PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton, Transcript 1/24/2016
Show: POLITICS NATION
Date: January 24, 2016
Guest: Hari Sevugan; Sheldon Neeley
REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Good morning. Welcome to “Politics Nation.”
I`m Al Sharpton.
Big news this morning from the presidential race and from the health crisis
in Flint, Michigan. I`ll have that coming up.
But let`s start with Richard Lui who has full coverage of the aftermath of
this massive blizzard here on the east coast - Richard.
RICHARD LUI, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Rev.
Yes, lots to talk about in terms about the storm. We will talk to you as
little bit later in the hour. The east coast is waking up this morning to
record setting or near record setting amounts of snow. Yesterday`s massive
blizzard that dumped as much as three feet of snow in some places finally
taking off overnight. We can now confirm at least 20 storm related
fatalities this morning, unfortunately. The travel ban in New York City
has now been lifted after almost 27 inches of snow fell in central park
just shy of the record there.
Also this morning, many major airports on the east coast effectively
closed. Over 60,000 people still do not have power in places on the east
For more we`re joined now by NBC meteorologist Bill Karins.
And almost that record, Bill.
BILL KARINS, NBC NEWS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. Some areas did and some areas
were very close. Historic storm, maybe once in every ten, 20 year type
event. This huge blizzard is now heading towards the Canadian Maritimes,
the last of the snow ended on Cape Cod. So we are done with storm. And it
is good deal of clearing behind it. So it is going to be a Sunny day for
the clean-up which helps with the road.
The only problem we still have to watch is the high tide cycle. We are now
going through. Coastal flood warnings from areas out of Roanoke all the
way back to coastal areas of New Jersey and even here in Cape Cod. These
are the high tide times this morning, 8:25 a.m., 7:48. So a lot of these
are already past. And it wasn`t horrible. We do have another high tide
cycle this evening that will still have some high water. But we are not
pointing to be worse than what we saw yesterday anyway. So whatever damage
was done yesterday maybe just take a little longer to clean up because of
the high water today and tonight.
The wind gusts are not that bad. Couple of gusts in the 28 three-mile
frame. So people out there shoveling, at least you`re not dealing with
blowing and drifting of the snow. But the wind chill values are cold. So
this is not a fun day to be shoveling out there. Wind chills, I mean, in
the single digits to the teens. They will get better this afternoon as the
winds die off. And I`m sure the kids will be out there enjoying it and
So let`s give you and show you the historical impacts of it. Baltimore as
far as the big city goes that highest total 29.2 inches. New York right
behind that. Philadelphia over 20 inches. D.C. almost got up to 20
inches. A lot of people arguing this total and that this wasn`t measured
correctly. But that is a different story for a different day. And even
Boston got into it last night with six inches of snow. So let`s take you
from the cities up the coastline to see how does that range historically.
Washington, D.C., this goes as your third greatest all time snowstorm in
the beltway right there at Reagan national airport. Dulles, by the way had
29 inches of snow. It was very impressive. New York and Baltimore, you
set your all-time record. So Allentown, Pennsylvania and Baltimore, two of
the big cities that saw their biggest snowfall ever measured, 29.2. And
you crushed your old record from 20 from 2003.
Philadelphia you didn`t get the top three but ended up number four with 22
inches of snow. I mean, this is how historic the storm was. You go all
the way up I-95, New York City, by the way, one-tenth of an inch away from
tying your all-time record. So we were very close. Second place for
central park. So you get the picture here. This will go down maybe as the
third possibly fourth greatest snowfall ever in the mid-Atlantic region as
far as impacts.
LUI: And Bill, you were there for all three of those, I believe, even
going back to `47. But we are here in 2006 and that was a big one.
KARINS: I know that one as well.
LUI: I do as well. On the note, though, of the cold weather, is there
concern and what are you watching in terms of ice? We were talking about
that last night, the Carolinas, black ice that concern was this morning.
KARINS: Yes. There is no more snow or ice in the forecast over the next
seven days which is nice. But the temperatures, we are going to get in
this pattern here where actually going to warm up. There is no storms
coming. But as we go back to school and back to work, now we have this
huge snow banks and we are going to have temperatures in most areas.
This is New York City but it is pretty representative of the mid-Atlantic
region are going to go above freezing during the day and then at night, the
overnight lows are going to drop down into the 20s and in to the teens in
some cases. So, we are going to go with the pattern here of the freezing,
refreezing and it is a good bet that it will be hard to find salt in any
hardware stores in the week ahead. This could be using a lot of it, not
just from today`s clean-up, but when we get the melting and the refreezing
every single day, people will be throwing salt constantly over the next
week. But it is better than another storm, Richard.
And we stay warm. It looks like even until the end of the month beginning
of February. It is nice mild pattern for the east. They deserve it after
LUI: All right. The sunrises on a new day for us certainly on the east
Thank you, Bill Karins. Thank you.
Records also falling in the Washington, D.C. metro area as Bill Karins was
intimating. Baltimore breaking their all-time record with 29 inches. It
looked like that. Easily doubling the previous record. Some parts of
suburban Maryland getting more than three feet of snow. The massive
blizzard also blanketing the nation`s capital, accumulations at nearly two
feet there. Reagan, Dulles airport, closed today.
Let`s go to NBC`s Luke Russert who has been there for the last three days.
And I`m hoping you`re starting to see some slush. It maybe a little too
early but, of course, that would be good, right, Luke?
LUKE RUSSERT, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well the slush would be a welcome
sight, Richard. However, it`s not going to come at least probably not
until early next week because we had freezing temperatures last night and
that`s really phase two of this storm process is the cleanup process.
Now, a lot of the main streets and arteries in and out of the city here in
Washington, they have been plowed and they have been continuously plowed
and that`s a good thing. And you`re starting to see more of those trucks
move this morning. However, all the side streets, many of them which
actually serve as crucial arteries to get around especially for life long
residents who want to avoid the traffic from the Virginia and Maryland
people, those are still very much blocked up and have not been plowed. And
I have spoken to some residents all through the neighborhood throughout
different wards who said look, it is going to be a really difficult time
for me to get my car out on Monday morning if, in fact, I`m supposed to try
and get to work.
So that`s the big question, Richard, is what will be open on Monday,
tomorrow. Will federal government be open? Will schools be open right
now? It is unclear.
What I can tell you is that public transportation will be closed in
Washington through tonight. Still unclear when exactly the metro system or
our train system will be up and running tomorrow. However, despite all
this, there is a silver lining. We talked a lot yesterday about the power,
through fear of power outages because of this snow and how so much of this
city is built around trees and old above ground power lines. Thankfully
they did not have a lot of power outages in D.C. proper and the surrounding
areas. So that`s good.
Also, a lot of folks have made the best of this. You saw pictures of
people sledding on Capitol Hill. People out with their dogs. That`s all
fine and dandy. However, the police chief and the mayor saying, look,
please, please, please still stay home. Please stay off the roads. We
need you out of the way so that we can have as much flexibility to plow and
so no one is in danger.
What is better, though, is it unlike yesterday, if you were driving down
the street you might not be able to see a block or two in front of you, now
it`s pretty clear. So at least that is safer for those out walking.
LUI: Something you know well here, Luke, and that is government. What
does this mean for Monday when doors theoretically would be opening? Are
they going to be shut down still?
RUSSERT: Yes. Well, that`s the good question. I think that is something
they are still trying to figure out. They go back and forth on that.
However, if I were to give you that answer right now just looking around,
I`m here at freedom plaza in the middle of downtown D.C. where so many
government buildings are, streets are not really passable especially if
you`re trying to get in and a lot of workers in Maryland and Virginia,
where a lot of federal workers live.
Also, the metro system is not working. You pretty much say goodbye to the
possibility of folks getting here in the city being up and running at a 100
percent. I can tell you Congress is not slated to come back until Tuesday.
We`ll see if they make that. Probably because they are slated to come back
Tuesday evening and they do a really good job of clearing things out over
But look. The airports today, they are still closed. So they got to get
those back up and running all those runways for those members of Congress
to get back.
LUI: The difference is that sun over your right shoulder that we are
seeing hitting the trees and that`s a welcomed sight.
RUSSERT: A welcomed sight.
LUI: That`s right. For your and many other Washingtonians. Thank you so
much, Luke. We will talk to you a little bit later.
RUSSERT: Thanks, Richard.
LUI: One footnote there on an area very close by to Luke, and that is
Virginia. Virginia state police, as you know, we were watching the number
of crashes that they had to handle. Yesterday the number when I was
speaking with you on a Saturday was about 1023 if I remember properly.
Virginia state police 20 minutes ago saying they have handled 1,410 traffic
crashes, 2,040 disabled vehicles since Friday. So they are still updating
that. And that underlines why they wanted folks to stay home because of
those potential crashes. Of course we continue to watch what`s happening
there in the D.C. metropolitan area.
New York City is where we take you now. The travel ban, which was
instituted from 2:30 p.m. on a Saturday then lifted one hour and nine
minutes ago, getting around the city not easy as streets and sidewalks
still covered in mounds of snow. Those drift, a live shot here of Times
Square. You can see that the plows were working overnight. Cars just
starting to trickle back down on to the ground.
Adam Reiss is live in Times Square with the latest how the big apple is
And I have to tell you here, Adam, I got on the road at exactly 7:01:00
a.m. And there was one taxi driver that said I`m going to turn on my meter
as soon as that ban was lifted.
ADAM REISS, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: It`s unbelievable, Richard. This city
slowly come back to life. Quite a sight to be seen here. First the cars.
You were one of them. Coming back on the road. Then trains and the buses
trying to come back online. The airports, unfortunately, not so much.
We`re going to see of hundreds of delays and cancellations. We`re already
seeing that as a lot of that equipment tries to get back here into New York
City so they can get going again, hopefully by later today or tomorrow
Snow totals, 26.8 inches in central park. As you mentioned earlier a tenth
of an inch away from that record, 30.5 inches at Kennedy airport. The
scene here last night was really a ghost town, a sight to be seen. People
walking through the streets, enjoying themselves. Most people heeding the
call to stay indoors and stay safe. And that kept the streets pretty much
cleared so they could clear some 6,000 miles of streets that need to be
cleared off by today.
Now, unfortunately, there were five deaths related to the storm. Three of
them people shoveling snow. So as you get out there today, shoveling your
walk, shoveling your driveway, whatever it may be here in New York City,
maybe you have some stairs to shovel be very careful. This snow is wet and
heavy - Richard.
LUI: Adam, yes, we are now understanding overnight that new death total
for the storm is 20. It`s an unfortunate occurrence as we see in every one
of these major storms. On the flip side as you reported yesterday many
folks out there in central park enjoying themselves and getting out and
seeing some snow that they haven`t seen before.
REISS: Yes. It was quite a scene. We saw sledders, skiers, people with
snow shoes, I saw people in shorts and t-shirts. We even saw people on
bikes in central park, people really wanted to take advantage of this,
really, maybe once in a lifetime for some who never saw snow like this
before. A lot of tourist here in Times Square today saying from Argentina
and Greece, Oslo, they really enjoyed it. Now everybody wants to get back
to where they were supposed to be and enjoy themselves today as they make
this big clean up.
You see these guys behind me, lots of shovels, lots of snow blowers, people
trying to clean their walks and driveways today, trying to get back online.
LUI: Adam Reiss, after a long day yesterday, 18 hours now back with a
crispy orange jacket, it looks a lot and it looks a lot fresher on this
cleanup day in New York City. Thank you so much my friend.
And while residents of Washington, Philadelphia and New York and many other
major cities on the east coast are digging out, folks along the jersey
shore, they are drying out or at least trying to do that. We`ll go live to
the jersey shore for the latest.
SHARPTON: Welcome back. The storm may have shut down much of the east
coast, but it hasn`t slowed down the presidential race.
Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg is considering an independent run
depending on who the nominees are from the two major parties. The “New
York Times” says he is willing to spend a billion dollars of his own money
on the campaign.
Meanwhile, today Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio are enjoying endorsements
from “the Des Moines Register” in Iowa. And Donald Trump is raising
eyebrows with this comment from the campaign trail.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I could stand in the middle of
Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn`t lose any voters. OK. It`s
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: But the big story on the GOP side is still the feud between
Trump and Ted Cruz.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If as a voter you think what
we need is more Republicans in Washington to cut a deal with Harry Reid and
Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, then I guess Donald Trump is your guy.
TRUMP: You know, his new line of attack is that I have become
establishment. Give me a break. Let`s get to be a little establishment.
We got to get things done, folks, OK. Believe me. Don`t worry. We are
going to make such great deals, but at a certain point you can`t not get
along. We have to get along with people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: On the Democratic side, Clinton and Bernie Sanders are rolling
out tougher attacks as well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m not interested in ideas
that sound good on paper.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Secretary
Clinton defeat Mr. Trump by nine points. We beat him by 23 points.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST, THE SITUATION ROOM: Are you the establishment?
CLINTON: Is that elected to office a lot longer than I have. He has been
in the Congress for 25. And so I`ll let your viewers make their own
SANDERS: I know we`re a week out of election and Clinton people will try
to spin these things.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Joining me now from Chicago is Hari Sevugan, former spokesman
for Obama for America and former national press secretary for the DNC.
Thank you for being with me, Hari.
HARI SEVUGAN, FORMER SPOKESMAN, OBAMA FOR AMERICA: Hi, Reverend. How are
SHARPTON: Good. This comment by Donald Trump that people will stay with
me, my supporters even if I got in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shot
somebody or shoot somebody, it`s pretty out there even for Donald Trump.
SEVUGAN: Well, I think anything is out there. I don`t think anything is
too out there for Donald Trump. The thing is, you know, who is his
audience here? I think for most people, I think probably most of the
electorate, general the election electorate see something like that are
completely turned off and alienated. But in Republican primary electorate
I that probably goes over very well. I think it`s that kind of stuff that
has him in a commanding position in the polls.
SHARPTON: Well, doesn`t say a lot for his appreciation for the mentality
of his supporters. But he also said that he would welcome Michael
Bloomberg into the race. Any effect on the current race you think because
he says he would love to see Bloomberg in the race.
SEVUGAN: Yes. It would be an all billionaire race. Listen, I think, you
know, if Bloomberg gets in the race he is going to have to explain in an
era of sort of populace anger why billionaires should be elected president.
I think that is going to be the fundamental question for him. I think it
is going to be a similar question for Trump and he seems to sort of answer
it with his anger.
But I think in the end what we`re seeing, you know, with a Bloomberg
candidacy or potential Bloomberg candidacy is real a result of the
polarization of the parties. On one hand you have sort of this populace
anger from Donald Trump and Ted Cruz and on the other you see a rise in
sort of the anger in populism you see in the support of senator Sanders and
that gives rise to something like an independent candidacy that Michael
Bloomberg might present.
SHARPTON: Now, on the other side, we also see Glenn Beck has now come out
in support of Ted Cruz. Does that kind of, or is it an attempt to balance
out Sarah Palin`s endorsement of Donald Trump?
SEVUGAN: Yes. I don`t know. I mean, it`s funny. The Republican Party, I
have given up trying to figure them out. But to the degree that anyone
can, I think endorsements don`t mean a lot. You know, Marco Rubio just got
endorsed by “the Des Moines Register.” I don`t think that means a lot for
him. In fact I think it probably a negative, you know, sort of
establishment endorsement candidacies aren`t really helping and in fact I
think are going create some sort of push back. You know I think Sarah
Palin`s endorsement of Trump again serves two purposes. For the Republican
primary electorate probably great. For a general election audience
SHARPTON: Now talking about endorsements, Jeb Bush came out with a new
political ad featuring his mother and Donald Trump immediately comes out
saying needing mommy to help him. Kind of making this what could be an
effective ad for long time Republican voters, backfired with the Trump
SEVUGAN: Well, the irony there, Reverend Sharpton, is Donald Trump`s
entire career is based on his daddy helping him. I think that`s pretty
much the only line the Bush campaign would offer back or should.
SHARPTON: Now what about “the National Review`s” attack on Trump? It`s a
very respected conservative magazine journal for years. Will it have any
SEVUGAN: Yes. I think the impact is going to be positive for Donald
Trump. Again, I think, you know - listen, here`s the thing with Donald
Trump. Donald Trump is the monster that the GOP establishment for the last
seven years under the Obama presidency has raised and fostered and now it`s
coming back to eat them. They are vitriol, their anger that they stoked,
the brinksmanship that they engaged in is all coming back at them now in
the form of Donald J. Trump.
The irony here is the very thing that they can use, the very institutions
that they can use to discredit him, political leadership and the media, are
the institutions that they spent the last seven years discrediting. So
“the National Review” comes out, that`s an establishment attack on Donald
J. Trump and that just plays right into his message.
SHARPTON: You know, Hari, that is what has struck my attention a lot.
It`s like establishment. That word has become like a bad word now. You
know, the last time everyone aspired to take over the establishment. Now,
no one wants to be called the establishment.
SEVUGAN: Yes. I look like it. Again, this is part of the anger that`s
been stoked in the last seven years. And you know, the way that`s playing
out in this race is essentially anybody, including “the National Review” or
“the Des Moines Register,” especially on the Republican side getting behind
a candidate is probably not a good thing for that candidacy.
SHARPTON: Hari Sevugan, thank you so much.
I`ll be back in a few minutes with a look at the health crisis in Flint,
But first we`ll go back to our storm coverage with a live report on how the
airlines are digging out.
LUI: Starting this with some pictures at a supermarket in Bel-Air,
Maryland, north of Baltimore. Firefighters say the roof there collapsing
under the weight of the snow. No one was hurt. More than 20 inches of
snow fell near Bel-Air and that`s what many homes will be looking at
throughout the day today. Because of that weight of snow itself. Cubic
foot somewhere around 15 pounds. The question is how much snow is on your
roof and can your roof support that.
Airports also across the northeast looking at similar problems. But on the
ground themselves, rather, they are still effectively closed today because
of the storm. Nearly 10,000 flights cancelled since Friday and many more
expected to be cancelled today. And in fact, that number that we`ve been
looking at now has gone to some 12,000 flights has been cancelled.
Kristen Dahlgren, you`re there at LaGuardia. And I see not much has
changed, my friend, unfortunately for a lot of folks.
KRISTEN DAHLGREN, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean still very quiet
here. We`re hearing from American airlines no flights out today from any
of the New York airports. I spoke with some agents at United. They said
no flights here out of LaGuardia. They may have some limited service out
of Newark later on today.
But it`s a tough situation here at the airport. Let me show you over here.
And Richard, these are probably the same people that were here when I was
speaking with you yesterday. Now the airlines don`t have to do anything
for you if it`s, you know, an act of nature. A snowstorm they are not to
bring gated to get you a hotel room, to give you a coupon for food or
anything. So these people say they have nothing. They have got no help at
all. Nobody has come by to give them a blanket or pillow. They have been
sleeping on these hard wooden chairs. They don`t know when they are going
to get out of here. Many of them very confused about what`s going on. And
I actually just saw somebody trying to ask a JetBlue agent as she arrived
to work what was going on. She actually told them get out of my face. So
they are not even being treated well. It really is just a terrible
A lot of them also at this point are out of money. They have been
traveling. Some have come in from overseas. They landed at JFK. They
came here. One woman said she has money from Cameroon but she doesn`t have
any dollars to spend at all. So she has been here for two days and is now
out of money. Can`t afford to buy something to eat, can`t afford to rent a
car to get back. She was worried about losing a job, had to call her boss
and explain what was going on and there was no way she wasn`t going to get
out today. She wasn`t going to be at work tomorrow. So really, just a
tough situation for a lot of people stranded here and I imagine this is
happening at a lot of airports around the country.
LUI: Have you heard anything, Kristen, in terms of that calculus that you
and I were talking about yesterday, how these airlines now, you know, have
to put together these some 12,000 flights and try to catch up if they do
open today and get back to functioning today or tomorrow morning?
DAHLGREN: Right. So think about the numbers. You have, you know, 12,000
flights and what does a flight have 100, 200, on bigger flights 300 people.
All of those people need to be rebooked. And so, it really is just a
difficult situation. And then think about that all of the airlines sent
their planes out of the New York area, out of the D.C. area to avoid
getting snowed in and have to dig out all those planes. So now they need
to bring the planes back in and they need to get people on them. All of
the flights for say tomorrow and Tuesday already have passengers that had
booked for those days, you know, a long time ago.
So now, they are just working with a few seats they have to fit people in.
It really is just sort of a chess game trying to fit all the people. I
imagine all the planes going out later this week will be jam packed and
it`s going to take several days, you know, if not a week or more to get
things back to normal in the system.
LUI: Yes. And Kristen, it`s going to be one of those days where the noise
of airplanes will be welcomed by many as they try to get the stuff back
into the airports like LaGuardia where you`re at.
Thank you so much, Kristen Dahlgren.
DAHLGREN: That`s right. You bet.
LUI: All right. We`ll have much more on the blizzard of 2016 throughout
this hour including the latest on the coastal flooding along the jersey
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`m very proud of what I
have done as president. But the only job that`s more important to me is
the job of father. And I know that if I was a parent up there, I would be
beside myself that my kids` health could be at risk.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: President Obama on the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. He has
now declared a state of emergency. Nearly two years ago the city switched
water sources to save money. And wound up exposing residents to lead
Michigan`s governor has come under fire for his handling of the crisis.
This past week, he apologized. And on “Morning Joe” Friday said there were
major failures in the system.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was people being much too technical, not having the
culture of asking the common sense questions, and then the tone of how
things were done. What is so frustrating and makes you so angry about the
situation is you have a handful of quote-unquote “experts” that were career
civil service people that made terrible decisions, in my view, and we have
to live with the consequences with that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: But there are still many questions about who is responsible?
Emails newly released by the governor show officials blowing off complaints
from residents. Now those residents are being heard. Like this mother
whose 1-year-old son tested positive for lead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can`t do nothing about it but continue to buy
bottled water with money that I do not have to buy it. They don`t want us
to take a shower in the water, but I have to wash my kids up. And that`s
the only way I`ll be able to wash them up is with that water. It makes it
real hard. For the ones that`s low-income and trying to make it out here.
It makes it real hard for us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Joining me now is state representative Sheldon Neeley, a
Democrat who represented Flint in the Michigan house. Thanks for being
STATE REP. SHELDON NEELEY (D), MICHIGAN: Thank you for having me.
SHARPTON: Representative, Governor Snyder blaming civil servants for all
of this. What`s your response to that?
NEELEY: Well, it seems like this governor is much more about the cover up
versus the cleanup of the problem that is at his hands. He has to own
this. He has not talked about the emergency manager law here in the state
of Michigan. It is (INAUDIBLE) where scripts democracy and this is a by-
product of that type of law.
SHARPTON: Now, the emergency management law for people around the country
know is where the governor appoints an emergency manager who really
supersedes the power of the elected mayor and local city council people, is
NEELEY: That is right. It`s an anti-democracy law. No other state in the
country in American has this. It`s what I call a bastardized law because
it has no mother or no father in a country where we have democracy, where
you have an appointed person that comes in and it strips all elected
leaders of their power and makes unilateral decisions for whatever reason,
Snyder has not owned up to this. He didn`t sign this law one time into
law, he did it twice. And you know, the people of Michigan voted it down
and he went back in and reinstituted it where people could not even have a
say so how they should be governed in their local communities.
SHARPTON: Now, let me connect this to this water crisis and this lead
poisoning of children. It was the appointed emergency manager by Governor
Snyder that really made the decision that was kind of rubber stamped by the
city council, but he made the decision on this water transfer, is that not
NEELEY: That`s correct. This governor, you know, people of Michigan
wanted truth, transparency and accountability from him. But he has been
disingenuous in his words and his apology. He hired a press firm to help
cover up this tragedy that happened in this American city. Right now we
have 200 troops on the ground inside the city of Flint. We have Red Cross
moving through the city of Flint taking bottled waters to families.
You know, he made this American city a third world country. It looks like
a third world country in my home town, my hometown. It`s terrible what
this governor has done. We can`t even get a fresh drink of water in a
state where we`re surrounded by fresh water.
SHARPTON: Now the – when you look at the population, the statistics of
Flint, 57 percent black, 41 percent live below the poverty line. If this
was a wealthy suburb, would we even be having this conversation,
NEELEY: I believe not. I think the sense of urgency would have been
bigger. This governor with his emergency management act I want to keep
revisiting that because cities throughout the state of Michigan, urban
communities with a high ratio of African-Americans and poverty stricken
city, Detroit, Pontiac and Flint have been stricken with this emergency
manager virus. That`s proven but not successful.
SHARPTON: But he didn`t do it in other cities where there were wealthier
and whiter. They didn`t get emergency managers appointed by this governor?
NEELEY: No they did not, even though they face financial issues in those
other communities where they didn`t have a high concentration of African-
Americans or minorities these communities were not stricken that particular
virus of emergency management.
SHARPTON: Let me ask you one other question. The governor released a lot
of emails this week. He was pressured to release it. But look at this
one. It`s marked high importance, but the entire email is completely
blacked out and redacted. And you say one of your emails about the water
was in that batch of released emails too. Are we getting the whole story
here Representative Neeley?
NEELEY: No, we`re not getting the whole story and we need other
investigative entities to come in. We need the federal government to come
in and take a look at the level of culpability and those that committed,
the crimes being committed on the residents inside the city of Flint right
now. It is really hard, Reverend Sharpton, to figure out who is our allies
and who is accessories of crimes committed against this great American
SHARPTON: Now, when we look at the fact, I mean we`re talking about people
that are drinking water that causes lead poisoning. We just showed a young
child, seniors. I mean where does the humanity kick in? Where does the
concern? You talk about people that could have permanent damage here.
This is unthinkable in 2016 in America.
NEELEY: Right. You got to think about this governor. When we work
together at the capital in Lansing, Michigan, I worked one building away
from him. I have not yet even met the governor. I have shaken his hand
once. He has not dome meet to have a discussion or a dialogue about the
community which I represent, a community that says he is going to help fix
this. He has not even have the courtesy and to give me any conversation
about what`s going to happen.
The plan that`s on the ground now is not sustainable. What will happen in
two weeks when the American public may turn the page on this? We still
going to have residents there that will suffering through permanent effects
through this crisis that we are having. He`s just trying to run out the
clock on this. And we want to encourage everybody to stay focused on this
American city because if this can happen in the city of Flint this can
happen anywhere. And we want to make sure this governor is held
accountable for his actions and let`s not get caught up with the red
herrings that his PR company is throwing out so he can absolve himself of
SHARPTON: Michigan state representative Sheldon Neeley, thank you for your
And Rachel Maddow will host a special town hall from Flint, Michigan on
Wednesday at 9:00 p.m. eastern.
Still ahead we`ll go back to our storm coverage with a live report on how
the New Jersey shore is doing this morning.
LUI: If you`re just joining us this hour I want to get you up to date in
terms of what we know right now. 8:45 on the east coast, 20 deaths, that`s
grown from 17 last night, that`s up by three confirmed so far. We also
understand there are concerns of yet more flooding. They are watching that
and icy roads too.
Now, the travel ban that was put in place yesterday in New York City, that
has been lifted. Most outdoor subway service will be restored by 9:00 a.m.
eastern. Underground trains never stopped running in central park.
Specifically the measurement there, 27 inches, almost snow falling
yesterday. Shy of an all-time record 26.8 is what the actual number was.
Hundreds of flights cancelled today. Actually thousands is more properly
said. And some are seeing major coastal flooding as well as we look up and
down the east coast. All that this hour, 45 minutes in case you`re just
joining us. Now New Jersey shore residents they don`t deal with major
flooding and power outages this morning.
NBC`s Rehema Ellis is live in Point Pleasant, New Jersey. That`s a
difference, Rehema, as we talked to you on a day after.
REHEMA ELLIS, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Absolutely, Richard. I should
tell you, though, that high surf advisories and warnings do remain in
effect but as you can see this is a very different day. Yesterday,
however, conditions on this beach and all along this area of jersey`s coast
were very dangerous.
ELLIS (voice-over): Overnight fierce winds continued on jersey`s south
shore. Streets were mostly deserted. Crews were busy checking for damaged
power lines. At one point during the massive storm tens of thousands had
no electricity. And there was historic coastal flooding in some places.
Water rushed through neighborhoods like Sea Isle City and Wildwood, areas
hard hit three years ago by hurricane Sandy.
But officials say many residents were prepared this time. Some complying
with volunteer evacuations. A rough night for many including those working
to stay ahead of the storm.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m just going to be going. I haven`t slept since
Thursday. I`ve been going out. I was buying salt and all kind of stuff.
But I`m just running on adrenaline, so.
ELLIS: When you look at this water now the high tide is still up and we`re
advised that there could still be some moderate flooding in the area. But
this is extremely different from what was experienced yesterday. Even in
communities like Atlantic City on the coast and Stone Harbor they got
pounded pretty hard. In fact Stone Harbor got so much flooding the mayor
there says the flooding conditions were worse yesterday than they were
during hurricane Sandy in 2012 which really devastated so much of this
But it is picture perfect out here right now as people begin the process of
putting their lives back together. They are going to be assessing what
kind of beach erosion occurred here and what it`s going to do to bring
this. What they will have to do bring this community back to normal.
Probably some people are going to be looking at the surf and thinking that
it is pretty picture perfect for surfers. But there are still a lot of
work to be done here yet to make certain people get their lives back to
normal – Richard.
LUI: Rehema Ellis, I can`t thank you enough for that report. Appreciate
Let`s bring back in NBC meteorologist Bill Karins.
And Bill, Rehema laid it out there for us. Yesterday she was standing up
on the coast. She remember that wind sideways now she`s able to stand
right there on the beach.
KARINS: Yes. She might as well have been in a tropical storm yesterday,
the way it was there. (INAUDIBLE) was coming in and out and everything in.
The storm is gone. So that`s great. Sunshine is out across all the areas
that got hit by the snow. The high tide cycle is just about over with the
portion that we are worried about. Up and down the mid-Atlantic continue
that. So we are going to go through another high tide cycle this evening
and that will be lower.
As the storm pulls out our winds are now offshore. So it is starting to
pull the water out. We have a little bit of issues we could watch on the
back bays by Cape Cod, but that is really it. There will be a dig out day.
The winds are not that bad. Only the 20 to 30 mile-per-hour range and we
have no gusts to report at all Philly to New York to Atlantic City. That
makes it even more enjoyable.
The wind chill values are starting to come up. They were down in the
single digits. And some are still very cold in Boston. New York is at 10.
Philly at 10. D.C. is at 17. So, it is definitely the ski gear. The
warmer stuff you had as you head out there.
And the snow totals in the big cities, very impressive. We almost got D.C.
up to 20 inches. There`s a lot of arguments actually going out of the D.C.
area about whether those measurements are correct because people are right
near the airport that said they had almost 30 inches. But officially, the
measurement at the airport was 19.4. So they will try to iron that out in
the days ahead.
Regardless, it is still one of the top three snowfalls ever in the history
of Washington, D.C. So that`s at 19.4. They didn`t quite get up there to
number two. As far as other areas went, Philadelphia had a very
significant snow. Little snow hole. That`s why your total was a little
bit lower. Baltimore you broke your old time record 29.2. So that`s one
of the biggest cities that saw their all-time biggest snowfall.
And Philadelphia I mentioned you didn`t quite get there. You were almost
there. You were at 22.4 which puts you is fourth place all-time. And that
how about New York City? We thought we were going to do it. It was so
close. But officially we were only a tenth inch away from the all-time
greatest. That was only ten years ago. That was like thunder so. That
was a little different.
So Richard, I want to share some of the photos that I just took on my way
into work this morning. And this one is for everyone knows, Radio City,
one of the huge mounds they put out there. The way they clear snow around
“30 Rock” is they actually put it in these huge massive piles and then the
dump trucks come in because they can`t leave it on the sidewalks. And
also, everyone showing off their patio furniture. So I went around and
found that some patio furniture around “30 Rock” at a restaurant. This is
how much snow was on top of the patio. So that looks like about two and a
half feet. But, very impressive stuff even around here. If you have
pictures, you want to send it ti me. Send to my twitter account
@billkarins. And I will be happy to share for me of your stories and
LUI: Quite the photographer. Great meteorologist as well.
KARINS: We`ll work on the photography.
LUI: You know, it is not bad.
KARINS: You gave me some lessons.
LUI: Not me. You proved the point, though, of course. Bill Karins thank
you very much.
We`ll go live to another part of the jersey shore that`s under water this
LUI: If you go to the national weather service website there`s one list of
concerns that`s the longest compared to all the rest and that`s the high
water concerns. Although our own Bill Karins say that`s subsiding but not
Let`s go New Jersey and NBC`s Jacob Rascon, Sea Isle is where we saw a lot
of water yesterday. How does it took today as we get close to another high
tide there, Jacob?
JACOB RASCON, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. We`re still looking at
neighborhoods under water. With me I have Bill and Justin who just came
from back there. Tell me how it is back there, in the worst of it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, yesterday morning I had two feet of water in my
house. I woke up at 8:00 and it was just at the first step on the sidewalk
and in a half hour it was rushing in.
RASCON: I don`t know if you could hear but he said yesterday morning he
had two feet of water in his house. Thank you guys so much.
As far as you can see, this neighborhood and the one behind it and the one
behind that are all under water. None of the new stations were able to get
here yesterday. In fact, this is the first time anybody has been here
because at the height of it this was waist deep and higher. Nobody could
get in or out. The emergency crews, the residents tell me were back and
forth getting everybody out of here to safety and now they are still
checking on taxpayer homes to see how bad the damage is.
LUI: Jacob, can you give us a sense how deep the water is. I can see it`s
covering your boots there. How far back and how deep?
RASCON: Yes. So if I go back to the intersection it`s back to the top of
my boots. And as they were telling me if you go back further and to the
left it`s about up to your knees. But as I said yesterday during the
height it, it was too deep to drive through and they say it`s much worse
than super storm Sandy.
LUI: All right, Sea Isle City, New Jersey. Jacob Rascon, one of the areas
that`s seen flooding today. For now, let`s go back to Reverend. Al.
SHARPTON: Well thanks, Richard.
That does it for us. I`ll see you back here next Sunday for a special
edition of “Politics Nation” covering the Iowa caucus. In the meantime,
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