Politics Nation with Al Sharpton, Transcript 3/20/2016

Guests:
Douglas Brinkley; Matt Welch; Kim Foxx; Ted Strickland; Valerie Jarrett
Transcript:

Show: POLITICS NATION
Date: March 20, 2016
Guest: Douglas Brinkley; Matt Welch; Kim Foxx; Ted Strickland; Valerie
Jarrett

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Extremism and obstruction, the GOP facing double
jeopardy over Donald Trump.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are going to win, win, win,
and we are not stopping.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the Supreme Court.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I simply ask Republicans in
the Senate to give him a fair hearing and then an up or down vote.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could the GOP lose both the White House and the Senate?
We`ll talk about it with senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett.

Also, the plot to stop Trump at the convention. Could Paul Ryan be the
savior?

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: It`s not going to be me. It should be
somebody running for president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And our gotcha. Why is the right so upset over the
president`s trip to Cuba?

All that, plus a special interview, the prosecutor who wants to move
Chicago forward after the Laquan McDonald tragedy.

From Rockefeller center in New York, this is “Politics Nation” with Al
Sharpton.

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

We start with double trouble for the GOP facing no good options for both
Donald Trump and the Supreme Court. On Tuesday, Republicans turn out to
vote in Arizona and Utah. Trump is expected to do very well. Even though
Mitt Romney says he is voting for Ted Cruz, and wants others to do the
same. So now Trump is becoming the face of the Republican Party. Do they
accept it? Fight it? Ignore it? The GOP`s identity crisis is playing out
on live TV.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The presidential race is being dominated by the so-
called stop Trump movement.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There`s time to still, you
know, prevent a Trump nomination, which I think would fracture the party.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Want to call for unity ticket within the Republican
Party now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If that doesn`t work, plot out strategy for a
contested convention.

RYAN: We`re getting our minds around the idea that this could very well
become a reality.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The essential weakness of the stop Trump movement is
it never had a horse, it never had a strategy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think people can`t just sit on the sidelines now and
then complain that the house has burned down in July.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Lots of talk, but no solutions. And GOP leaders are facing a
candidate who`s talking about riots if he`s denied the nomination.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We`re way ahead of everybody. I don`t think you can say that we
don`t get it automatically. I think it would be – I think you`d have
riots. I think you`d have riots.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Meantime, in the battle over the Supreme Court, President Obama
is ramping up the pressure on Republicans who refuse to even consider his
nominee.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: One of the most puzzling arguments that I`ve heard from Mitch
McConnell and some other Republicans is this notion that the American
people should decide. We should let the American people decide as part of
this election who gets to fill this seat. Well, in fact, the American
people did decide. Back in 2012, when they elected me president of the
United States with sufficient electoral votes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Polls show 61 percent of Americans think the Senate should hold
a vote now. Just 36 percent want to delay until we have a new president.
I talked about the nomination with White House senior adviser Valerie
Jarrett. We began by talking about the pressure on Republicans to hold
hearings.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VALERIE JARETT, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISER: Now, as members are going back
to their states and their districts, I think they`re going to hear loudly
and clearly from the American people, two-thirds of whom believe that the
president`s nominee deserves a hearing. The president had a call last
Friday with well over 15,000 people all who are interested in forming a
grassroots effort to get out around the country and explain why this
particular chief judge is so qualified, and why the Republicans should not
deny him even a hearing. I mean that`s just simply not fair at all,
Reverend Sharpton –

SHARPTON: And the other thing that I found interesting, is in 2010, GOP
senator Orrin Hatch said this judge, this judge Garland, your nominee, was,
quote, “terrific.” And could be confirmed to the Supreme Court. His
quote, he said, was “virtually unanimously” he could be confirmed.

JARETT: Yes –

SHARPTON: -Did that factor into the president`s thinking when he made this
choice?

JARETT: Well what he wanted to make sure is that he picked somebody who is
absolutely exemplary qualified, and who should be confirmed. The president
said from the beginning he was going to play this straight, he was going to
look for the best person on the job, and the person who he thought
Democrats and Republicans alike would have no ability to criticize. And as
we`ve seen in the first several days since his nomination, just
unbelievable support. He`s gotten great publicity. Because his track
record is so exemplary. And so the president wanted that nominee, because
he`s been listening, obviously, to what the Republicans have been saying
about not wanting to grant him a hearing, give him a fair chance, and he
wanted to make sure that he picked somebody who was absolutely someone who
should be confirmed, and that`s what he`s calling on the Senate to do. The
president did his job, and he wants them to do theirs.

SHARPTON: Some GOP senators said they could hold lame duck hearings after
the election if Hillary Clinton wins. Because they`re afraid she would
name someone more liberal. What`s your response to that?

My response to that, Reverend Sharpton, is the election that mattered was
the last election, when President Obama was elected for a four-year term.
He still has over 300 days left in that four-year term. There`s nothing in
the constitution that says his term is three-and-a-half years or, you know,
three years and three months. The fact of the matter is he has a four-year
term as long as he is president of the United States he is going to fulfill
his constitutional duties, a very important one of which is to nominate to
the Supreme Court. So next election should not be relevant. The relevant
election was the last election. It`s the one the Republicans say they want
the American people to speak. Well they did speak. Not once, but twice.
In 2008, and 2012.

SHARPTON: Let me ask you this, Donald Trump, he said his ideal nominee
would be, quote, “Scalia reincarnated.” Does that show the stakes of this
election?

JARETT: Well, that`s just one of many troubling things that I heard over
the last several months, right? And so – and I say something on that.
Because I don`t really comment on the election politics here from the White
House. But what I can say, having traveled across this great country for
several years now, in the 2008 election and 2012 and in between, is where
the American people are, I think, is they want someone who unifies our
country. Someone who sees what we have in common, not our differences.
Someone who can disagree without being disagreeable. And I believe that`s
why president Obama was elected twice.

SHARPTON: Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to President Obama. Thanks for
your time.

JARETT: You`re welcome. Have a happy Sunday.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SHARPTON: Now let`s bring in E.J. Dionne of “the Washington Post.” His
new book is called “where the right went wrong.” Thank you for being here.

E.J. DIONNE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Great to be with you Reverend. Thank you
very much.

SHARPTON: So E.J., what are these two issues, Trump and the Supreme Court?
What do they reveal about the GOP right now?

DIONNE: Well, you know, there have been a lot of people, when you say, as
I say, that the Republican Party has veered far to the right, people say
the Democrats have moved far to the left. Well, I think we got some
evidence. We have a lot of evidence that that`s not true. They`re not
equally extreme in any way.

First you had the results of these primaries last week. And except in
Ohio, Donald Trump, whom I think everyone, including a lot of Republicans
as you showed at the beginning of the show, views as extreme, swept those
primaries. At the same time here you had Barack Obama going out of his way
to choose the most moderate nominee he could possibly put up for the court
in Merrick Garland. And just to be straight with your viewers, I`ve known
Merrick Garland for over 40 years. He`s a friend. And he`s a wonderful,
wonderful human being.

But that`s not just me talking. That Orrin Hatch quote you showed shows
that Garland has respect across the political spectrum for people who work
with him, and people who work for him. And the Republicans couldn`t have
asked President Obama to nominate a more moderate person. And yet here
they are saying, well we don`t care who the president nominates. We`re
just not going to confirm that person.

SHARPTON: Won`t even meet with him. I mean, confirm him? Many of them
wouldn`t even sit down and talk to the man this week.

DIONNE: And I loved what Senator Angus King, the independent of Maine
said, he said, what are you afraid of? That you might like him too much?

SHARPTON: Right.

DIONNE: I mean it really is an astonishing kind of barricade that they
have put up.

SHARPTON: But on the other side of that, E.J., you have this week the
speaker of the house, Paul Ryan, having to talk about how the leading
Republican presidential candidate had talked about riots if he wasn`t given
the nomination, if he was denied the nomination. I mean, let me show you
what Paul Ryan had to deal with.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you agree with Donald Trump`s statement that there
would be riots?

RYAN: I think if – if someone with a clear lead in delegates were denied
the nomination –

Nobody should say such things in my opinion, because to even address, or
hint to violence is unacceptable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So you have the Supreme Court at one issue. But now you have
Donald Trump saying about riots. He said other things. Is this the next
six months that the GOP`s going to have to live through, having to deal
with things that Donald Trump says, and trying to walk back or respond to
what is being said by their leading candidate and possibly their nominee?

DIONNE: Well, I think the answer to that is, yes. Which is why they`re so
petrified of this nomination. Because, the fear that Republicans have is
not just that they`re going to have a nominee who overwhelmingly turns off
middle of the road voters, women voters in a “Washington Post” poll, ABC
poll were for Hillary Clinton by 21 points over Trump. And the Republicans
are worried this – that this won`t just be about the presidential
campaign. This could take the Senate away from them. There are a lot of
vulnerable Republicans in Democratic or purple states. And they might even
lose the house. With the gerrymandering the Democrats need a huge lead in
popular votes for the house and yet Trump could do that. So when you see
all these petrified Republicans running around, it`s precisely those kind
of extreme, provocative, statements by Trump, and provocative is a very
gentle word for some of the stuff he said, like punch that guy in the nose.
You know.

SHARPTON: Well, you also have seen, talking about polls, 37 percent of
those that voted talked about they would even consider a third party
candidate. Would the GOP establishment be better off running an
independent candidate? Or just accepting Trump as their nominee, E.J.?

DIONNE: Well, think the establishment, such as it is, is divided on that
question. There are a lot of conservatives who want to run a third party
candidate, because they don`t know what Trump really believes, and suspects
he`s not one of them. In 1912 the Republican Party split and the
establishment supported William Howard Taft and in that case they preferred
to lose the election than to let somebody they disagreed with takeover. So
I think the Republicans are stuck either way. If they nominate Trump they
probably get a split and a lot of defections. If they don`t nominate
Trump, they turn off 35, 40 percent of their primary voters. It`s a real
mess that they`re in.

SHARPTON: E.J. Dionne, thanks for your time this morning.

DIONNE: Great to be with you. Thanks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coming up, could Republicans really stop Donald Trump
at the convention? A reality check.

Also our interview with the prosecutor who wants to clean up the Chicago
police after the Laquan McDonald tragedy.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I simply ask Republicans in the Senate to give him a fair hearing.
And then an up or down vote.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

The president calling on Senate Republicans to give judge Garland a fair
hearing for the Supreme Court. And that battle could determine whether
Democrats take back the Senate in the fall. Democrats are now targeting a
handful of Republican senators up for re-election in states won by
President Obama. And it looks like some are feeling the pressure.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just man up and cast a vote. The tough thing about the
senatorial jobs is you get yes or no votes. Your whole job is to either
say yes or no and explain why.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The Senate is now in recess for two weeks. With everyone back
in their home districts, hearing from voters. Ohio`s Rob Portman is
breaking with his party`s leadership, by agreeing to meet with judge
Garland. He is facing a tough challenge in November from the state`s
former governor Ted Strickland.

Joining me now is Ted Strickland, who just last week won the Democratic
primary to face-off against Senator Portman. Thanks for being here.

TED STRICKLAND, FORMER OHIO GOVERNOR: It`s great to be with you, Reverend
Al.

SHARPTON: Governor, is the – is the Supreme Court fight part of your
campaign in Ohio?

STRICKLAND: absolutely. And I want to tell you, the people of Ohio,
according to the polling, even the independents believe, 60 percent of the
independents believe that Rob Portman is taking a wrong position, and that
the Republicans are absolutely wrong in their attitude toward the Supreme
Court office that`s now open.

Listen, this is an insult to the president of the United States. They
never have recognized him as – some of them, as a legitimate president.
And now they`re saying that he doesn`t have a right to fill this seat. And
the people of Ohio, I believe, are going to hold Rob Portman responsible.
I can tell you that just today, the Toledo blade had an editorial saying
that Rob Portman, if he does not change his position, will have to answer
to the people at the polls in November. And I think that`s going to happen
to senators across the country who are being so obstructionistic in their
attitude toward the president`s right to appoint a member to the court.

SHARPTON: Now, as I stated, they`re on a two-week recess in the Senate.

STRICKLAND: That`s right.

SHARPTON: And you were talking about the polls. The Ohio voters alone, 56
percent, say they want the nominee considered and only 41 percent say delay
action. Is that what Senator Portman is hearing from voters as he`s back
in the state for the next two weeks?

STRICKLAND: Well, you know, initially Senator Portman said that he would
not even grant the nominee a meeting with him, a courtesy visit with him.
I think public pressure has gotten to him. And he now indicates that he
will at least have a meeting with this nominee.

But Senator Portman and all the other senators are absolutely wrong in
refusing to consider this man seriously, to provide advice and consent.
We`re saying, do your job, Rob. Www.doyourjobrob.com. Do your job, Rob.
We want people to get on the Internet, to get on the telephone, to
absolutely make their voices heard, and to let Rob Portman know that he`s
being paid to do a job and Ohioans expect him to fulfill his obligation as
a United States senator.

SHARPTON: Let me ask you about Donald Trump. Donald Trump claims that
he`s speaking for the working-class American, that he`s also speaking for
working Democrats. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We`re taking from the Democrats. Remember, the Democrats for
Reagan? We have it bigger. It`s Democrats for Trump. It`s a bigger
number.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Can Donald Trump – can he relate and can he resonate with so-
called Reagan Democrats and get their support, Governor?

STRICKLAND: Well, Reverend Al, I heard Donald Trump say that wages are too
high. That wages are so high in this country that we are becoming
noncompetitive. I don`t know of a single Reagan Democrat that would accept
that as a fact. The fact is, wages are too low. Wages have been flat for
many people for the last several decades while they`ve worked hard, created
wealth and that wealth has been concentrated among the richest one percent
of the people in America. So when people understand that Donald Trump is
not on their side, for any working person, certainly for any working
Democrat to consider Donald Trump to be their friend, they aren`t paying
attention. When a man says the wages in this country are too high, then
he`s speaking like the millionaire or the billionaire that he is. Not like
a working person.

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

Ted, thank you for being with us. Former Ohio governor, and now candidate
for Senate. Thanks again for your time this morning.

SHARPTON: Thank you, Reverend.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Still ahead, has the bubble burst on the stop Trump
movement?

But first, we talk to the prosecutor who wants a fresh start for police in
Chicago.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KIM FOXX, COOK COUNTY STATES ATTORNEY CANDIDATE: – shelter and bathtubs
anymore. There should be no people afraid to walk to and from. That
that`s a common goal whether you`re a community member or law enforcement.
We share a common goal, a quality of life that is free from harm.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That was Kim Foxx, who this week won her first political
campaign. A primary race for state`s attorney in Cook County, Illinois.
Foxx beat Anita Alvarez, who was under fire for her handling of the
shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald by a Chicago police officer.
That officer is now facing a murder trial and has pleaded not guilty. But
he wasn`t charged until nearly a year after the shooting. And it was only
after a judge ordered the release of video that showed McDonald being shot
16 times, including after he was already down. The public anger that
followed has divided the city of Chicago, and the country. Foxx is running
on a platform of reform to restore trust between prosecutors and the
police. She joins me now from Chicago.

Kim, first of all, welcome.

FOXX: Thank you. Good morning.

SHARPTON: Tell me, Kim, what does your primary victory say about what
voters expect in cases like Laquan McDonald`s tragedy?

FOXX: I think the victory shows that the county is the consensus belief
that we needed to change. We needed more transparency and accountability
from the prosecutors when we handle cases like these. That you can`t
handle these cases in the dark. You can`t handle these cases without
explaining to the public what`s going on. And certainly you have to do
them far more swiftly than the 400 days that Anita Alvarez waited to charge
in this case.

SHARPTON: Now, how do you plan to move the prosecutor`s office forward
toward trying to restore this confidence between prosecutors and the
people, and the citizens?

FOXX: I think first and foremost, Reverend, we have to be transparent in
what we do. The prosecutor`s office has a tremendous amount of discretion.
It`s the prosecutor who decides whether or not we`re going to charge a case
at all, what you`re going to charge someone with. And it`s done outside of
the view of the public. And so one of the things that I proposed that I
think is absolutely necessary is more transparency. The ability to look at
the data in terms of who are we charging and what are we charging them
with, to make sure that we`re consistent and fair across the board.

SHARPTON: Now, I know from my work in civil rights that people in Chicago
are worried about police accountability. In fact, between 2011 and 2015
there were 28,500 citizen complaints. But in 97 percent of those cases, no
officer was punished. Do you think that needs to be addressed?

FOXX: Absolutely. I mean, in addition to that fact, there was a period of
time between 2004 and 2014 where the city of Chicago alone paid almost a
half a balance dollars in settlements, court settlements for police
misconduct cases. And we haven`t seen a correlation between accountability
from the prosecutor`s side to go with those settlements. And so, there`s a
lot of work that needs to be done to make sure that our communities are
kept safe. But that when doing so, that they`re done in a professional
way, and that police officers who go afoul of that are held accountable so
that the good officers are not caught up in the chaos when we don`t have
accountability.

SHARPTON: Now you also have another major problem. I remember a couple of
years ago I took an apartment on the west side, we were dealing with gun
violence, the enormous problems of gun violence, of shootings, in the
community, so you have police accountability on one side, you have the gun
violence on another side. How are you as state`s attorney if you beat your
Republican opponent in November, how are you going to deal with that
problem while you also deal with the transparency needed with police
accountability?

So we need to make sure that we`re dealing with the gun violence, not just
in the aftermath. There`s a lot of movement once we have a chalk outline
on the ground, or once someone`s been shot. We`ve not been strategic in
all in the state`s attorney`s office in dealing with the gun trafficking
issue. For every one gun that we take off the street here in Chicago,
there are six more coming in. So as state`s attorney I`m going to open a
gun trafficking unit within the state`s attorney`s office that deals with
trafficking. Who is bringing these guns into our communities and arming
our neighborhoods to the teeth?

One sad fact in Chicago is that last year there were only three arrests,
just three arrests for gun straw purchases in the state of Chicago. Just
three. Which just is not proportionate to what we`re seeing as a crisis
here in Chicago. And we have to be pro-active. We have to be deliberate
in dealing with who`s arming our communities as well as dealing with the
aftermath of that violence.

SHARPTON: Kim Foxx, congratulations on your primary win. Thank you for
your time this morning.

FOXX: Thank you so much, Reverend.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Up next, President Obama`s historic trip to Cuba. The
right is wrong on that. And it`s today`s gotcha.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Today, the United States of America is changing its relationship
with the people of Cuba. And the most significant changes in our policy in
more than 50 years.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: President Obama in 2014, announcing a new, historic chapter,
restoring diplomatic ties with Cuba, after five decades of cold war policy.
And in a few hours, He will become the first U.S. president to visit Havana
in almost 90 years. He says he will pressure Cuba`s leaders on human
rights.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: During my visit, I intend to meet with dissidents, critics of the
Cuban government. We continue to press to make sure that over time we are
widening more and more freedom for speech, assembly, religion, inside of
Cuba.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Yet, Republicans like Ted Cruz say the trip is nothing more than
appeasement.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What President Obama has shown
to our enemies is weakness and appeasement. I think it`s a real mistake.
Its 90 miles off the coast of America. And to go there and essentially act
as an apologist –

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It`s ugly stuff. And it`s a pattern. Listen to John McCain in
2013 after president Obama shook hands with Cuban President Raul Castro.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Just gives – gives Raul some propaganda to
continue to prop up of his dictatorial, brutal regime. That`s all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should he not have done it?

MCCAIN: Of course not. What`s the point? Neville chamberlain shook hands
with Hitler.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: He invoked Hitler? Republicans have selective outrage when it
comes to relations with foreign dictators. Donald Rumsfeld shook hands
with Saddam Hussein. Here`s Ronald Reagan with Gorbachev. And don`t
forget this one. John McCain shaking hands with Gadhafi.

For Ted Cruz and other Republicans, this isn`t about getting Cuba policy
right. It`s about political attacks that are out of date, and they`re out
of date like the cold war. Nice try. But light up a cigar and feel the
Havana breeze. Because, we gotcha.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: The best alternative to Donald
Trump to stop him from getting 1237 is Ted Cruz.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: If you can`t beat him, join him. That was Lindsey Graham doing
an about-face on his support for Ted Cruz. Remember this?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GRAHAM: If you kill Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was
in the Senate, nobody could convict you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Apparently, that`s what happens to a party flailing around for a
way to stop Donald Trump from becoming their nominee. One strategy is to
unify around a single candidate. Though there hasn`t been an agreement on
exactly who that is. Another suggests a contested GOP convention.

On Friday Mitt Romney said quote “I will vote for Senator Cruz, and I
encourage others to do so, as well. So that we can have an open
convention, and nominate a Republican.”

Joining me now is Matt Welch, editor in chief of “Reason” magazine and
Maria Teresa Kumar, president of vote Latino and an MSNBC contributor.
Thank you both for being here.

MATT WELCH, EDITOR IN CHIEF, REASON MAGAZINE: Thank you.

MARIA TERESA KUMAR, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Matt is a contested convention a real possibility?

WELCH: Of course it`s a real possibility. If Donald Trump doesn`t get to
the 1237 votes – if California and Utah stand up to Donald Trump, and vote
instead for Ted Cruz, then he`s not going to get to that threshold and
you`ll have a contested convention.

The thing is, it`s a pipe dream, I think, among the establishment, which
has been busy with a most incredible nine-month circular firing squad I
think anyone has ever really seen. It`s a pipe dream to think that they
can get anyone who is not named Ted Cruz through on a second ballot at the
convention. If they try to get in John Kasich or Paul Ryan or whatever the
fever dream is, they`re going to have chaos on their hands. It`s not going
to be seen as legitimate.

SHARPTON: So how can this play out, Maria? If Trump doesn`t get the
necessary votes to clinch it, they`re going to have an open convention, I
mean, how do they try in some smooth way make a transition into another
candidate if Trump has the majority of the votes, even if it lacks the
magic number that qualifies him as the nominee?

KUMAR: Well, they definitely are going to have to say a little more than
just a few Hail Marys. I think that right now the fact that Trump is
obfuscating the election, saying if I`m not the nominee there`s going to be
riots. He`s actually confusing the rules of the game. And the Republican
Party, instead of actually clarifying what those rules are the game are,
that there are actual rules that basically they`re considering the
candidates that the majority of the Republican Party want but at the end of
the day they actually decide is actually telling.

The fact that even Romney said I will support Ted Cruz but at the end of
the day we need a Republican, he doesn`t even want Ted Cruz. So there`s a
real problem right now, and people keep saying that at the end of the day,
the convention`s going to break the Republican Party. I actually venture
to say that it`s broken. And until they basically identify how they`re
going to fix it, they`re coming in a little too late to this party.

SHARPTON: You know, Matt, you mention among others Paul Ryan, and there`s
been speculation that he could be the Republican nominee in a contested
convention. But here`s his response.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN: I saw Boehner last night and I told him to knock it off. It`s not
going to be me. It should be somebody running for president. But let`s
just put this thing to rest and move on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But I`m reminded that he said the same thing when they were
talking about him running for speaker then of course he`s the speaker. And
then, of course, we see change his mind and he is the speaker. What do you
think would make him change his mind about being the potential nominee in a
contested convention?

WELCH: I think in one sense Paul Ryan`s going to be Elizabeth Warren here
like you ask him over and over again and don`t ever get the thing you want.
The problem is this election season has been so crazy. I mean seriously,
when you say this week he has crossed a threshold for crazy, the next week
it gets much crazier. So I can imagine that something that we currently
can`t imagine would take place. That is the only thing that I think would
get Paul Ryan in there. I mean, if you saw actual riots and violence and
paramilitary – but I don`t really think we`re going to get that far. So I
don`t think there`s any real chance of Paul Ryan or any other kind of, you
know, knight in shining armor to come and rescue the Republicans.

And Maria is totally right about something here. The damage is already
done to the Republicans. There is no current scenario where there isn`t a
significant group of Republicans who will either stay home, if they don`t
get the result that they want in the primary, or they`re going to vote for
someone competing with the Republican nominee. That`s the reality we`re in
right now.

SHARPTON: But it`s because in many people`s opinion, including mine, that
Donald Trump has tapped in to some anger, and some real sense that the
Republican establishment is not even spoken up for them. He`s not come
with policy. I mean, Maria I watched Jimmy Fallon do a takeoff on Donald
Trump`s foreign policy. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIMMY FALLON, COMEDIAN: As it becomes more and more inevitable that Trump
will be the Republican nominee, people have been wondering who Donald
Trump`s foreign policy advisers are going to be. Well he finally told us
where he`s getting his information from. Yesterday. Take a look.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who are you consulting with consistently so that
you`re ready on day one?

TRUMP: I`m speaking with myself. Number one. Because I have a very good
brain, and I`ve said a lot of things.

FALLON: This is pretty crazy but we actually have the technology to
actually look inside his brain. It`s fascinating to see how it works.
Take a look at this.

TRUMP: He referred to my hands. They`re small. Something else must be
small. I guarantee you there`s no problem. I guarantee you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why isn`t it working?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me try –

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me do it!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. That`s perfect.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now Maria, it`s funny. But when you think about it, I mean
we`re talking about a potential Republican nominee to lead the free world.
This is serious stuff.

Well, it`s less funny when what you said, Reverend, is the fact that he
might actually have his finger on the nuclear button, right? He is not
someone that is not only not fit to be president but I actually do think
that he has tapped into something that has been brewing in the Republican
Party that basically that they helped communicate, right? For the last 15
years you have FOX News telling people that their government is broken,
that you cannot trust politicians, you can`t trust anybody in the
establishment.

What happens 15 years if people keep hearing that is that they actually
internalize it and see someone like Donald Trump and say wait a second he
absolutely is right and at the same time, I still have yet to cover from
the recession. I have yet still to recuperate my job and you get someone
that is actually paying attention to them in a way that is at least
listening to their grievances. But then let`s look at number two. Ted
Cruz is just as anti-immigrant, just as anti-Muslim, as –

SHARPTON: Isn`t that the point, because they, Krugman and others are
writing, they created this climate that –

KUMAR: That`s right –

SHARPTON: – that Trump kind of seized and rolls from. But the party was
talking all of this themselves.

WELCH: Yes. And let`s also remember that there`s been bad governance
from both parties. For the last 15 years I don`t think there`s been
particularly good governance. We might quibble on this show about the
current president but in general the Republicans who voted in huge numbers
in 2014 to get the Senate back in Republican hands, what did they do?
Nothing. They haven`t even passed a basic budget. They crammed everything
in at the last minute like they always do. So they have a really
(INAUDIBLE).

SHARPTON: Well, they tried to obstruct this president every way they
could.

KUMAR: That`s right.

SHARPTON: Matt Welch and Maria Teresa Kumar, thank you both for your time.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: They`re bringing drugs. They`re bringing crime. They`re rapists.
And some, I assume, are good people.

We do have to look at the mosques very carefully. The mosques, a lot of
things are happening in there, folks. I don`t know what`s wrong with
Obama. There`s something we don`t know about. Total and complete shutdown
of Muslims entering the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That was just some of the divisive rhetoric we`ve heard from
Donald Trump in this campaign. And it`s triggering comparisons to
demagogues from the past. Like the 1930s populist Hughie Long who cast
himself as an outsider. Opposed to both Republicans and Democrats.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only difference that I have found between the
Democratic leadership, and the Republican leadership, was that one of them
was skinning from the ankle up and the other from the ear down.

TRUMP: I`m a Republican. I`m more disappointed in them because you know
what? We know where the Democrats are coming from. But the Republicans
are supposed to be fighting for us. And they`re not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Or Senator Joe McCarthy, who warned communists were taking over
the government 60 years before Trump would claim Bernie Sanders is a
communist.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Communists in our own government, who gave American
dollars, and American support to the communists.

I never thought we`d see the day in our country when a communist, because
that`s really, you think about it, when a communist is the leading Democrat
– we`re going to have a communist –

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Or the segregationist governor George Wallace who responded to
protesters at his rallies with Trump-like insults.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know what you are? You`re a little punk, that`s
all you are. You haven`t got any guts. You got too much hair on your
head, partner. You got a load on your mind. That`s right.

TRUMP: What a bunch of losers, I`ll tell you. You are a loser. You
really are a loser. All right get him out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me now is presidential historian and rice university
professor Douglas Brinkley. His new book is “rightful heritage: Franklin
d. Roosevelt and the land of America.” thanks for being here.

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Thanks, Reverend, for having me.

SHARPTON: Let me ask you this. Where does Trump fit in the historical
context of demagogues in American politics?

BRINKLEY: Well, somebody did a good job putting up that footage, because
when you look at Hughie Long, and in that story in the FDR era, he was very
much like Donald Trump in the sense that he is trying to be funny with his
demagoguery. Try to, you know, not just a chicken in every pot, promising
everybody everything, and lambasting FDR like it`s nobody`s business. But
he did it with a kind of humor. Then he went to Joe McCarthy and he was
darker, and more introverted. And then George Wallace playing the race
card. Trump is a combo of all three of those. You could not have three
better clips than those.

I would add to it, however, now that Trump may get the Republican
nomination, Richard Nixon. That idea of enemies listed. Want to know who
slights me. The way that Trump has gone out after the press. You didn`t
really see those three just lambaste the press like Trump did. But Nixon
when he hired Spiro Agnew as his pit bull just realized he could score some
points by just calling the press trash.

SHARPTON: You also said that demagogues tend to be entertaining. How big
of a factor is that?

BRINKLEY: I think it`s huge. I think people watch Trump to laugh. To be
reassured. I think the – he`s figured out that people are tired of
political correctness. But you know, here I am writing on FDR. And FDR`s
view was we`ve got to unify America. Trump view is divide and then
conquer. You couldn`t have two different styles. In the end, the great
presidents are people that can project a deep optimism. He`s trying to do
that with the page of its morning again from America with Reagan. But the
comments he makes about Latinos, and African-Americans, and women, and gay
Americans, it`s just – he`s brutalizing the landscape of America with his
rhetoric.

SHARPTON: He compares his call for banning Muslims with the Japanese
internment camps. Fair?

BRINKLEY: I could see why some people would make that, Reverend,
connection, but the difference is, the Japanese internment was the worse
things I think FDR did in terms as president. It was an overreaction to
Pearl Harbor. It was a fear that we were going to get all of the Japanese
to firebomb the pacific coast. The worst thing FDR did. Trump was
championing it as why he likes FDR. And he did that with Dwight Eisenhower,
saying all the things that like did, some civil rights.

SHARPTON: Yes.

BRINKLEY: Interstate highways. He picked out operation wetback,
deportations is what he liked about Ike. I find that warped.

SHARPTON: Let me ask you about your new book, because a lot of us, I
certainly have been very, very concerned about flint, Michigan, and other
things, and you`re hearing people, I was at the house hearings this week,
some are suggesting get rid of EPA, and you have written a book about a
time where it was the opposite. They wanted to deal with under President
Roosevelt conservation. And it was a different attitude about observing
the trees, preserving nature, and very much pro-environment, and
environmental concerns. Tell us about the book, and compare the time that
you write about here with FDR, the spirit of what we`re hearing now.

BRINKLEY: Flint is an example of what happens when you turn your back on
communities. So I think that`s something FDR would never do. Turn your
back on an American community? Never, ever like we`ve turned our back on
Flint. And now Newark is starting to get problems in schools.

All of those places where kids are going and you`re having poisoned water.
Franklin Roosevelt would have thrown the law book out the window and
immediately got federal funds, immediately started re – fixing these
schools. Because he built schools in the `30s when we were in the midst of
the great depression. So the idea we don`t have enough money for the kids
of America is bogus. If FDR were president he`d be all over getting the
Flint situation solved quickly.

SHARPTON: Douglas Brinkley. Thank you for your time this morning. Again,
his new book, it is called “the Rightful Heritage.” Thank you so much this
morning

BRINKLEY: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Well, that does it for me. Thanks for watching. I`ll see you
back here next Sunday.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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