PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton, Transcript 12/20/2015

April Ryan; Nick Berardini; Joe Arpaio; Joann Woodson; Linda Hervieux

Date: December 20, 2015
Guest: April Ryan; Nick Berardini; Joe Arpaio; Joann Woodson; Linda



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fight night for the Democrats, squaring off the just
their third presidential debate.

much that secretary Clinton is too much into regime change.

senator, you vote forward regime change with respect to Libya.


SANDER: Let`s calm down a little, Martin.

CLINTON: Yes, let`s tell the truth, Martin.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can Bernie Sanders get a second win?

Also, battle lines in the GOP. The politics is getting personal.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If I lost the nomination, yes, I
guess I`d call myself a loser. I`ve never said that about myself before.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we talk to controversial sheriff Joe Arpaio about
whether his views on immigrants are now mainstream in the GOP.

All that plus a look at whether tasers are really safe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was pretty clear to me that this was taser induced
cardiac arrest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody told us these were going to kill people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And a widow`s mission to honor a hero 60 years in the

From Rockefeller Center in New York City, this is “Politics Nation with Al


REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Good morning. I`m Al Sharpton.

The Democratic presidential candidates held just their third debate last
night. Late on a Saturday night right before Christmas. And it came after
days of controversy over the Bernie Sanders campaign improperly accessing
Hillary Clinton`s voter data. He apologized for that right at the start.


SANDERS: Not only do I apologize to Secretary Clinton, and I hope we can
work together on an independent investigation from day one, I want to
apologize to my supporters. This is not the type of campaign that we run.

CLINTON: I very much appreciate that comment, Bernie. It really is
important. We should move on because I don`t think the American people are
all that interested.


SHARPTON: The debate was in New Hampshire, a state where Sanders is
actually leading Clinton in the polls. And he was eager to highlight their
differences, especially when it comes to Wall Street and big corporations.


DAVID MUIR, WORLD NEWS ANCHOR: Should corporate America love Hillary

CLINTON: Everybody should. I have said I want to be the president for the
struggling, the striving and the successful.

SANDERS: Hillary and I have a difference. CEOs of large multinationals
may like Hillary. They aren`t going to like me, and Wall Street is going
to like me even less.


SHARPTON: But Clinton repeatedly looked past her Democratic rivals to
focus instead on Donald Trump.


CLINTON: The rhetoric coming from the Republicans, particularly Donald
Trump, is sending a message to Muslims here in the United States and
literally around the world that there is a clash of civilizations. Mr.
Trump has a great capacity to use bluster and bigotry to inflame people.
He is becoming is` best recruiter. They are going to people, showing
videos of Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslims.


SHARPTON: There were a few light moments like when Clinton came back late
after a commercial break and when she wrapped up her closing remarks by
seeming to admit that a good chunk of the country was probably watching the
new “Star Wars” movie instead of the debate.


CLINTON: Thank you. Good night. And may the force be with you.


SHARPTON: Joining me now is April Ryan, Washington bureau chief for
American Urban Radio Networks, Dana Milbank of “the Washington Post,” and
Republican strategist Adolfo Franco. Thank you all for being here.



SHARPTON: So April, Sanders is down 30 points to Clinton nationwide. Did
he do anything to regain momentum last night?

know last night, Reverend Al, he was a different Bernie Sanders, in my
opinion. He was not at passionate, but he was still forceful. I guess
with all of this hanging over his head with this new scandal about the list
that his staffers were able to look at or, you know, at least one we know
of for sure that was fired that looked at Hillary Clinton`s list. But he
was someone I think tonight that – last night, who really wanted to show
the American public that he`s still there. We saw Bernie Sanders who was
still very presidential. But yet someone who was very real. He apologized
but came out still forceful, challenging Martin O`Malley, challenging
Hillary Clinton, and tried to set his record straight.

But he also, and I was really shocked still to this point, after he
apologized to Hillary Clinton at the begin, he came back later on and said
we have to give her credit for being one of the most transformative first
ladies ever. So he really still was forceful, challenging her at point and
Martin O`Malley, but yet still paying homage to Hillary Clinton.

SHARPTON: Dana, how do you read that? I mean, apology came back and kind
of paid homage. We had all of these forecasts of maybe this would be a
very confrontational kind of night. It seemed the opposite from the
strategy of Bernie Sanders side at least what we saw on the debate stage.

MILBANK: Right. I think that was Bernie Sanders being Bernie Sanders. I
mean, his policies are very clear. But he`s not, you know, a rude
confrontational kind of guy. And you know, he has been fighting the good
fight for this campaign and representing his position, the populist left.
He has done it very forcefully. He has been I think succeeded beyond
expectations of many.

Look. He is not going to get the nomination. We all know that. He knows
that. And I think he is continuing to represent what he stands for in a
way that`s benefitting the party, that`s is benefiting his cause. So yes,
he was definitely strong in representing himself. Politely challenging the
front-runner, but I think not doing the sort of bridge burning that we`ve
seen on the Republicans.

SHARPTON: And that was forecast.

You know, Adolfo, one of the things that was interesting is Hillary Clinton
seemed to go past her Democratic opponents and was going after the
Republicans, most notably Donald Trump last night. It seemed like she was
content I have got this wrapped up in terms of the Democratic nomination,
and she really was going after Republican opponents. In fact, on “SNL”
last night, I thought it was interesting, they went back and brought the
2008 Hillary and the president – let me show you what they did last night.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hillary from 2008.






UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You changed your hair.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, yes, well, people said I should, so I did.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Even if you beat Bernie, aren`t you worried about the
Republicans? Who is their front-runner?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I will tell you but only if you grab on to something
to brace yourself because you`re going to hit the efen (ph) floor.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I will be fine. Just tell me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. You need to hold on to something.





UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I told you. Oh, my God, we`re going to be president.



SHARPTON: Is it any surprise that Mrs. Clinton seemed eager last night to
attack Donald Trump?

FRANCO: It`s not a surprise at all. This contest on the Democratic side
in my opinion has been over for some time. Last night sure lie confirmed
it for me. The fact of the matter is that these debates are actually
taking place on Saturday night. Not just this Saturday night but the
remaining debates are Saturdays and Sundays. These are dress rehearsals.
This contest is over. Bernie Sanders will, of course, not be the nominee.
Hillary Clinton is taking every precaution, even having these debates,
really, the campaigns or the DNC on Saturday nights to make sure that if
any mistakes are made, that they are minimized. So that`s very clear to

I really think that Bernie Sanders has even failed in moving Hillary
Clinton much to the left, despite all that`s been said about this. And
last night I think we saw that, Al, when she didn`t take the bait on the
issues of the bank and said I`m a candidate for every American, and
everyone including banks and corporations.

She`s always been a careful candidate. And I think she demonstrated it
last night. She is absolutely focused, as she should be on the Republican
field. I know she knows Donald Trump is not going to be our candidate for
president. I can assure you of that, but he makes nice foil and can – he
will not be the nominee. It`s a nice way to brand the Republicans at Trump
supporters when that won`t be the case in the long run.

SHARPTON: But let me go to there in a minute, April, because –

RYAN: Is he sure about that? Is Donald Trump not –

FRANCO: I`m sure about that.

SHARPTON: He`s saying he`s sure about that. We heard that from –

RYAN: I`m going to hold him to it.

SHARPTON: And the fact that he has become the front-runner so long, April,
and now the Republican party has got to deal with what he represents, it
almost is getting to the point whether if he`s ultimately the nominee or
not, he`s become the symbol of that party and what it stands for.

RYAN: Yes. He`s changed the dynamic in the Republican Party. He has
change dynamic on the political landscape whether it`s Democrat or
Republican. The issues that he is putting out there are important issues
but how he comes about to the end result is the problem.

But Donald Trump has put the issues out there, yes. We give him that. But
the tactics, the divisiveness is a problem. I mean, Reverend Al, I was at
a party last night. There was an ambassador there. I asked them, you
know, what are you hearing around the world globally when it comes to
what`s happening here? Ultimately the conversations come about to Donald
Trump. And around the world, globally, people are upset.

SHARPTON: Yes. We are going to talk a lot more about the Republicans
debate this week.

But, Dana, I think that the other concern is, is Mrs. Clinton and as Adolfo
said, being a safe candidate? Is she doing enough to drive out her base
vote she will need in a general election against the Republican? Because
the danger is that at one level you avoid a lot of problems, and at another
level, are you giving a base you need the reasons to come out and vote and
maybe have to stand in line with new voting laws in some spots?

We`ll talk about all of that. Everybody, stay with me. Lots more ahead.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coming up, the controversial figure at Donald Trump`s
rallies. It`s the “Politics Nation” interview with Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Plus, the new film that asks, are tasers really safe?



SHARPTON: When Donald Trump was back in Phoenix this week, he was
introduced by another controversial figure, Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa
County. He has been a polarizing figure for decades, known for aggressive
immigration policies.

The sheriff set up an open air jail that he called a quote “concentration
camp,” where the heat climbs to over 110 degrees. He forced prisoners to
wear pink underwear. And in 2013, a federal judge found his office guilty
of violating the constitution by racially profiling Latinos. I, myself,
have had public battles with the sheriff over the issue. But now he is
sharing the spotlight with the GOP front-runner, singing Trump`s praises.


SHERIFF JOE ARPAIO, MARICOPA COUNTY: He gets the message across. Think of
that. He says things that a lot of people would like to say, but they
don`t have the guts politically to say it. So – and that`s sad.


SHARPTON: The sheriff also revived one of Trump`s signature issues,
birther conspiracy theories about President Obama.


ARPAIO: If you recall five months ago, I introduced Donald Trump. At that
time I said a few things. We have something in common. The birth
certificate investigation. Which is still going on.


SHARPTON: Joining me now is Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County,
Arizona. Thanks for being here, sheriff.

Does Donald Trump`s surge mean that your immigration views are the
mainstream now in the GOP?

ARPAIO: You know, Al, one thing I did say five months ago that he opened
the door for illegal immigration. You do know that everybody wanted to
keep this quiet. But since he brought it up, all the candidates are
talking about it. Regardless of what the final results are, at least he
opened the door. Maybe Congress will finally do something now, or the next
president will do something, except that all they do is talk.

SHARPTON: Now, I mean, we had our battles. We had our debates but we
always talk. It`s unbelievable to go from the things you were talking
about, talking about people, prisoners walking down the street, immigrants
being paraded around in underwear and all and now this is the mainstream of
the Republican Party? Do you feel like you`re accepted now and that you
are – have arrived as one of the leaders of the party as far as bringing
your ideology front and center?

ARPAIO: Well, I didn`t plan it that way. I was a regional director in
Mexico City, South America. And can go on and on. Texas, Arizona, so I
think I know something about the border. Mainly it was because of the drug
trafficking. And by the way, I`m glad that some politicians, instead of
standing in front of a fence talking about illegal immigration, now they`re
starting to talk about the heroin traffic coming across. That`s a good

But I don`t know. I didn`t do this. I had the authority, my deputies
under ICE. We were acting as immigration officers for two years. And so
I`m not going to take credit for the illegal immigration situation. We had
to do a lot of other things, Al. But now everybody is talking about it.

SHARPTON: Let`s talk about something else you brought up. You said that
the birther conspiracy research that you were doing and that Trump was
doing or supporting is still going on. Are you and Trump still on this
birther thing? Do you really believe the president of the United States
was not born in Hawaii?

ARPAIO: I don`t care where he was born. I said that from day one. I said
that it`s a fraudulent document, government document. That`s all I have
been saying. I don`t care where he was born. That`s not my trust. It`s a
fake document, which if you had a fake document, you would be in jail
tomorrow. That`s all.

SHARPTON: But why hasn`t anybody been able to establish it`s a fake

ARPAIO: We establish it but nobody wants to look at it. They avoid it.
And I have had two major press conferences, two, three years ago. Nobody
will look at it. They don`t even want to hear about it. The only reason I
mentioned Trump is the fact he brought this out a long time ago. He was
the only one that talked about it. Nobody wants to talk about it, al.

SHARPTON: Let me ask you this, sheriff Arpaio. How important in your
judgment will the immigration issue that you have championed on the other
side from us. How is this going to rank in the Republican primaries and in
the general election? How important will it be? Will it be at the top of
the list?

SHARPTON: Well, Al, we have another caveat in this because of what is
going on with the terrorism. You know the controversy going on now are
about people coming into our country to do harm. So I think that`s another
element that connects with border security and people coming into this
country illegally. So just by chance, it`s too bad it happened in
California, but just by chance now we have the different element and all it
does pertain to immigration situation. So that`s not going to go away now.

SHARPTON: Sheriff Joe Arpaio, thank you for your time this morning.

ARPAIO: Thank you. Happy holidays, Al.

SHARPTON: Thank you. Same to you.

ARPAIO: Thank you.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ahead, are tasers really safe? We talk to the director
of an explosive new film that could help change how police treat the

Also, new feuds in the GOP presidential race.

And a widow`s fight to honor a World War II hero.



SHARPTON: Today, there`s a new focus on a tool that police departments
have used for years – tasers. They have been embraced by law enforcement
agencies as a nonlethal method of subduing suspects. Today, they are used
by 97 percent of law enforcement agencies in the U.S. That`s nearly 18,000
police departments. Tasers carry 50,000 volts of electricity.

The company that makes them, Taser International, says they are designed to
temporarily immobilize suspects. Marketing tasers as a safe alternative to


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our long-term mission is we want to make the bullet
obsolete. We`re going to give people choices so good that you don`t have
to kill people to protect yourself.


SHARPTON: But “the Guardian” reports there have been 48 deaths following
the use of a taser. Though establishing a direct link in these kinds of
cases is difficult. And a new documentary “killing them safely” looks at
whether tasers are really safe.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is what the tobacco industry relied on for
decades. You can`t prove tobacco causes cancer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was clear this was taser induced cardiac arrest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody told us this was going to kill people.


SHARPTON: Joining me Nick Berardini is the filmmaker behind the new
documentary “Killing Them Safely.” Thank you for being here, nick.

Reverend Sharpton.

SHARPTON: Nick, are tasers more dangerous than people generally realize?

BERARDINI: Yes, without question. The public understanding and where the
company was so smart was that the public understanding would be that these
were weapons that were alternatives to deadly force which means they would
be used in high-risk scenarios. Now, the police understanding, this goes
back from the very early stages when they were being told in mass was they
were 100 percent safe. They could not cause death. And so, police
officers began using these weapons at lower levels of force because they do
end any confrontation so effectively. Because there`s a risk of death or
serious injury, a lot of the people who end up being killed or injured
should never have had their lives put in jeopardy. And that`s the
disconnection that taser international, the sole manufacturer of these
weapons has been able to play on for years.

SHARPTON: You actually spoke to a vice president of Taser International.
Let me play that.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To the outside observer, we`re using electricity. That
scares people. We`re shocking somebody in the minds of people. We`re
using something that`s foreign. We`ve been trained as kids to be afraid of
electricity and yet medical science has used electricity for benefits from
physical therapy to cardiac defibrillators to pacemakers to him in the
brain. There is also some things electricity can be used safely every day.
It can also be used to cause great harm when it`s used at great levels of
power that we`re nowhere near.


SHARPTON: Does taser international recognize the dangers that risk here?

BERARDINI: Internally, yes. Very much so. Their own research has born-
out these risks.

SHARPTON: Are there national standards on police and how they use or not
use tasers, when and under what circumstances does it become necessary or
even justified use?

BERARDINI: The scary thing about this is that just like a lot of use of
force, you know, police departments are autonomous. So no one is really
keeping track of use of force. No one is keeping track of exactly how many
people are dying except for estimates because the electrical current
doesn`t leave traditional biomarkers with a blunt force object like a baton
or a gunshot. It can be difficult to determine the cause of death for a
medical examiner.

SHARPTON: But one thing that I gathered from the documentary that is
pretty well established is that using tasers does, in many ways, interfere
with police that might normally engage in dialogue or talking down a

BERARDINI: Yes, absolutely.

SHARPTON: It kind of encourages officers to just go for the taser rather
than engage in things that could not have any risk of life at all, like
talking to the suspect.

BERARDINI: Absolutely. You have to understand what the public doesn`t
understand is that, you know, only two percent of arrests in general by
best estimates will use some kind of weapon to effect the arrest. The
weapons are so expensive, that if they couldn`t be used as low levels of
force. It will be hard for departments to justify buying them in mass. So
maybe you would buy some for some SWAT officers or crisis intervention

But most every street officer in a lot of departments is carrying these
things, and they`ve been trained to use force, to use this weapon to use
violence to control any situation, not just dangerous ones. And then
essentially figure out what happens next because there really are no
serious risks.

SHARPTON: Nick Berardini, I thank you for your time. It`s very important
subject. And his documentary “Killing Them Safely” is in theaters now.

BERARDINI: Thanks very much, Mr. Sharpton.

SHARPTON: We reached out to taser for comment about the film. The company
said in part quote “we are disappointed about this highly biased
documentary. And that quote “our technology has made communities
significantly safer and has saved many lives.” For more information, you
can visit their Web site at taser.com.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Next, the Republican primary. Cruz versus Rubio. Bush
versus Trump. Battle lines form in the fight for the GOP nomination.



SHARPTON: Battle lines are forming in the GOP nomination fight, and not
even the holiday spirit can soften things. Ted Cruz with Santa Claus at a
campaign stop. But Cruz wasn`t so jolly when he attacked Marco Rubio who
responded in kind.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Senator Rubio still supports
amnesty and a pathway to citizenship today. For the millions of people who
are here illegally. Senator Rubio`s campaign is desperately now trying to
muddy the waters on immigration.

hard time because he`s not told the truth about his position in the past on
legalization. I think Ted Cruz needs to be clear about what his stance is


SHARPTON: We`re also seeing Jeb Bush trying to jump-start his campaign by
reigniting his feud with Donald Trump.


JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Just one other thing I`ve got to get
this off my chest. Donald Trump say jerk. You cannot insult your way to
the presidency. You cannot disparage women, Hispanics, disabled people.
Who is he kidding? A guy like that should not be the front-running
candidate of our great party. That is not how we win. I gave myself
therapy there. Thank you for allowing myself to do it.


SHARPTON: Things are certainly getting frosty in the GOP. Donald Trump
had to look overseas for some warmth to Vladimir Putin who called Trump
quote “colorful and talented.” And Trump is running with it.


TRUMP: Look, we`re all tough guys. But wouldn`t it be nice if like Russia
and us could knock out an enemy together? Not us bare the full cost
sometimes like. And they have problems. We all have problems. Rush has
got plenty of problems. But I will tell you what. If Putin likes me and
if he thinks I`m a good, smart person, which I hope he believes I am.
Actually, he`s right. I am brilliant. You know that.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ll be right back with a “Politics Nation” panel
looking at new attack strategies in the GOP race.


SHARPTON: It`s the “Star Wars” of politics, the Republican primary. The
biggest fight in the galaxy.

We are back with our panel, April Ryan, Dana Milbank and Adolfo Franco.

Dana, can Jeb Bush find his inner Jedi master and successfully take on
Donald Trump?

MILBANK: The force does not seem to have been with Jeb for very many
months now. I see very little evidence he`s going to get his act back
together. Look, I mean, if we look at the Republican primaries in the
past, everybody sort of has his or her moment in the sun and will have a
little rally. But it`s starting to look like the Jeb Bush rally goes from,
you know, three percent to five percent.

What really needs to happen if they want to stop Trump, and I think that`s
an absolute imperative, is the reasonable candidates in the race, Marco
Rubio, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Jon Kasich, others need to get together
and say, alright, you know, we all got to get behind somebody. The rest of
us have ti exercise out patriotic duty to get out of this race so that we
can make sure that Trump is not representing this party and conservatism.

SHARPTON: But you know, Adolfo, even last night, “SNL” had fun with the
Trump/Bush kind of feud. Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump, I mean, this guy is the chaos candidate. Am I
right? Chaos? Is he for real? No, man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jeb, you`re a very nice man, but you`re basically a
little girl. Folks, this is true. I got hold of Jeb`s birth certificate
and full disclose his real name is Jebrah.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is not true.


SHARPTON: I mean, and Bush call Donald Trump a jerk in real life, Adolfo.
I mean, is this going to be helpful?

FRANCO: Well, let me say something, if I can, Al. I just want, as the
Republican on here on MSNBC, I want to say something about the Democratic
debate and then I`ll answer the question quickly.

I hope that the press, we have Dana here from “the Washington Post” and
MSNBC, press Hillary Clinton on the supposedly ISIS tapes and so forth or
videos that picture Donald Trump. I haven`t seen any evidence of that. I
think that may be a little exaggerated. So I think I hope that happens.

Secondly, she pressed Bernie Sanders on regime changes, you voted for that
in Libya. Is that a success what has happened in Libya? I think that will
be something for Republicans to talk about. So I hope these things are
brought up during the course of the next few weeks.

On the Republican front, we had a little mini Bush bounce. I agree with
Dana on that. I think unfortunately for Governor Bush, it might be too
little, too late. I would have hoped that would have happened much earlier
in the process. It`s a little late in the game to do that. That patriotic
duty, Dana, that you referred to, the voters will take care of that.

MILBANK: I hope you`re right.

FRANCO: Very, very quickly.

SHARPTON: Well, let me ask you. I see you shaking your head on that,
April, after Adolfo reprimanded us about what we ought to be –

MILBANK: He is suggesting.

SHARPTON: It`s Sunday before Christmas. I`ll let that go. But, April,
you are nodding there.

RYAN: Well, there are issues out there. I mean, you know, in whether you
support one candidate or the other, you have to understand that the issues
out there, particularly when it comes to ISIS. ISIS is a huge threat. And
you need to find out more. You really need to find out where folks stand.
He is right about that now. If there`s an agenda behind what he`s asking,
that`s another thing, but there are legitimate issues out there. You want
to find out more about where Hillary Clinton stands. You know, she said
some things last night that you can dig into.

But also what about the Republican side? You want to hear more about them?
I mean, there was something that was blaring last night that – well, this
week, that was missing on the Republican side at the debate. They didn`t
talk about black lives matter. They didn`t talk about urban issues, and
that`s been missing on the Republican side. And I think you should go and
have them pressed about that as well. If you want to –


FRANCO: April, there`s a difference between an omission, I take your
point, and a commission. When Donald Trump said that people were cheering
after 9/11, he got enormous, well deserved scrutiny from MSNBC, “the
Washington Post,” every news media. When Mrs. Clinton made this comment,
maybe I missed it, I have seen very little reaction, clearly from the
moderators on ABC yesterday and from anybody else to say Mrs. Clinton,
where is the evidence of that?

RYAN: We`re not even 24 hours.

SHARPTON: We`re not even barely 12 hours.

RYAN: Right.

SHARPTON: Let me ask you something else, Adolfo.


SHARPTON: When you see Donald Trump embracing the compliments of Putin, I
don`t know any Democratic can survive that. I mean, couldn`t this

FRANCO: Well, I keep thinking something is going to backfire. I think
that is so outrageous to suggest we would have a partnership with Russia on
– when we have such stark differences in terms of values, principles and
real geopolitical objectives. That doesn`t mean we`re looking for a
confrontation with Russia. We need to cooperate with China and Russia when
we can. Those are societies that are completely different than ours.

But, obviously, Donald Trump is completely unqualified to be president.
Even in the Republican debate when he was asked about the nuclear iPod
strategy, he had no idea what the question was because he doesn`t know what
that was. So I think he has demonstrated again he is unqualified. For
some reason the American people seem to look beyond that.

SHARPTON: And you`re the Republican saying that.

But Dana, George Bush, “The New York Times” reports that his brother,
former president George Bush, is now reassuring donors about Jeb Bush
telling them he is quote “upbeat about Jeb`s chances and now considering
going on the campaign trail to help him out.” Is this a shift in strategy
or a sign of desperation, Dana?

MILBANK: Well, I mean it would be a shift in strategy but they`ve tried
everything else, and it hasn`t worked. So I suspect this one either. And
George W. also said his brother is peaking at just the right moment. So he
hit that crucial five percent just in time.

I hope Adolfo is right that Republican voters will take care of that and
get rid of Trump on their own. I am optimistic but it would be clear if
they had a clear alternative and it wasn`t a bunch of these guys with four
or five or six percent. And there was - if there is – I think of
Republican voters are better than Donald Trump and if they have a serious
alternative, they`ll go with that guy.

RYAN: Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: Well, we will see what happens. Got go.

April Ryan and Dana Milbank and Adolfo Franco. Thanks for being here.
Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

RYAN: Merry Christmas.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Still ahead, a widow`s effort to honor a World War II



SHARPTON: We close this morning with a simple question. Is it ever too
late to honor a hero? Waverly Woodson fought in World War II as part of
the only black combat unit at D-day. Now a new book is telling his story,
and his widow is fighting to make sure his legacy is not forgotten.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: June 6th, 1944, dark. Jerry`s steel pill boxes on the
cliff sliced us in two like a butcher`s knife.


SHARPTON: The fight is on to honor a forgotten part of American history.
Waverly Woodson was a medic in World War II. A member of the only black
combat unit at D-day. Woodson took fire that day and was hit with
shrapnel. It didn`t stop him. For 30 straight hours on Omaha beach, he
pulled out bullets, he amputated a foot, he resuscitated four drowning men.
He treated hundreds of American troops, black and white.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The number of casualties on Omaha beach was phenomenal.
We`d never seen that many or even thought that there would be that many
casualties. The guy was with my who was a tank man, he was standing beside
me and said what is that over there? I said it looks like a ship. Are
they dead or alive? They`re dead. Oh, my God.


SHARPTON: Later a commander would recommend Woodson for the Medal of
Honor. He didn`t receive it. In fact, for 50 years, not a single African-
American who served in World War II received the award. Waverly Woodson
died in 2005. But his story is getting new attention. His widow is
leading the charge for a posthumous medal of honor. A new book tells his
story and that of his battalion. “Forgotten – the untold story of D-day`s
black heroes at home and at war.”

Joining me now is Joann Woodson, the widow of Waverly Woodson and Linda
Hervieux who writes about Waverly Woodson in her new book “Forgotten.”

First of all, thank you both for being here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you for having us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s my pleasure.

SHARPTON: Joann, your husband`s actions were truly heroic. I mean truly.
What do you want people to know about what Waverly Woodson did that day?

JOANN WOODSON, WIDOW OD WAVERLY WOODSON: I really would like the world to
know what a great man he was. He was a very generous man, and he really
was dedicated to anything that he wanted to do. And he was always giving a
helping hand to something. And to think he interrupted his education in
early part of his life to get in the army and do the things that he did.

SHARPTON: Linda, you`ve written in this book, and it`s very, very
graphically written about how these men, Waverly and those that were in his
unit, were absolutely heroes, but you say forgotten.

LINDA HERVIEUX, AUTHOR, FORGOTTEN: What happened over time because these
men were well known in their day, was somehow they got dropped from the
story of D-day and most history books don`t mention them, movies don`t show
them. And I felt that it was time to look into this because I was curious
as to why I had never heard about them.

SHARPTON: I think there was a letter found by you, Linda, recommending him
for Medal of Honor. What happened to that?

HERVIEUX: That`s buried in the archives in the Truman library. There had
been at the time, Waverly Woodson was a big star in his day. Newspapers
wrote about him. He was dubbed number one invasion hero by a local
newspaper in Pennsylvania. And he was known coast to coast. He was on
radio shows, he was interviewed, and then somehow a recommendation to be
nominated for the Medal of Honor went missing. And a piece of paper, a
sole piece of paper exists that shows he was a candidate. And, you know,
it`s not too late. I mean, we give posthumous medals in this country.

SHARPTON: Joann, your husband a few years ago, as she was saying, did do
some interviews. He talked on camera about the events that day at Omaha
beach. With your permission, I want to play to you what he said.


SHARPTON: Let me show you.


WAVERLY WOODSON, WORLD WAR II HERO: The mortar landed on the other side of
that truck and the shrapnel and stuff from the mortar shell hit me in the
left leg, as well as the right leg. Being in a segregated army at that
time, when we actually combined our resources with the white troops there
was no such thing as segregated because the people who were wounded, and if
you were a medic, they don`t care exactly who – what the color of the
person was or his skin or anything like that. Only thing they wanted was


SHARPTON: And you know, what was amazing to me about listening to that,
Joann, he is in a segregated army. They couldn`t use the same barracks,
facilities and all. But yet, when they were wounded, there was no
segregation. And there was no bitterness by your husband. There was no
resenting their different standing in terms of a – having the same rights
or access as others. They said all people wanted was help. And it seemed
like all he wanted to do was serve and provide that help.

WOODSON: That`s correct. That`s the type of person he was.

SHARPTON: I think that`s why this is so compelling that they get a Medal
of Honor. They were dealing with the enemy abroad and those that really
discriminated blatantly against them at home.

HERVIEUX: Right. That`s exactly what happened. Waverly Woodson said
that, you know, on Omaha beach they didn`t care about the color of my skin.
And he was haunted by the cries of men calling doc, doc, can you help me?
And you know, we don`t hear often about what happened on June 7th on Omaha
beach. But on June 7th where Waverly Woodson was still working, he was
still working to save men.

SHARPTON: Joann Woodson and Linda Hervieux, thank you both for your time.

And again, Linda Hervieux`s book is “Forgotten, the untold story of D-day`s
black heroes at home and at war.”

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



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