PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton

Guests:
Erin McPike; John Nichols, Bill Richardson, Martin Luther King, III, Spike Lee
Transcript:

Show: POLITICSNATION
Date: November 29, 2015
Guest: Erin McPike; John Nichols, Bill Richardson, Martin Luther King,
III, Spike Lee


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: The GOP`s freak out over Donald Trump. Just
two months to Iowa, can anyone stop him?

Also, the latest on the Planned Parenthood shooting? Was the suspect
driven by politics?

Plus, tough new questions after the police shooting of Laquan McDonald. We
will look at the state of civil rights in America, 60 years after the
Montgomery bus boycott. Martin Luther King III will join me live.

And Spike Lee is back, making headlines with a new film about gun violence
in Chicago. Spike joins me live here at 30 Rock.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Good morning.

We start with Donald Trump. And the question now facing Republicans, just
over two months from Iowa, can anyone in the GOP stop him?

This weekend, Trump says he`s rallying a quote “movement,” and evoked
Richard Nixon`s famous phrase about a silent majority.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is a movement. This is not
Trump. This is not anything. This is a movement. Remember, it is a
movement. We used to say silent majority. It`s not a silent majority,
it`s really a noisy majority.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Once again Trump finds himself in a controversy, this time for
apparently mocking a reporter who has a medical condition.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Now the poor guy you got to see this guy, I don`t know what I said,
I don`t remember. He`s going I don`t remember. Maybe that`s what I said.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And once again, Trump is not apologizing. Instead, going on
offense, claiming he wasn`t mocking the reporter.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Because I express myself very strongly it`s groveling, I`m trying
to show groveling, but all of a sudden I found that I was mocking somebody.
I may have met him, some of the people back there, they reported me every
day. I don`t know who they are. I don`t know what they look like, but I
know their name and they know what I`m talking about. I know their name
and some treat me good and some treat me badly, mostly badly, you know,
because they don`t come from where we come from. But I know their name but
I don`t know. This reporter is so happy. People have heard of him now.
Nobody ever heard of the guy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Trump has now been first or second in polls for over 130 days.
Can anyone challenge him?

Ted Cruz is making a move. One poll shows him just two points behind Trump
in Iowa. Chris Christie just got an endorsement from a major newspaper in
New Hampshire, but Trump himself might have his eye on Marco Rubio.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Rubio comes out. He represents for a short period of time the
people of Florida. He has got the worst attendance record in the United
States Senate, doesn`t vote. He is weak on, very weak on illegal
immigration, totally in favor of amnesty, which you can`t do. OK?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me now is our panel, MSNBC national correspondent Joy
Reid, Reuters political reporter Erin McPike, and “the Nation`s” John
Nichols. Thank you all for being here.

JOY REID, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Thank you, Rev.

ERIN MCPIKE, POLITICAL REPORTER, REUTERS: Thanks.

JOHN NICHOLS, THE NATIONS: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Joy, what is the GOP plan to stop Donald Trump?

REID: Well, at the moment, Rev., it appears they didn`t have a plan,
right. So one of the story that came out last weekend, I think it was
about Friday, is that GOP donors are all sort of looking at each other
wondering which one of them is going to pull a trigger on some sort of plan
to take down Trump. Now, there has been a group that has been formed, a
501C3 I believe it is, that is going to try to run ads against Trump.

But I don`t understand really what ads are going to do at this point. I
think the base of the Republican Party, at least a third of it, is dead set
on Donald Trump. And I don`t really understand what the GOP establishment
thinks it is going to do to stop him.

SHARPTON: You know, Erin, because Trump himself talks about his
controversial statements don`t hurt him, they only help him. Let me show
you this comment and get a response.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Sometimes I`ll make a statement they`ll say, this is the end. This
is the end! Right? This is the end. It`s finally going to happen. And
then my guys walk into the office, hey, Mr. Trump, our poll numbers have
just gone through the roof. Say what? That`s only happened about four
times so far.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, Erin, despite the fact there`s a lot of braggadocio (ph)
there, it`s true he seems to have been able to get helped by controversies,
not harmed by them.

MCPIKE: It`s absolutely true. And part of that is that the Republican
base likes him a lot more than they like or trust the media, so I would
agree. He is right. A lot of times his poll numbers go up.

The other thing I would say here is look for his poll numbers to go up
again next week after thanksgiving, after people have gotten together and
talked about it, because the more and more you hear a number of Republican
voters get together and talk about it, they talk about what it is they like
about Donald Trump. I actually think he is going to go up a little bit
more from here.

SHARPTON: John, I mean Joy referred to it, “the Wall Street Journal” has
done an article on it, the big donors are looking for a way to come after
him. Is there a route to stopping Trump sort of just wishing, hoping,
praying that he implodes?

NICHOLS: Well, one thing to understand about Donald Trump is that since he
got into this race with credible but not dominant numbers, he has
meticulously taken down everyone who has gotten in his way. And that`s the
other side. The flipside of this thing is that when somebody comes up as
his credible challenger, Trump turns his energy on that candidate. He did
it to Bush, he did it to Scott Walker. I would argue he did it to Marco
Rubio and now he will likely do it with Cruz. And so, that`s a key part of
this whole thing. It isn`t just the establishment is struggling. It`s
this reality that when they find somebody Trump then focuses on that person
and takes them down.

I think the key on this thing is two-fold. Trump is likely to be slowed
down only if you can beat him in Iowa and in New Hampshire. The way to do
that is with different candidates, not with one candidate. And so, in Iowa
you look at Cruz coming up.

Cruz is a very skilled campaigner. He has put a lot of energy into Iowa.
He is credible there. Watch what he does. He is, I think, going to take a
lot of Ben Carson`s support. Build on his own. Potentially come into a
lead there.

In New Hampshire, it is much harder, but when you see this endorsement of
Chris Christie today, that`s what that`s about. The idea in New Hampshire
has to be to pull together the mainstream Republicans, those who are, you
know, very conservative but maybe deal in something a little bit closer to
the mainstream America politics than Trump. So what you are going to try
to see there is an attempt to downplay Bush, downplay Kasich, move those
numbers over at least in this case perhaps to Christie, and get one
credible contender against him in New Hampshire.

SHARPTON: But Erin, how do you explain that he has been able to in many
ways bring down Rubio. Now he is working on Cruz. Carson has gone way
down, a lot of that self-inflicted. I mean, he has been able to go from
show men to strategist and using a showmanship to support a strategy as
John says.

MCPIKE: Well, that`s right. He has improved as a candidate. I would add
that a little bit to say the he has not yet turned his attention to Cruz.
We expect that. Although, he has been quite kind to Cruz throughout this
campaign. They are on the level on a lot of issues.

He is still focus on Rubio. And I think that remains to be seen where that
goes because Marco Rubio is just beginning a major ad buy. And maybe that
will move numbers. Big advertising buys on television have moved numbers
in the past. It remains to be seen whether it can.

Whether this union leader endorsement of Chris Christie last night, this
morning will do anything to move Chris Christie`s numbers, that`s hard to
say. That paper endorsed Newt Gingrich in 2011 and he did not go on to
beat Mitt Romney in the state of New Hampshire. Right now, Chris Christie
is polling quite low at five to seven percent in New Hampshire. It`s Marco
Rubio that the establishment wants to rally around, but who knows that that
will make any difference?

Cruz is quite close to Trump in Iowa but in New Hampshire, it may hurt him.
And I have heard a number of voters say that they do not want to go with
the establishment candidate. They like Trump and Cruz because they are
anti-establishment and they keep saying, well, you know, Marco Rubio used
to be an anti-establishment guy but now he is the establishment. So we
don`t want him.

But I think everybody in New Hampshire is so far behind Donald Trump. The
idea that getting behind Chris Christie this late in the game, I don`t know
that`s going to do much good.

SHARPTON: Joy, tomorrow, Donald Trump`s meeting with leading black pastors
it`s billed. Some are saying they are just going to meet, some are saying
they are going to endorse.

Now, aside from the fact of my opinion of Donald Trump and others, the
thing that`s interesting here is that he is going for a block that
represents a lot, if not the majority of black voters. Lot of people don`t
understand even in a transforming time, the majority of black voters attend
church. It may not be the traditional church. It may be the mega church.
Is he playing on a weakness that the Democrats have left an opening who
have (INAUDIBLE) with progressive, but have not dealt with the church,
where the vote is?

REID: Yes. And it`s interesting. Because I think you are right in that
people do underestimate the extent to which the pastor, the church is still
the probably the most compelling centrifugal force that guides black
voters. That that is where the biggest black voter-base is, particularly
when you are talking about African-American women.

And so, for Donald Trump to have this meeting, there are only the lead
pastor who organized it, is actually endorsing him. The rest are just
taking the meeting. But the fact that they are willing to take the
meeting, some of these pastors who have known to sort of act on this for
Democratic sphere, called the Republican sphere, means that number one,
Democrats have left an opening.

I think you have seen with all of the three major, really two major
Democratic candidates, they are now trying to make up ground with black
voters because there is a sense I think broadly among a lot of black voters
that don`t quite take them for granted.

SHARPTON: Right.

REID: And so, I think any opening that that lead –

SHARPTON: Well, I have been saying to the candidates, and I want to
reiterate that call. They need to come in front of black religious leaders
and I think Trump has on it because they cannot look like they are just,
not only taking it for granted but only playing to one side of a community
that may not represent voters.

Everybody, stay with me. Lots more to come.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: We`ll look at the new debate about defining terrorism in the
wake of the shooting rampage at a Planned Parenthood clinic.

Also, the Montgomery bus boycott 60 years later. I`ll talk about the
lessons for activism today with Martin Luther King III.

Plus Spike Lee stops by to talk about his new film, “Chi-Raq.”

Stay with us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know that Americans have
been asking each other whether it`s safe here, whether it`s safe to fly or
gather. We are taking every possible step to keep our homeland safe.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: President Obama telling Americans not to panic in the wake of
the Paris terror attacks.

On the campaign trail, Donald Trump has a different message.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We do have to look at the mosques very carefully. The mosques, a
lot of things are happening in there, folks, a lot of things.

There`s some nastiness, there`s some meanness there. There`s something
going on in the mosques and other places.

People move into a house a block down the road. You know who`s going in.
You can see and you report them to the local police. Everybody`s their own
cop in a way. You got to do it.

Would I approve waterboarding? You bet your (bleep). I would approve it.
You bet your (bleep), in a heartbeat.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Trump is also indicated he would support a database of Muslims,
and that he would be open to shutting down some mosques. Up to now rival
GOP candidates have been careful in criticizing him.

Joining me now is former ambassador to the United Nations, and former
governor of New Mexico, Bill Richardson.

Governor, thank you for being here.

BILL RICHARDSON, FORMER AMBASSADOR TO UNITED NATIONS: Thank you, Reverend.
Nice to be with you.

SHARPTON: You know, you`ve been in politics a long time. Have you ever
seen this kind of rhetoric on the national level?

RICHARDSON: No, I haven`t seen this rhetoric and I was just in Paris. I
got back last night where the French people have rallied around their
leaders. They have rallied as a community for the victims there. And then
to hear this rhetoric on the right, shut down mosque, don`t allow refugees
to come in, data registry, the silence of the right when it comes to this
Planned Parenthood attack in Colorado. It shows that as a country, we need
to come together.

And I applaud the president. I think the president was very right to send
this calming message. He has a bully pulpit. I just traveled extensively
through airports, Reverend. And you know, I`m going to say something good
about law enforcement, about the police, even TSA, everything seemed
orderly. Travelers were upbeat. They were cooperating. I think as a
country when you leave –

SHARPTON: But let me ask you this, ambassador, governor, the attitudes
that we are hearing here, how are people responding around the world? I
mean, I was in Paris and South Africa right before the attack, and you got
one flavor. How are we looking post-Paris when you are hearing leading
candidate on the Republican side talking about closing mosques, data bank
for Muslims. How is that playing around the world? You have just come
back from Paris.

RICHARDSON: Well, I hear it from diplomats, from friends, from ordinary
people, they are saying what is happening to America, the land of civil
liberties, of the free? Where is this rhetoric coming from?

What I try to say to them is that look, this is Donald Trump and others.
This is maybe 30 percent of the Republican electorate. I try to tell them
that a majority of the American people still have these values of decency,
of democracy.

You know, this Planned Parenthood issue, Reverend, I think this attorney
general is a very good one. What she said was this was not just an attack
on Planned Parenthood. This was a man with a history of domestic violence,
animal abuse. He killed law enforcement official.

SHARPTON: Right.

RICHARDSON: He killed 11 innocent people. You know, I think that`s the
kind of calming positive assessment of where we are.

SHARPTON: I`m going to get into Colorado later in the show, and you`re
right. But let me ask you something. You say that Donald Trump, that
maybe 30 percent, but has his GOP rivals criticized him enough? Have they
taken him on? And if not, why not?

RICHARDSON: Well, they have been silent. They have been silent on Trump.
They were silent on Colorado, on the mosque issue. I think the only ones
that have spoken out like Jeb Bush and others have actually gone down in
the polls.

Now, my prediction, I know you had a very distinguished panel earlier,
Reverend, but I think the voters of New Hampshire and Iowa, Iowa is in the
primaries, they have a way of sending messages. This is two months away.
I don`t think Trump is going to win either of those two primaries. I think
the accumulation of his insults, of this rhetoric is eventually going to
register at the polls. I think you are going to see some real upsets. And
I think by the middle of the primaries, I think he will be out as a major
candidate. But I have been wrong before. I have been wrong so far about
Trump, but we will see.

SHARPTON: Well, I have to agree. I was in the 2004 primaries and we
thought going in, Howard Dean would win Iowa and it didn`t quite work out
that way.

Governor Bill Richardson, thank you for so much being with us this morning.

RICHARDSON: Thank you.

ANNOUNCER: We will be right back with Martin Luther King III only on
“Politics Nation.”

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: This Tuesday, Americans will mark a milestone in U.S. history.
The 60th anniversary of the Montgomery bus boycott.

On December 1st, 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white
man on a bus. It sparked a city-wide boycott led by a young preacher named
Martin Luther King Jr.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR., ACTIVIST: Felt all along that we have just cause
and legal excuse for such action. We simply decided to say en masse that
we were tired of being trampled over with iron feet of oppression.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The boycott lasted over a year and ended with the city losing at
the Supreme Court and integrating all its buses. The legacy of the boycott
endures to this day. But many challenges remain, some old and some new.
And as we see that horrific tragedy like the shooting of Laquan McDonald in
Chicago, 16 shots and 400 days until the police officer who shot him was
charged with murder.

Joining me now is Martin Luther King III. Thanks for being here, Martin.

MARTIN LUTHER KING III, CIVIL RIGHT ACTIVIST: Thank you, Rev.

SHARPTON: Martin, you have seen this video of the police shooting in
Chicago. And you and I dealt with videos the last several years from North
Charleston to Gardner in New York. I mean, doesn`t this highlight where we
are in this next phase of civil rights, maybe starting with Trayvon, where
all of us have been involved through until now, is this the next phase
coming to having to deal with the criminal justice issue?

KING: Well certainly the criminal justice issue is one of the top issues
that our nation must address, when we look at the number of African-
Americans and Latinos and Hispanics who describes the prison population.
And the fact that in our communities it`s not just policing, I should say.
That is certainly a significant issue.

But also, just as significant is the fact that unfortunately there is
community violence. Dad would have characterized it and mom as we are
still addressing the issues of the eradication of poverty, racism,
militarism and violence. And so, I don`t know that it is a new face as
much as we just still have a lot of work to do. I think we learned from
what we saw in 1955, the endurance that people had for 381 days, people
chose not to ride the buses.

I remember mom saying that on that first day, they looked out of the
window. They were very excited. They had no idea whether the buses is
going to be empty. But the resilience that the people had is just
phenomenal.

SHARPTON: Now, how important was that? And I have talked to you about
this and was privileged to talk to your mother about this many times, the
significance of this in launching the national career, if you want to call
it a career, or mission of your father?

KING: Well, it is certainly was quite significant. And as you know, MIA
existed at the time or was created –

SHARPTON: Montgomery Improvement Association. I don`t want people to
think you`re talking about missing in action.

KING: Absolutely. But it also created a climate so that in 1957, the
southern Christian leadership conference could be founded which became the
organization that worked with other organizations to help us get a civil
rights act in 1964 and the voting rights act in 1965 and fair housing
legislation in 1968. So yes, that was the pivotal point in terms of the
leadership. Certainly the starting point of leadership of Martin Luther
King Jr.

SHARPTON: Now, one of the things that was interesting to me, and I tell
this to a lot of young activists in Mass Action Network and another groups
and outside groups, is that the reason the boycott worked is they were
inclusive. They brought in everybody. And they, as you said, your mother
talked about how no one got on the bus, the real movements bring in a broad
tent, not an exclusionary tent. And your father had to go through a lot of
tensions to build even people that were criticized, called them to
establishment, call them too radical on the other side, but an inclusive
movement is the only way you can really make the real change happen.

KING: You are absolutely right, Rev. And of course, that I think that`s
what we see. I think we – even as it relates to Black Lives Matter, it`s
not just black young people marching. They are blacks, they are whites,
there are others who are marching. And it has to be an inclusive movement,
if we want to maximize success.

We will see – and dad would have called it I guess coalition building.
And mom engaged in coalition building. So you had – I mean we always know
the union supported the movement. We know the Jewish community supported
the movement. We know that the Greek orthodox committee came and supported
the movement. We know that Catholics supported the movement, over time.
It did not start with each of those groups initially. But over time all of
those groups came to the table. And America is a better America because
women and men and folks from all walks of life came together.

And that`s what we need today when we talk about the concept of injustice.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Dad used to say I
can`t be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be because our
destinies are tied together.

SHARPTON: Martin Luther King III, thank you so much for being here with us
this Sunday before this important anniversary.

KING: Thank you, Rev.

ANNOUNCER: You are watching “Politics Nation” with Al Sharpton, only on
MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: The suspect at the deadly shooting rampage at a Planned
Parenthood clinic in Colorado is due in court tomorrow. While
investigators are still trying to confirm a motive, sources say Robert Dear
said quote “no more baby parts.” After his arrest, he made those
statements. He also made comments about the government and about President
Obama.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch called it quote “a crime against women.”
And the justice department is reviewing whether Dear should be charged with
a hate crime or with violating a federal law that protection abortion
clinics. The survivors were stunned.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OZY LICANO, COLORADO SHOOTING WITNESS: I could see him aiming and I was
trying move. It was horrible. I`m angry. You know? I just don`t know
what would possess somebody to be that pad to other people that he didn`t
even know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And now it`s a political issue as well. All three democratic
presidential candidates have denounced the shooting. But most of the
Republicans have been slow to respond.

Jeb Bush said there was no acceptable explanation for this violence.

Ted Cruz and John Kasich called the shooting quote “tragic.”

Let`s bring back our panel, Joy Reid, Erin McPike and John Nichols.

John, what is your take on the response from the Republicans?

NICHOLS: It has been deafening. Deafening silence. And it is true that
Ted Cruz did tweet something and so has John Kasich. And credit to them.
But it is striking to me that in the immediate aftermath of this shooting,
this shooting that took the lives of three people including a police
officer, who is a co-pastor of his church, you did not see Republican
contenders who have been so outspoken, who have always had something to say
about Planned Parenthood and about a host of other issues step up. They
did not have to change their positions. They did not have to, you know,
say something that would satisfy, you know, supporters of abortion rights
or reproductive health, but they could have said this is jarring, this is
troubling. This is a good point at which to think about how we talk about
issues, to think about how we frame these debates.

And I will just remind you, Reverend, we have a great history in this
country of candidates being tested in moments like this. You will recall
in 1968 just hours, minutes really shortly after Martin Luther King Jr. was
shot, Bobby Kennedy standing in an inner city speaking those beautiful
words. I don`t expect any candidate to hit that mark. But I do expect
that in a moment of national trauma, candidates would speak up and at least
try to heal, try to keep people talking.

SHARPTON: You raise an excellent point there, John. Because Joy, I
remember all of the furor when a kid brought a homemade clock to school in
Texas, and they thought it was a bomb, and it was huge furor, and it was
not a bomb.

REID: Right.

SHARPTON: And if you listened to the relative of silence almost especially
from the candidates, but on the right in general, on a man that went in a
Planned Parenthood office and kills three people, including a police
officer.

REID: That`s right. And this is the same right wing that has been sort of
baiting the African-American community and claiming the demands for
justice, demands for better policing –

SHARPTON: Rhetoric, blaming everybody from the president to me to young
activists, I mean.

REID: Exactly. And that they are endangering the lives of police
officers.

But you know, Republicans conservatives are in a bind here. They are in
this really fractious race for the Republican nomination in which one-third
of the base is heavily evangelical. They are very dependent on evangelical
voters who are listening for any signs of (INAUDIBLE) on the issue of
abortion. And so, they are locked in this kind of situation where they
can`t be too sympathetic.

But you know, the thing is, if you were to substitute the shooter, if he
were Muslim or if he were a Mexican national, how different the rhetoric
would be on the right, right now. You really understand where the
Republican Party and the conservative movement is today.

SHARPTON: But you know, Erin, that brings us to the fight and analysis
between domestic terrorism and Islamic terror. For example, the death toll
for terror attacks in the United States since September 11th has 48 people
killed non-Muslim extremism, and jihadist extremism 26 killed. So the non-
Muslim extremism has really caused more death, all are who are horrific,
all are wrong, all must be dealt with, but it doesn`t seem like we`re
getting the equal kind of attention and outrage from elements of the right.

MCPIKE: That`s right. And look, the Republicans, all of them, were quick
to jump on the Paris attacks in the aftermath of that to talk about a
number of issues related to terrorism on an international level. And even
Marco Rubio stoking fear about the fact that it could happen here.

I think in this particular case, this may not be about Planned Parenthood.
I mean, you know, we could read a lot into the silence from these
Republican candidates. I think it may be a little bit more about the gun
violence in America piece of it, not where the shooting happened, but that
Republican candidates don`t have anything good to say. And in fact,
politicians of all stripes don`t have a great answer about some of these
mass shootings on American soil, what they mean, and what to do about them.

I think maybe the Republican candidates could have done a little bit better
to talk about this, condemn the violence that happened. We did see Marco
Rubio tweet about a political murder in Venezuela, but he didn`t talk about
this. But I think the larger issue here is that they just don`t know what
to do about this particular issue.

SHARPTON: But Joy, isn`t it a fact it`s a critical issue we are facing? A
9-year-old kid killed in Chicago, we saw finally two arrests on that just
Wednesday. Isn`t it a fact, if you`re running for president, you need to
deal with how you keel with the mass shootings?

REID: No, absolutely. And you have in the case of this person, I think we
should be calling a domestic terrorist because it does appears there was
somewhat political motive, something to do with Planned Parenthood.

But in this case, this person had a background that included domestic
violence, it included aggravating stalking, peeping tom charges, he had
violence in his background and he was still able to legally obtain a weapon
of war. That is an issue and it should be discussed in the presidential
campaign.

SHARPTON: Joy Reid, Erin McPike and John Nichols, thank you. And enjoy
the rest of your day.

REID: Thank you.

MCPIKE: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Up next, the new film from Spike Lee that has everybody talking,
it`s called “Chi-Raq” and it addresses one of the biggest problems in
America today. Spike joins me live here in the studio, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: The claimed filmmaker Spike Lee is back. He is back with a new
movie that tackles one of the most serious problems in America today – gun
violence. It`s the satire called “Chi-Raq” based on an ancient Greek play
updated to modern day Chicago. It is already generating lots of debate.
Here is part of the new trailer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In Chicago, Illinois, have surpassed the death toll of
American Special Forces in Iraq.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome to Chi-Raq.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Land of pain, misery and strive.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everybody here got a man, banging and slanging and
fighting for the slag risking that long dip to the cadaver bag.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All for the bang, bang.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Make sure these fools put down these guns.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you want justice?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me now is the man himself, Spike Lee.

Good to see you, Spike.

SPIKE LEE, DIRECTOR: Brooklyn`s in the house.

SHARPTON: We should am. And it is not unusual, you and I together Sunday
morning?

But “Chi-Raq,” it is controversial when you are calling it “Chi-Raq.” Why
name “Chi-Raq?”

LEE: Well, number one, I didn`t come with that term. The term came up by
a local Chicago rapper because they felt that the (INAUDIBLE) of Chicago
was more dangerous that Iraq. So that not come from me. And the mayor had
a problem with that too, the mayor Rahm Emanuel.

SHARPTON: Well, it is problems with the mayor.

LEE: He has more problem than that.

SHARPTON: The whole satire, though, was built on an old Greek. And it`s
funny because you talk about Brooklyn, when I was in high school I read the
story of “Le Sister” – “Lastrada.” We would Brooklynize it “Le Sister.”

(CROSSTALK)

LEE: Brooklynese.

SHARPTON: Right.

LEE: But it was written in 411 B.C. by the Greek played with Aristophanes.
And in this play, (INAUDIBLE) forms a movement. She is tired of the war.
And gets – women today are saying we are going to withhold sex from our
boyfriends, from our husbands until men put down their guns. So to that
premise, the sex strike, I mean, took it to the south side of Chicago and
temporary today where it`s off the hook.

SHARPTON: So are people saying that you shouldn`t have made it sapphire or
there`s too much sex in it or suggestions or is it they don`t want to deal
with –

LEE: Take your pick, Rev.

SHARPTON: OK.

LEE: But here is a thing, though. This many different ways to tell a
story, and the co-writer, (INAUDIBLE) and I felt that the satire used way
back in 4 1 B.C. is still the way to tell a story. Also, satire allows you
to add humor to it, not comedy but humor and still have to deal with a very
serious subject matter.

SHARPTON: Now, I see you back working with Samuel Jackson.

LEE: Yes.

SHARPTON: I see –

LEE: (INAUDIBLE).

SHARPTON: Yes. And –

LEE: Wesley Snipes.

SHARPTON: Wesley Snipes. So you have got a lot of stars lined up.

LEE: Jennifer Hudson, David Chappell, Nick Cannon as greatness, a newcomer
Tianna Paris, Angela Basset returns, but last time worked with Malcolm X.

SHARPTON: Right.

LEE: She played the late great doctor (INAUDIBLE).

SHARPTON: I had a cameo with that.

LEE: You did. John Cusack, (INAUDIBLE), so we have a really great, great
cast. And we got, we are doing this film in Chicago, it was really a great
shooting. We were in the hood, so. But during that time, Rev., our first
day of shooting, filming was June 1st. Our last day was July 9th. During
that time, 331 people were wounded and shot, 65 got murdered just during
the production.

SHARPTON: And that`s the real issue here is that the amount of murders - I
mean, I took an apartment, we go out there once a month with Reverend Hatch
and deal with it. We just saw the arrest of two men around executing a 9-
year-old. The real point is you are using sapphire to bring out the
message.

LEE: That`s the message. I think that all the other stuff, Rev., is a
distraction. The focus - the number one goal, Rev., of the film was to
save lives. I will go to my grave thinking that art could change the
world. And that was the goal of this film. We have to save lives. It
comes out December 4th. And I hope that some of the young brothers see
this film and think about what they are doing.

SHARPTON: So it comes out this Friday, December 4th.

LEE: This Friday, yes.

SHARPTON: I know you are premiering it Tuesday in New York. And it`s
interesting. You say you`re not going to have an after party. You are
going to have me and others march with you against violence.

LEE: Yes. We have a march against violence. And then we should really to
tie in Montgomery and Rosa Parks. Let`s tie that in, Rev.

SHARPTON: Now, talking about the Montgomery anniversary which the day of
the premiere. We also see in Chicago on the other side, this 13 months
that it took to charge this police officer in what was blatant. So you got
also to deal with the fact that we need law enforcement to fight crime, but
they undercut their credibility when they don`t deal with crimes in their
own ranks.

LEE: And so, this is what happens when the community sees something like
that, they are going to be less apt to come forward and cooperate with the
police when they see this stuff, when the guy was shot down like a dog. So
it`s for both sides.

SHARPTON: Stay with me. We`ll have more with Spike Lee after the break.
Don`t go anywhere.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We are back with the one and only Spike Lee, whose new film is
“Chi-Raq.” It is about gun violence in Chicago and opens in theaters this
Friday.

Spike, let me bring you somewhere else. You got an honorary Oscar and all
of your home boys like we are proud.

LEE: Denzel Washington, Samuel Jackson and Wesley Snipes.

SHARPTON: They were there to make the presentation. But you used it as an
opportunity to address the lack of diversity in Hollywood. I mean, in true
Brooklyn style, you didn`t take the bow and the gracious, you know, I thank
my mom and dad. You used it to make a statement. Tell us about it.

LEE: Well, all the people who were there, the powers that be and I made
the statement that it`s easier for a black person in the United States of
America to be president of this country than to be the president of a
studio or a network.

SHARPTON: Wow. One of the things that –

LEE: They weren`t expecting that.

SHARPTON: One of the things I`m sure, because we had the controversy with
Sony pictures and all of that, but no real follow-up, and that certainly is
something they don`t talk a lot about in this industry. And you and I
about two or three years apart trying to bring on the next generation, me
in civil rights, you in art. Who do you see in promise in terms of
directing and film making to your level?

LEE: Well it`s not my level. It`s I went to see this film “Creed” by a
great young director Ryan Kugler, also directed that film “fruit vale
station.” So this young brother coming up who came out of film school. So
a lot of promise for him. I mean, his first two films, “Fruitville” and
then “Creed.” I think it made $40 million the first two days, so watch out
for him.

SHARPTON: So how does that generation behind us deal with opening up
Hollywood more as you`ve laid down the gauntlet at the honorary Oscars?

LEE: See, this is not - and if this was the NFL, we would have the Rooney
rule. You can`t do that. So my thing is this, Rev. We have people in
front of the camera, behind the camera, but we are not in the room. We
don`t have a green light vote. That is where they decide what we are
making, what we are not. And we don`t, we`re not positioned on – I don`t
know of any African-American, I mean, to get animation, but where we have a
green light vote, we have a vote to say we`re making this or not making
this.

SHARPTON: Let me get back to “Chi-Raq” and we have got to put some legs
behind the whole move about dealing with gun violence and we are dealing
with accountability and law enforcement at the same time.

LEE: Here`s the thing. I know we have to end but why does it have to be
one or another? We can have Black Lives Matter and still be self-critical
about what`s happening. It`s not one or the other.

SHARPTON: It is the same thing.

LEE: It is the same thing.

SHARPTON: I`m going to have to leave it there.

Spike Lee, thank you so much for being here this morning. And again, the
new film is “Chi-Raq.” It opens this Friday.

That does it for me. Thanks for watching. I`ll see you back here next
Sunday morning.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)


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