, other popes knew about it, it was Pope Francis who took action as soon as Cardinal Dolan made his report.
And, by the way, Cardinal Dolan did his job and according with our charter in reporting this. He did his job.
And in Chile, when the Holy Father got it wrong, he said that he was wrong and he was part of the problem. The pope is a man of integrity. And he will, in fact, take this -- take the right road and make the right decisions when he has actionable material, I'm confident of that.
CUOMO: Is Vigano wrong that McCarrick tried to help you get your position where you are now in Chicago?
CUPICH: Well, I would say, first of all, all of that scenario and that narrative seems to presuppose that I dropped out of the sky. I've been a bishop for 20 years. I've been appointed by three different popes. There have been studies and investigations on my suitability for a diocese in all three cases.
So, as far as I know, the work that the Holy See does in vetting people for various positions involves a lot of people. I've never heard of one individual being a king maker who goes into the pope's office and says, you should appoint this one individual. That really is quite absurd. CUOMO: Cardinal Cupich, thank you very much for taking the
opportunity to defend yourself against these allegations.
CUPICH: Thanks, Chris.
CUOMO: And we will stay on the story. Thank you, Father.
CUPICH: Good. I hope that you do. I hope -- I encourage you to do that.
CUOMO: We will.
And the state of Illinois, the attorney general, is doing a review of that diocese. You're going to see this happening all across the country. We will stay on it.
Now, another tough question for me to ask. Why isn't this show coming to you from Jacksonville tonight? You know people were shot up there, right? It is the latest in what has become a signature American moment. What we now know about what happened at that gaming tournament and why we have certain things we must admit, next.
CUOMO: A 24-year-old gamer went on a shooting spree during a video game tournament in Florida. Two people were murdered. And he shot himself. He shot 11 other people.
The weapon purchased legally about a month ago. The murderer -- well, we are hearing more and more about mental health problems, diagnosis, trending towards darkness.
What was your reaction when you heard about the Jacksonville shooting this weekend? The numbers of dead, hurt? Well, it's not that bad in terms of what else we've heard. I've heard that a dozen times this weekend. And to be honest, I was thinking that way myself for a moment.
Republican Governor Rick Scott said we've got to change. We've got to really stop and say to ourselves, there is something wrong.
And he should know. In the past few years, Florida has seen several mass shootings. Remember, he had 17 people killed at Stoneman Douglas High School. They said that was going to change everything.
Five people gunned down at the Fort Lauderdale airport, 49 people killed at the Pulse Night Club. These murders are now signature moments. We change nothing. The more they happen, the less we react to them, not the more. More we do.
Let's bring in Don.
You know, look, there is a reason that we are not coming from there. Why? The numbers aren't that big, the national attention is not there. There is compassion fatigue. People feel nothing can get done.
We are really surrendering to a status quo that is agonizing because it's avoidable.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Yes. Well, listen, I agree with you on all of those things. But also, we have to remember, too, John McCain died, right? So, that takes a lot of what we do here in the news and rightfully so, an American hero, war hero.
But you are right. I heard some disgraceful things this weekend, too, and someone -- I overheard someone saying, you know, that is what happens when you allow guns or carry guns. And someone say, well, you know, the guy was just crazy. What about that? I said, well, you are ignoring the central part of it, is that we are not talking about a stabbing death or a car death or someone who punched someone to death. We are talking about a shooting death.
And so, in that, I don't see how people can just sort of, you know, bend themselves into whatever you want to call it. I hate to say that whole pretzel thing because it's been used so much to say, oh, well, you know, this person had an issue mentally. You can have that. But also don't forget what the vehicle is, the mechanism. The mechanism is a gun. And we need to figure out --
LEMON: -- how we deal with those things. No one wants to take anyone's Second Amendment rights away. But just remember, even -- you know, I thought about this -- even with an automobile, you got to have it registered, take care of the insurance, you've got to go and get it inspected. If you abuse it, you lose a right. You're ticketed and you're fine, and all of that.
And for something that is as deadly and can take as many lives in an instant as a gun, we don't have the same rules, that's an issue.
But, listen, I just want to tell you, Mark McKinnon wrote an amazing letter about the legacy of John McCain. He's going to be on our show. I wanted to read it and talk about it.
So, I just want to get that in there. But I think you're right.
CUOMO: Good, lift us up. We can talk about the problems.
CUOMO: Let's talk about the promise as well. Thank you, Don.
LEMON: See you, sir.
CUOMO: All right. So, we're going to talk about the president and the closing and why this happened now with John McCain and how it is not disrespectful to talk about what's wrong. That's what the senator did all his years of service, next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CUOMO: People like Rick Santorum say now isn't the time to criticize Trump for disrespecting McCain. We should forgive the way McCain did.
That's ingenious nonsense and a shameful defense of indecency. If you respect Senator John McCain's memory, you would never dismiss the obvious instruction at play here right now. Trump didn't like McCain. Fine, maybe he was jealous of him and his heroism. That's fine too.
What isn't fine is our president indulging his gripes in a national moment of loss. He didn't lower flags for McCain more than necessary because he didn't want him remembered any more than necessary. It wasn't an oversight. It was a slight just like with the journalist at the "Capitol Gazette" shooting in Annapolis.
Contrast with Billy Graham. When the reverend passed, they kept the flags lowered longer. Why? Trump liked Graham. Graham was good to him.
The truth here is as plain on the look on Trump's face when he was asked today about the senator. Three times he refused to answer questions about McCain. Reporters were shouting at him to weigh in on McCain's incredible legacy. They got nothing.
So, why is the flag back at half staff now if what I'm saying is right? Because Trump and company got what is necessary in this moment wrong. People who matter shouted him down. He looked like a loser, as he would say.
So, someone or a group got through to Trump, lower the flag, show respect. Do what a president does in times of national pain and loss. Be best, not a hashtag, heartfelt.
We get that Trump doesn't mean thoughts and prayers. Apparently, the McCains aren't looking to him for that kind of comfort. The senator didn't want him at his funeral.
But the point is you do it anyway, Mr. President, because it's not about you. It is about us and what we want held up which in this instance is very clear, service to country, selfless devotion to the good fight, and in McCain, a very uncommon form of leadership today. More than most of his station, Senator McCain was honest about his mistakes of both personal and political nature.
McCain wasn't perfect. He was flawed, like all of us. But what made him better than most of us and a leader was he owned it. He even relied on his weakness to guide him going forward. That is an instruction for our leaders of today and certainly our president.
But Rick is right. It shouldn't all be about Trump, not when this is about John McCain even in a point of contrast.
On a personal note, McCain was a fighter and I respected that so much. He gave me a hard time sometimes. He didn't like some of the questions. I respected that, too.
I have also been where his family is right now. I know the pain and the fear that they will never be able to replace who's been lost. I have no salve. There is no remedy that I know of for the senator's passing.
But as was told me when my father was gone, someday, not today or tomorrow, but someday you're going to think about the senator, your husband, your father, your friend, and a smile is going to come to your face before a tear will wet your eye. And I do pray that that day comes sooner than later.
Thank you for watching tonight.
"CNN TONIGHT" is going to take up our coverage with Don Lemon right now.