TRANSCRIPT

Gov. Abbott praises Trump for coordinating with Texas

Texas governor opens up about recovery efforts on 'Hannity'

 

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," August 29, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Welcome to "Hannity." And this is a Fox News Alert. We are following several major breaking news stories tonight. Record rainfall continues to wreak havoc on Texas as the Tropical Storm Harvey now moves east and is now causing flooding in Louisiana on the 12th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina making landfall.

The mayor of Houston is now imposing a curfew starting at midnight local time. And we are also closely monitoring overflowing reservoirs and a levy in the Houston area that are now releasing even more water into the flood- ravaged city.

Our reporters are on the ground with all the very latest, that and President Trump and the first lady -- they head to Texas today to survey this devastation firsthand and offer their support. No matter what the president and first lady do, they are constantly under attack, even during devastation.

We'll check into night with the Texas governor, Greg Abbott. He's here. He'll join us in a few minutes.

But first, the liberal mainstream media, their hatred, resorting to petty attacks while millions of Americans are suffering tonight. A very important "Opening Monologue."

So President Donald Trump, the first lady, Melania Trump, visited Texas today to assess the damage and offer their support to the victims of Hurricane Harvey. Here's the president from earlier today. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I can tell you that my folks (ph) is telling me how great your representatives have been in working together. It's a real team.

TRUMP: You know what? It happened in Texas and Texas can handle anything! Thank you all, folks. Thank you. Thank you.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: TRUMP: It's showing some tremendous love and coordination and so many things are coming out in Texas. And I will tell you the whole country, the whole world is really seeing and gaining such respect for everybody. And the job you have done is incredible.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

HANNITY: Now, the president was on the ground doing what leaders do, and that's leading the recovery efforts that are still ongoing. But tonight, we have more evidence and proof -- as if you needed it -- that the president can do nothing right in the eyes of the establishment destroy Trump mainstream media. Now, I told you last week, if Donald Trump cured cancer, the left in this country would still find a reason to hate him.

Now, the left erupted earlier today when the president and first lady departed for Texas leaving the White House. Why? All because Melania Trump was wearing heels to get on Marine One to Air Force one.

Take a look at some of these insane, ridiculous reactions. Now, keep in mind, this is going on while portions of Houston are buried under water and people's lives are actually being saved.

Vanity Fair writes, quote, "Who wears stilettos to a hurricane? Melania Trump." People magazine put up the headline, "First lady Melania Trump sticks to stilettos as she leaves White House for flood-ravaged Texas." And here's the headline from the Hollywood Reporter, quote, "Melania Trump wears her stilettos to tour Houston flood zone, no joke." And then CNN fake news Amanda Carpenter tweeting, quote, "Someone tell Melania she might want a pair of rain boots."

And of course, the Trump-hating Hollywood liberal Chelsea Handler, she got in on the action with this tweet, quote, "Melania taking off for Houston on Air Force One in stilettos."

Now, the first lady's office rightly fired back against this ad hominem attack and the absurd criticism by saying, quote, "It is very sad that we have an active, ongoing natural disaster in Texas, and people are worried about her shoes."

Now, there's also the fact that after the first lady did arrive in Texas, well, she wasn't wearing high heels. Look at this photo. Now, Melania Trump is wearing sneakers.

It just shows how desperate, how petty and how pathetic the left and the media is in this country. And frankly, just how low will these people go? They have these fake moral outrage, it seems feigning moral outrage. It knows no bounds. They will literally attack the president, the first lady, his family, his staff, anybody who likes him, is close to him, over any tiny, minuscule thing, no matter how absurd it may be.

And that's not all. Some members of the destroy Trump media were actually criticizing the president's decision to go to Texas and offer reassurance and help to the people in their time of need and suffering. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

KATY TUR, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT, ON MSNBC: Do you think he is going to be redirecting resources, though, that could -- but could those resources be used in Houston right now and other areas that are currently experiencing flooding?

PETER ALEXANDER, NBC NEWS NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, ON MSNBC: It takes resources for a presidential trip like this, and some of President Obama's old aides say they support the idea that the president would go down there, but this is simply too soon.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE, "THIS MORNING"/CBS: President Trump is heading there today. Is that a good idea?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, I-VT.: (INAUDIBLE) you know, I don't know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it too soon for a presidential visit?

SANDERS: Too soon for the president to be there? Probably it is.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

HANNITY: And after President Trump's visit, a reporter from the fake news network CNN claimed the president wasn't showing empathy. Really? Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE, CNN: One thing I am struck by here, seeing all the stories of emotion, all the stories of loss, of devastation still unfolding -- we do not know the extent of the damage here -- very little in terms of empathy from this president, very little in terms of emotion or talking directly to the people of Texas. He's been talking about the businesses, talking about the response and his crowd...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: And CNN's so-called Republican commentator, Ava (sic) Navarro, responded to a tweet from President Trump about leaving for Texas and writing, quote, "As if the people of Texas aren't already enduring enough suffering."

Now, what's interesting about that, we learned today from a report that CNN's so-called Republican, Navarro -- well, she's donated a lot of money to prominent Democrats. What Republican would donate to the likes of Debbie Wasserman Schultz and other left-wingers that are out there and people on the left?

It sounds like a fake Republican at the fake news network, more proof that the left is completely unhinged and it is why we have now actually diagnosed them, considering they want to diagnose everybody else, and we call it Trump derangement syndrome.

Now, the president did go down to Texas. He did offer his support, and he did let the millions of our fellow Americans who are suffering know that he will do everything in his power to help them. Yet somehow, the left in this country, the media -- they try to twist and distort the president's words and actions to score cheap political points, very cheap points.

Texas has been devastated. They're part of our American family. They've lost lives. They've lost neighbors and loved ones. And so many others have lost everything they've worked for their entire adult lives. They've lost their homes, everything they own.

This natural disaster is far from over. It's only the beginning of it. So you would think the left, you would think the hate destroy Trump media would for a second maybe try to stop their smear campaign against the president, maybe just for one day while he's down there doing his job, trying to help people in need.

I guess that's apparently too much to ask. And frankly, it's despicable and disgusting, and you people should all be ashamed of yourselves.

Joining us now with reaction, from The Hill, Joe Concha, and RNC spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany is with us.

Kayleigh, you know, I should expect it. I mean, it's -- I said last week, I literally said, if he found a cure for cancer, it wouldn't be good enough for these people.

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, RNC SPOKESPERSON: That's right. Sean, what you just played, what you just said in your monologue, it is so sad. This is a national tragedy. And I would hope that we could have a moment where we're apolitical and pro-American. And you have some of these reporters out there tweeting about Melania Trump's heels. Where were the tweets about the Saldovar (ph) family, a family of six, four of them children, who were swept away in their van and all lost their lives? Where were the tweets about Officer Steve Perez, who lost his life at 4:00 AM, took to the streets, out to help Americans?

These were heroes. We need to rally around these victims, lift up the victims, lift up the heroes instead of tearing down the first lady because of her shoe choice. This is really absurd.

HANNITY: Joe, you're very distinct in the media camp or media -- I love those people that are media critics and -- you know, like the -- what's that guy, Wemple, whatever his name, at The Washington Post...

JOE CONCHA, THE HILL: Erik Wemple.

HANNITY: ... with his, you know, 30,000 -- I get -- with his 30,000 Twitter followers, as if we care, as if he could do a TV show if his life depended on it! But when it becomes this personal over the first lady -- you know, if it was a Democrat first lady, if it was Michelle Obama and you talked about her clothes on national TV, why do I know it would've been handled a lot differently?

Why do these people that claim a monopoly of compassion for poor people, they claim to be on the right side of civil rights, gay rights, and in this particular case, on the side of women. How do they get away with this?

CONCHA: I think you got to look at precedents, Sean, and I think you have to look at Superstorm Sandy and the coverage around that with President Obama, and Trump now. Look, the lead here, at least the political lead -- and there is a political aspect to this, unfortunately -- just ask George W. Bush and Katrina -- is how has the president, FEMA, the U.S. government, local resources, first responders -- how have they done on the ground in Houston and in that area?

And by almost all accounts, considering the circumstances, that this is one of the most catastrophic weather events we have ever seen, the response has been as good as it could be. That should be the lead story, but again, as you said, we're talking about Melania Trump's heels a thousand miles away that she was wearing before she even got on the plane.

And the best part is the people that are making these sort of criticisms are doing it from comfy studios in New York, Washington, and out in Hollywood. There's a total disconnect.

HANNITY: There really is a disconnect. And at this point, you know, we want to help people for five minutes! For crying out loud, these people have lost everything. They lost lives, friends, neighbors, loved ones. And I guess, Kayleigh, I'll throw it to you. What would it have been like if a conservative did say that about Hillary Clinton or Michelle Obama? Remember how the media reacted about Mitt Romney having women's resumes of people he wanted to hire.

MCENANY: That's right. Look, you know, I went back and looked, and you look after Superstorm Sandy, President Obama was in New Jersey just two days after the storm. And there was a glowing praise for him. There was glowing praise for how he handled that situation. And there should have been. He did a good job.

Where is that same praise for President Trump? I saw Greg Abbott, the governor of Texas, get on this network and say, I have never in my life had better coordination between a national government, the federal government and the state than I see now. I looked at the president, he said. I saw the compassion in his eyes. I saw his care for these people.

And instead of giving President Trump a moment he deserves and letting us come together as a nation, it's criticism, it's tearing him down. It's unfair to the president, who's done a great job. But more than that, it's unfair to those people in Texas who are drowning in those floodwaters as the people in the mainstream media are focusing on high heels and stilettos.

HANNITY: Yes.

CONCHA: And Sean, can I add to Kayleigh's point?

HANNITY: Yes, sir.

CONCHA: One big criticism that I've seen at least this evening has been a sound bite from Donald Trump. And I've seen this often with this president, where they take a three or four-second sound bite and create their own context and narrative around it.

He said when he was at a firehouse near Corpus Christi, Wow, what a crowd. What a turnout. And if you read the entire transcript of those comments, it was very supportive of people. It was the empathy that people were talking about. He was promising things, saying he was going to get things done, and the crowd of a couple hundred people cheered afterwards.

And it reminded me of the 2016 election, where on the ground, there was one sentiment and the way the president was received in a certain area, and then in the ivory towers in New York, Washington that I talked about before, the commentary is completely different.

HANNITY: Well, Joe, let me ask you this. By all accounts, there was one - - you're right because there are three components to any successful disaster relief. One, we've -- we watched neighbor helping neighbor, risking their lives, literally saving lives. We saw people with expertise from the military and former law enforcement officials. They were on the ground. You know, people like the navy, the "Cajun navy" and the "Waco navy" -- these guys were amazing, neighbor helping neighbor. Then you've got the state and local governments. Then you got -- they've got to coordinate as -- and we'll have Governor Abbott on in a minute -- with the federal government.

The only failure politically I saw was a Democratic mayor who wouldn't take his own governor's call and wouldn't take the advice of everybody to tell the people to evacuate and said, Go back to your homes. That was a mistake.

CONCHA: Yes, this isn't Katrina, Sean. I mean, we're seeing coordination between local resources and the local authorities with the federal government. I'd say it's been spot on. Yes, you're going to have your exceptions like that particular mayor, but overall, the president should be getting praise here, and instead, there is a reflex towards the negative every time because that's just the way it is in 2017.

HANNITY: You mean like Russia, that phony story, and North Korea and the president's going to start a nuclear war?

CONCHA: Well, remember what the narrative was. This was the big test going in for the president. Can he pass it? Now he's passed it, they pivot to other things...

HANNITY: Now the bar moves.

CONCHA: ... just to find something that may stick.

HANNITY: Kayleigh, last word.

MCENANY: I really wish the media would unite us rather than divide us. This is a time we should all come together.

HANNITY: You know it's not going to happen!

MCENANY: This is -- no, it's not going to happen.

HANNITY: You work with big news.

MCENANY: But that's why we depend on people like you to expose this, Sean. And we have to. It's time for the media to bring us together, not tear us apart.

HANNITY: All right, good to see you both, great points.

We're going to focus on the people of Texas. When we come back, we'll speak with our reporters live on the ground, talk about the needs of those people, and in the Louisiana, and the latest on the catastrophic flooding.

Also, the governor of the great state of Texas, Greg Abbott. He's here to talk about the president's visit to the Lone Star State earlier today and what they need for relief efforts.

And Laura Ingraham weighs in on all of this as we continue this busy breaking news night tonight here on "Hannity."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. GREG ABBOTT, R-TEXAS: What I have learned is we can count on the president of the United States and his staff for helping Texas. Texas has been tested, but our response to this challenge has been made much more effective because of the very effective way the president and his staff has helped Texas responded to this challenge.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a lot of water, a lot of people. It's just -- it's just bad. It's real bad.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I cannot believe (INAUDIBLE) I cannot believe!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just hope everybody's OK and we make it through this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's good renting (ph). It touches you to the core. You know, what can I do for my neighbor. Everything else goes out the window.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: And welcome back to "Hannity." The remnants of Hurricane Harvey continue to batter the Gulf Coast, so what is in store overnight for parts of Texas, Louisiana, already devastated by this storm?

Joining us now on the ground from Lake Charles, Louisiana, our own Rick Leventhal. Rick, I watched all weekend, as well. I'm sure it's different when you watch it up close and personal.

RICK LEVENTHAL, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and we're outside the Lake Charles Civic Center tonight, Sean, which has been turned into a mass shelter because of all the people who've been rescued here in Calcasieu Parish. Five hundred people were pulled from their homes overnight because of flooding here in this part of southwest Louisiana. So they need the bed space. They're ready for more because of Tropical Storm Harvey is expected to hit this area over the next four hours and could bring a lot more rain. The ground is saturated and ready to flood. Again, a lot of homes could be in peril.

And that's why you have all these members of the Cajun navy gathered here in the parking lot, as well, a lot of pickup trucks and flatboats brought by volunteers. But they're not all boats in the Cajun navy, as we found out. Check out this Polaris Razor (ph) 1,000 that Gene (ph) drove from Lafayette. It's been modified, so it can go through up to seven feet of water, he tells me, to go into these neighborhoods that are flooded out and bring people out.

And they've got a boat underneath it that this Razor can tow. And behind it, he's got another boat that his buddy's going to drive if and when they get the call from the state, from the city that they need help.

You see this guy is pulling an airboat, which can also be used in these neighborhoods that get flooded out. And check out the monster Excursion (ph) behind him. A variety of monster trucks have arrived here, as well, Sean, to join the Cajun navy, to get in there to these neighborhoods where people cannot get out without help. I don't know how you get in this thing without help. The guy told me you climb up on the tired, but he wouldn't do it live on television.

There's another monster truck behind us there. Again, the situation could be serious here, Sean, because they're expecting 40 to 50 mile-per-hour wind gusts tonight into tomorrow here in southwestern Louisiana as the remnants of Hurricane Harvey, now Tropical Storm Harvey, come ashore.

HANNITY: Hey, Rick, please say my hellos. I know some of the guys from the Cajun navy. I met them down when we were in Baton Rouge. Please send my best and regards and thank-yous. All right, Rick, thank you so much.

Joining me now with the very latest on the ground in Kingwood, in Texas, our own Trace Gallagher. Trace, what's happening there tonight?

TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Sean, I can tell you after five horrifying days, we've gotten two glimmers of hope. One, for the first time in a long time, we saw the sun this afternoon just for a short time. And two, the flood authorities are now telling us the San Jacinto River, which is just a couple of blocks from here, is actually receding. That is fantastic news because that river has been filling Lake Houston, which is just behind us over here.

In fact, I want to show you some of the homes (INAUDIBLE) hundreds and hundreds, with (ph) just one street over. I can show you some of the homes that are under water.

We just went out on a two-hour rescue. We didn't rescue anybody, but we did find out that people are out there that do want to ride this out. They're staying in their homes, even though their homes are half flooded. They made the decision to stay. It was risky because nobody at the time knew if the water was going to go up or down. Now it appears their risky decision paid off because the water may be going down.

We should note that over the past three days, we have just been notified there have been more than 13,000 rescues by state and local authorities. And just here today at Lake Houston, we watched more than 400 people be taken out of their homes and rescued, a lot of animals, even a pack of horses they tried to rescue today, Sean. The good news, finally, is that the rain bands are pushing out, still some light, sprinkles, but it looks like the rain is now moving out of Houston -- Sean.

HANNITY: All right, Trace, thanks so much. You know, you look at these images, and you know every one of those homes are gone. With the mold issue that would come, you're going to have to start and rebuild every one of those homes.

Joining us now, Caroline Shively. She is at the George R. Brown Convention Center. She is in Houston tonight. I bet a lot of devastated people in many ways having lost everything that they owned, all their homes. How's the mood in there tonight?

CAROLINE SHIVELY, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Surprisingly upbeat, Sean. They're getting a hot meal, a blanket, a pat on the back, something they haven't had for days. Many were stuck in their homes, stuck on the roofs.

But some more breaking news tonight, and it's a good one. Houston is opening another mega-shelter about 40 minutes from now, the NRG (ph) Park. It's close to where the Texans play, if you know the area here. That comes after they open the Toyota Center where the Rockets play. They will be not playing basketball there, they'll be housing thousands more people here.

I want to take a look to show you what the scene is here. People are still streaming in here. They'll still register. If you walk in on foot, they will not turn you away here, Sean. People still being rescued, they're not taking the buses in, but they are taking the walk-ins.

And some great news. Between these three large locations, they will be able to house 30,000 people much more comfortably. It got a little dicey earlier today. They didn't have enough cots. People were sleeping on blankets, sleeping on cardboard. That seems to be changing, but more people coming in -- Sean.

HANNITY: All right, Caroline Shively, our best to those people, and know they're in our thoughts and prayers.

We're joined now by the governor of the great state of Texas, Greg Abbott. Governor, by all accounts, everything that I have seen, you have amazing people in your state. You were prepared on the state level. We have some problems with some local people. It seems like your coordination with the federal government and the president couldn't have gone better.

But I want to hear from you. Is it as good as I saw it? We learned a lot from Katrina.

ABBOTT: I got to tell you, the coordination at the federal, state and local level has been as good as in any tragedy that we've ever seen in the United States. As you know, I spent the day with the president, but today was not the first day that I've talked to him about this storm. Our talks began before the hurricane even hit Texas.

From the White House, to his cabinet, to FEMA, to all of his leaders, we have planned and prepared for this days before the hurricane even came. And then we mustered up an arrayed resources and personnel, and food and water and shelter all across the affected area. And this has been done because the president took action swiftly, early, coordinated with the state of Texas in a way far superior than I've ever seen in a hurricane tragedy.

HANNITY: And look at where the media goes, and they're worried about shoes. By my estimation, Governor...

ABBOTT: I want you to know, Sean, Texans are genuinely appreciative of the way the federal government and the president have stood up and addressed the need of our Texans. We are suffering here in the state of Texas, and what the president is doing is helping Texans.

HANNITY: You know, by my observations, Governor, the costs are incalculable in terms of the damage. And I would assume that the biggest challenges you have now -- people are going to be homeless for a long period of time. In many, many cases, entire neighborhoods are going to have to be rebuilt.

When it comes to the immediate need of food, water, shelter, medicine, cots, blankets -- my friend at My Pillow I know is donating, like, tens of thousands of pillows. But baby formula, all of these things -- will you be able to immediately take care of the needs of all those people? Because that's a huge undertaking, sir.

ABBOTT: Well, you talk about immediate -- there's immediate and then there's long-term and we need to address both. On the immediate side, I got to tell you, you mentioned one person who's stepping up with donations. I got to tell you, I want to express my gratitude to our fellow Americans across the entire country by flowing in donations to us. We appreciate it so much. It makes such a big difference in the lives of these people who desperately need it at this time.

But through those donations and through the supplies that we have built up, we will be able to address the immediate needs of the people who are in shelter. But Sean, the big challenge is going to occur when the water recedes and when the short-term shelter is over and we begin the long-time build-out process. And here, the FEMA administrator has been very clear this is not going to be a short-term experience. It's going to be very long-term. We all must continue to work effectively together if we are going to build that pathway for the future of all these people who've been affected by this storm.

HANNITY: But Governor, would that mean that you have the plans, the immediate plans in place? I assume medicine is a big deal. Dialysis is a big deal for some. Food, baby formula, cots, blankets, pillows, all of these things are immediate. But you know, I would assume...

ABBOTT: Exactly.

HANNITY: They're going to be in shelters a long time before you can begin the process of giving them at least temporary housing before the rebuild begins, right?

ABBOTT: Well, as I spoke with the FEMA administrator today, we want to make that evacuation center time as short as possible. We were strategizing today about how we can expedite the movement from the evacuation centers to short-term living because the evacuation centers we don't intend to last very long at all. So we're working to expedite this in ways different from what you've seen in past hurricanes.

HANNITY: What would that be, Governor?

ABBOTT: Well, there are different short-term housing proposals that are offered up by FEMA. It could beat things ranging from apartments to hotels, different types of locations, dormitories, but something different than like an auditorium or where the Rockets play or where the football team may play. We've got to get people out of gyms into genuine living rooms and bedrooms.

HANNITY: Yes. You know, it's funny because I remember after Katrina, Houston did open up -- the families of Houston opened up their homes to many of the victims or Katrina.

ABBOTT: Tens of thousands.

HANNITY: What -- why didn't the mayor of Houston, sir, take your call? How may times did you call him?

ABBOTT: Well, I called several. But listen, he and I have spoken. And I want you to know that we've spoken, and we're working collaboratively and on a daily basis. My office is communicating with his office because we know that we are all in this together and we as Texans are going to work together to address these challenges.

HANNITY: Governor, I personally -- I've worked with Samaritan's Purse. I send them a donation because I know how good Franklin Graham's organization is. I know you have the Red Cross. For those people around the country that want to help our family in Texas, what would you like them to do?

ABBOTT: Well, give to Samaritan's Purse. Give to the Red Cross. We will be announcing something myself tomorrow about what the state of Texas is doing. You could stay tuned tomorrow and follow that and donate to that. But there are so many different ways that people can participate. And it's the generosity, the support, the patriotism of our fellow Americans that are making a big difference in these lives of people who've had their lives turned upside-down.

HANNITY: Governor, you made a big difference, and I understand Texas even has a $10 billion rainy -- no pun intended, rainy day fund which I think is almost equal to the rest of the -- every state in the union. That money's going to come in very handy.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you, Governor. You did a phenomenal job in your hour -- in the state's hour of need. You, the lieutenant governor, federal government, local officials, and the people of Texas really deserve our praise. Thank you, sir.

ABBOTT: Thank you, Sean.

HANNITY: When we come back, Laura Ingraham, she will weigh in next on President Trump's visit to Texas earlier today, and the pettiness of the media. Also later, a college professor fired after saying hurricane Harvey was, quote "instant karma" to the lone star state because Texans voted for the GOP. How sick, ugly, and twisted can you get?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HANNITY: Welcome back to "Hannity." President Trump earlier today showed his support for the people of Texas that are suffering in the wake of hurricane Harvey. Joining us now from reaction, editor in chief of Lifezette, Fox News contributor, nationally syndicated radio rock star, can you add a few more items to your resume for crying out loud? Anything else I forgot, bestselling author?

LAURA INGRAHAM, EDITOR IN CHIEF, LIFEZETTE.COM: Can throw an overhand hardball really fast.

HANNITY: You know, I wish I could have a sense of humor and say the media is just irresponsible and hateful. The attacks against our first lady and the first daughter and an 11-year-old kid and anybody that likes Trump, this is about as low as you get when you attack the shoes of the first lady as she is going to help people out that are still -- that have lost everything. I can't even imagine how we got to this point.

INGRAHAM: I think it's a sign of how desperate the left is. It's a sign of how absolutely unhinged they are. And I love how they are always for individual expression, expression in your sexuality, expression in your views on abortion, expression on a whole bunch of things. But now you can't express yourself in the way you dress. They are for dressing in all manner of crazy fashion choices except Melania for some period of time decides she wants to wear heels and she had sneakers on. Big deal. We have a catastrophe in Texas. We are dealing with it the best we can. The people of Texas coordinating with the feds, the state is doing I think a tremendous job under Greg Abbott. I'm so glad you have him on tonight, what a star. And I think people are grateful that they actually have leadership that can navigate a once in a lifetime, once in a century weather event. This is really hard.

And the best that -- and you know Trump is doing a good job in coordinating when the best that they have is Melania's shoes.

HANNITY: I guess, you know, but in many ways, I've been arguing, Laura, that with all of the obsession to take down the president and smear and slander every day, in the process of focusing all their attention on that, the media, the Democrats, and weak Republicans, and everybody else, they're not serving the forgotten men and women that are in poverty and in food stamps and out of the labor force. By focusing in on the insignificant, they're not helping the people that are struggling to save lives and are trying to rebuild their lives now. And to me, it's almost as if -- you know what it is? It's like they were hoping the president would fail for cheap political points. Let me just be blunt. That's what they were hoping for.

INGRAHAM: They don't want to see them in the successful mode at all. So when he has an event like this, the fall of the nation, the fall of the state of Texas, when we have a FEMA that actually coordinates correctly, is not easy to do it, and they do a pretty good job. He's never going to get an accolade. I don't even think he's waiting for that.

HANNITY: He doesn't care about that.

INGRAHAM: He doesn't about it. He knows what they are. But you hit on a when you talked about they want to go right to the core of fomenting discontent. They're not helping the average person by this type of nonsense, by this type of commentary. And what they have is identity politics. They're steeped in it. That's all they have, and that's all they, I think that's all they ever will have. Whether it's the far left crowd where they want to shut down speech, or whether it's the so-called moderate progressives, they also don't want to debate. They want to demonize. So they might not physically attack you, but they will demonize you and dismiss you and demean you in the way that they are doing to Trump or to any Trump supporter.

HANNITY: I've got to run, but I'm going to say this. Here's my prediction. This is going to a boomerang back so hard and hit them so hard they won't know what hit them, what has happened. And they don't realize that people see through this now.

INGRAHAM: I think you're right.

HANNITY: Laura, thank you.

INGRAHAM: I think you're right. That's a great point.

HANNITY: When we come back, more insanity. An assistant professor at University of Tampa fired, why, tweeting hurricane Harvey was instant karma because people voted for Republicans. We'll explain that insanity straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HANNITY: Welcome back to "Hannity." University of Tampa visiting professor, assistant professor, Kenneth Storey is in hot water tonight after tweeting a very hateful message to Texans as hurricane Harvey was pounding the gulf coast. Over the weekend, he wrote, quote, "I don't believe in instant, but this kind of feels like it for Texas. Hopefully this will help them realize the GOP doesn't care about them."

Ironically, he is now facing his own instant karma. According to reports he was fired by the University of Tampa and they have condemned his remarks. Storey later apologized on Twitter, writing, quote, "I deeply regret a statement I posted yesterday. I never mentioned to wish ill will upon any group. I hope all affected by Harvey recover quickly." That's so sincere. Tonight it appears Mr. Storey has deleted his Twitter account. Good idea.

Joining us with reaction, Fox News contributor Mercedes Schlapp, New York state senator -- how did this ever happen? -- Democrat Brian Benjamin. How did that ever happen?

(LAUGHTER)

BRIAN BENJAMIN, D-NEW YORK STATE SENATOR: The people, they love me.

(LAUGHTER)

HANNITY: Congratulations, I give you full credit. You went out, you campaigned, and I hope you can serve your constituents well. You talk about a sewer in D.C., it's worse up in Albany just in case you want to know.

BENJAMIN: That's true. We've got problems.

HANNITY: How many of your leaders up there got indicted recently over the years?

BENJAMIN: Since I've been elected, no one.

HANNITY: OK. We've seen a lot of hate, we've seen a lot of attacks tonight, and I want you as a Democrat to say this is wrong and it's outrageous. I just want some Democrat to say it because I don't hear it enough.

BENJAMIN: This is wrong and it's outrageous. There's no doubt about it.

HANNITY: Good for you.

BENJAMIN: But I think the environment is also outrageous, and I think some of the comments of the president makes leads to this kind of environment. And I think that's what's unfortunate.

HANNITY: You're blaming the president for what other people say? That's ridiculous.

BENJAMIN: No, no, no. I'm not blaming the president for what other people say. I'm blaming the president for what the president says.

HANNITY: OK, fair enough.

BENJAMIN: He is our leader. Go ahead.

HANNITY: Charlottesville is a great example. I will bring Mercedes in. In 1991 he condemned David Duke, racism, white supremacy, did it all throughout the 90s into 2000 and all through the election. He condemned it on the Saturday, the Monday, the Tuesday, the Wednesday. And people still attacked him. So I don't think he can win.

MERCEDES SCHLAPP, WASHINGTON TIMES: Well, he can't win, and I think the media is constantly trying to see if the president is going to have his next misstep, for example. So when you look at this Texas situation where the president went down to Texas, has had a very strong, coordinated efforts between the cabinet agencies and local and state counterparts, and it's basically sending a very strong message of unity, saying we are here for your Texas, we want to make sure that we come together as Americans.

And yet you have those on the left basically saying that his remarks are not empathetic? That's just simply ridiculous. And so I find it to be difficult to watch how the liberals are just still trying to nitpick and find any single mistake that the president would make in a case like this. And it's incredibly infuriating because what we have seen today is a president who clearly has been a comforter in chief.

HANNITY: Brian Benjamin, I want to ask you this.

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: Hang on, I've got a question for you.

BENJAMIN: Go ahead.

HANNITY: All right, so under Obama after eight years, we have 13 million more Americans on food stamps. We had 8 million more Americans in poverty after eight years. We had the lowest labor participation rate, the worst recovery, and the lowest home ownership rate in 51 years and he doubled the debt. So you tell me how Democrats after eight years in power, and of course Obamacare has destroyed the health care system. How is that a good thing? Show me where Democrats are better and made things better when they were in power.

BENJAMIN: Well, I think, you mentioned so many different things. So let me just deal with one. When Obama was in power -- hold on. When Obama was in power, you and others criticized him for super storm Sandy. In other words, every time a Democrat is in office, you do the same thing.

HANNITY: I never went after the first lady's she was.

BENJAMIN: Yes, but you called super storm sandy Obama's Katrina. You did this yourself. So my only point is you can't get mad when that comes back on you.

HANNITY: With all due respect, everything has gone smoothly here, Mercedes, that's the point.

SCHLAPP: And I think when you think a comment from that visiting professor --

BENJAMIN: We're not sure yet. We still have more to go.

SCHLAPP: You see that comment from the visiting professor where he's basically putting politics and basically saying these people of Texas deserve it because they supported Donald Trump, I mean, it just shows how insane it's all become where it really has become this matter of just ensuring that Trump wouldn't be successful in any possible way. And I think that's just such so a disservice to the president in the country.

BENJAMIN: And Mercedes --

HANNITY: I've got to run. Listen to me, I'll bring you back. I'm going to bring you back and you can answer my statistic question which you ducked and dodged.

BENJAMIN: When the president stop supporting people who walk with neo- Nazis and white supremacists then I --

SCHLAPP: He condemned them.

HANNITY: Stop lying. That's a lie, senator. That's a lie.

BENJAMIN: That's not a lie.

HANNITY: You're lying to the American people.

BENJAMIN: He said there were good people who walked with them, he did say that. Come on, Sean.

HANNITY: He does not support them.

We've got to break here. When we come back, North Korea continues to aggressively test the world, and President Trump has put the rogue regime in Pyongyang on notice. John Bolton next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HANNITY: Welcome back to Welcome back to "Hannity." North Korea continues to test the world's patience. Tonight according to the A.P. Kim Jong-un is calling for more ballistic missile launches into the Pacific Ocean. This coming just one day after the rogue regime in Pyongyang fired a rocket over Japan. In response President Trump issued this stern warning earlier today, quote, "Threatening destabilizing actions only increase the North Korean regime's isolation in the region and among all nations of the world. All options are on the table."

Here now with reaction, Fox News contributor, former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton. This particular test was the second time they're shooting over an island of Japan. It seems to me we're getting very close to the line where they are, they are going to push to the point where they may incinerate themselves.

JOHN BOLTON, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: This launch is a very, very serious. Obviously a missile that could land east of Japan could land on Japan. And when a missile is on a launch pad and in its boost phase, you don't know what the target is. And so this is the kind of existential question that President Trump could be confronted with maybe next year when the North Koreans put a missile on the pad that we know could reach the United States with a nuclear warhead. What's he going to do?

That's why really we have run out of time for diplomatic options with North Korea. Secretary Tillerson keeps talking about it. Honestly, it's a needless diversion. We have very few diplomatic plays left to make. And so I think we've got to get real serious about explaining to North Korea, demonstrating to them and to China that we're not going to let the capability survive.

HANNITY: But the choice is the options aren't good.

BOLTON: Of course are not good. We've had 25 years of failed policy. And obviously the risk we face if we have to take out North Korea's nuclear program, the risk is to the innocent civilian population of South Korea if Kim Jong-un retaliates against them. And I don't want to see anything bad happen to the civilians of South Korea. But here's something else, I don't want to see anything bad happens to the civilians in the United States either.

HANNITY: Well said, ambassador, and I agree wholeheartedly with you. Do we know if we see a missile on a pad and maybe one that we think could reach the continental United States or any part of the United States or Guam, do we know if that missile is loaded with anything?

BOLTON: No. We can only guess. The North Koreans are very close to being able to switch from liquid fuel to solid fuel. That means time on the launch pad, preparation time will be dramatically reduced. I thought there was significant in this launch over Japan, I have not heard that any missile defense capability of ours or South Korea or Japan tried to engage this missile. I think that may demonstrate to the North Koreans unfortunately just how weak America's national missile defense capabilities are after eight years of savage Obama administration budget cuts. We are in a very difficult place, there's no doubt about it. This isn't something President Trump wanted.

But let's not forget, what North Korea can do today or tomorrow by simply writing a check Iran will have the capability to do the day after.

HANNITY: I don't disagree at all. But you agree with me, North Korea could be incinerated. They could launch missiles loaded into South Korea, Japan, or even China. We have about 10 seconds.

BOLTON: And they know that the answer would be the elimination of leadership in much of that country. They need to be convinced of it now.

HANNITY: All right, we've got to run. Thank you, ambassador. When we come back, more "Hannity" right after this break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HANNITY: And welcome back to "Hannity." Unfortunately that's all the time we have left this evening. As always, we do thank you for being with us. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the people of Texas tonight. This show will always be the fair and balanced alternative to the destroy-Trump establishment media. They are beyond shameful. We'll see you back here tomorrow night.


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