PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton, Transcript 4/24/2016

Sybrina Fulton; Erin McPike; Hogan Gidley; Gary Peters; Val Washington

Date: April 24, 2016
Guest: Sybrina Fulton; Erin McPike; Hogan Gidley; Gary Peters; Val


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Flint water crisis two years later. Will there be
more criminal charges? And will the families get justice? We talk to
Michigan Senator Gary Peters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s a basic right in this country. They can`t wait
any longer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Also, meet the new Trump. Same as the old Trump.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`ve said some things in fun. A
lot of that was entertainment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it all just a big act?

And on the Democratic side, will Bernie Sanders know when to say when?

majority, I think it`s going to be very hard for us to win.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Plus, why Harriet Tubman matters.

And a unique side of prince that you won`t hear about anywhere else.


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

We start this morning with the Flint water crisis. Tomorrow marks exactly
two years since Michigan officials began poisoning their own citizens.
That`s the day the city stopped getting water from the Detroit system and
started getting it from the Flint River. The city`s emergency manager who
reported directly to Republican governor Rick Snyder ordered the switch.
Here`s the instant it happened.





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here`s our moment, so I think we need a countdown from

CROWD: Three, two, one.



SHARPTON: For months, the river water ate at the pipes, creating high
levels of lead. This week came the first criminal charges and a warning
that more could be coming. Governor Snyder says he hasn`t been questioned


GOV. RICK SNYDER (R), MICHIGAN: With respect to this investigation, I have
not been questioned or been interviewed at this point in time. Our office
has been cooperating. This tragic situation was the result of bad
decisions by bureaucrats. Again, I always described it in it terms of
people lacking common sense.


SHARPTON: The other legal development, a federal judge dismissed a class
action suit seeking damages for the families. The lead attorney says he`s
going to refile the complaint. I`ll talk to him in just a few minutes.

But first, the fight to make Flint whole again from the funding battle in
Congress to replacing pipes, house by house.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Four of our boys have lead poisoning. I have lead
poisoning. My fiance does. Our dog has died. One of our other sons has a
bacterial infection in his stomach caused from the water. So it`s made a
huge impact on us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re still living bottle to bottle, which is not
humane. It`s not feasible. And we still can`t shower safely. It still
burns our eyes. It`s discolored, smells terrible, so it`s still putting us
at risk, so nothing`s really changed.


SHARPTON: Joining me now is Senator Gary Peters, Democrat from Michigan.
Thank you for being here, senator.

SEN, GARY PETERS (D), MICHIGAN: Always a pleasure to be with you.

SHARPTON: Now, you`ve introduced a measure to provide over $70 billion to
Flint over the next decade. What are you hearing from your Republican
colleagues about the bill?

PETERS: Well, the bill that we just introduced that you`re referencing
really deals with water infrastructure all across the country and deals
with the problem of lead. Certainly a significant problem in Flint, but we
know it is a problem in communities all across this country as well. But
our specific legislation that we`re working on to help Flint is one in
which we tried to get in the energy bill. Unfortunately we had a
Republican blocking us from doing that. But we now are looking at a new
path hopefully to be able to move that forward in the weeks ahead.

SHARPTON: Now, that Republican you`re referring to is senator mike lee of

PETERS: Right.

SHARPTON: Who blocked the Flint funding. And he said quote “federal aid
is not needed at this time.” What`s your response to that?

PETERS: Well, I just think that`s outrageous. Federal aid is needed. We
have folks who are hurting. We`ve got people who are drinking out of
bottled water, can`t turn on the tap and have clean, fresh water. It`s a
basic right in this country. And whenever we`ve had a disaster anywhere in
this country, the American people are there to help.

Certainly the state of Michigan needs to do its part. It`s primarily
responsible. And they have to do a whole lot more. The governor has to
step up and do a whole lot more, but that should not prevent the federal
government from lending a helpful hand to people who are distressed and
need help, and they can`t wait any longer.

SHARPTON: You mentioned the governor. You`ve held off calling for his
resignation, saying the investigation needs to play out, but I have to ask,
is the governor doing all that he can? Let`s go back to you saying he
should do more.


SHARPTON: What more should he be doing?

PETERS: They need to be taking out those pipes. They have got lead
service pipes. They have got to be pulled out quicker. They`ve got to
have resources also for long-term funding. You know, my concern is about
the residents of Flint over many decades. This is a long-term problem.
This is not going to go away in a few months, particularly the children who
have been impacted. You`ve got to have a future fund that`s funded to make
sure those resources are going to be there for many, many years.

SHARPTON: Now, we saw this week three people indicted on criminal charges.

PETERS: Right.

SHARPTON: And the state attorney general of Michigan says that it is going
further. The case is not over. Should this give any confidence to the
people of Flint that justice will be done?

PETERS: Well, you know, justice has a couple forms. One is to make sure
that those who are responsible are brought to justice, but also justice
will be done when we`re fixing the problem, when residents in Flint can
turn on their tap and know they have complete confidence in the water. And
justice is about knowing that the children who have been poisoned are going
to have long-term fund to help them and seniors and everybody. So that`s
got to be our primary focuses.

SHARPTON: What about some kind of compensation for those that have
incurred medical expenses, that will have permanent damage for their
children? Yes, clearly people need to be held accountable criminally or

PETERS: Right.

SHARPTON: But that does not deal with the cost that has been incurred at
no fault of their own from many of the thousands of citizens in Flint that
have been impacted by this.

PETERS: You`re absolutely right. And that`s really has to be the focus.
That ultimately will be the judge of whether or not justice has been served
on the victims of this catastrophe. So we have to make sure there is long-
term funding available. You`ve got to make sure folks have proper
nutrition, which is an important mitigating factor for people who have been
exposed to lead. You have got to have education programs, wraparound
programs, and health care.

And this is not something that`s going to go away in a few months or even a
few years. This is a decade-long problem, and that`s why I`m hoping we set
up a future fund. And we have been calling on the governor and the state
legislature, set up a future fund to make sure the people of Flint know
that the resources will be there for them to take care of them for many,
many years.

SHARPTON: Senator Gary Peters, thank you for your time.

PETERS: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Now to the class action suit filed on behalf of the thousands of
Flint residents. The lawsuit claims the city violated residents`
constitutional rights and state law by delivering them tainted water. It
seeks $150 million in damages. This past week, a federal judge dismissed
the suit, saying the jurisdiction wasn`t proper. But lawyers say they will

Joining me now is the attorney representing Flint residents in the lawsuit,
Val Washington. Thank you for being here.

having me, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Val, first of all, what are you speaking in this lawsuit?

WASHINGTON: We are seeking what we will call consequential damages from
the impairment of right to contract on behalf of the citizens of Flint.
And that flows more in terms of, you know, replacing the infrastructure,
replacing the plumbing, replacing appliances, you know, all of the
consequential damages that flowed from this outrageous breach of our
ability to have the appropriate contract for clean water.

SHARPTON: Now, what are your plans to refile? Explain that.

WASHINGTON: Well, actually, we have got a couple of options available to
us. The judge took a very narrow view of what we`ll call jurisdiction
because you have to remember, the federal courts are courts of limited
jurisdiction. You just can`t go in and file a federal case. You have to
have a violation of the constitution or a law that specifically allows you
to go into court. And the court focused primarily on the safe water
drinking act, which was not one of our claims. However, the court did not
mention in its opinion our claim that the emergency manager, acting under
color of state law, impaired our right to contract in violation of our
constitutional rights. And that is the area that we feel may be fertile
ground for an appeal to the sixth circuit court of appeals. Obviously, we
will also refile in state court to make sure our clients are protected.

SHARPTON: Now, the lawsuit names Governor Snyder, is that right?

WASHINGTON: Yes, sir, that is correct.

SHARPTON: Now, one thing that was interesting to me is that one study this
year found that Flint residents were paying the highest water rates in the
country for contaminated water, they`re paying for this.


SHARPTON: Residents paid about $864 a year, double the national average.

WASHINGTON: That is correct.

SHARPTON: I mean, that`s amazing, and they`re getting tainted water and
paying double the water bill of most people around the country. I mean,
this is amazing. Let me ask you, two years after all of this started, two
years tomorrow, what would justice for the residents of Flint look like in
your judgment?

WASHINGTON: Well, I think you have to start, first of all, you have to
lower the rates. Get an appropriate rate study to say this is what Flint
residents should be paying. But also, you need to fix what`s broken. That
infrastructure cannot be just coated and it will be fine. I`ll give you an
example. In our home, we have a whole-house filter system, but we`re still
getting lead readings at our kitchen sink and in our ice maker. So it`s
broken. And it needs to be fixed. And so justice is coming in and fixing
it. Justice is setting up a fund to make sure that people who have been
injured are given compensation, medical care. There`s a huge area that
needs to be invested in, and it has to happen now. Can`t wait.

SHARPTON: Now, even with the criminal indictments this week and even if
there are more, that doesn`t address the items that you`ve named or
listened in this lawsuit.

WASHINGTON: Now, let me ask – I`ll put it back to you this way. Criminal
convictions aren`t going to fix what`s broken. Yes, I do think there needs
to be accountability, but when you talk about what`s in the best interests
of the city of Flint and their residents, it is perhaps more criminal
charges and having those people accountable – those people responsible
held accountable, but when you`re talking about justice, you have to walk a
mile in our shoes. Come to our community and see what this has done. It
is absolutely outrageous.

SHARPTON: Val Washington, thank you for your time.

WASHINGTON: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: We reached out to the city of Flint for a response but didn`t
get one in time for air. The governor`s spokesman has said he doesn`t
comment on pending litigation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ahead, 2016 politics. Will Bernie Sanders wave the
white flag or fight to the end?

And the Trump campaign promises a brand-new Trump again.



SANDERS: We do not represent Wall Street, corporate America, or the
billionaire class. We don`t want their money. Secretary Clinton has
chosen to raise her money a different way, with several super PACs.
Secretary Clinton has given speeches on Wall Street for $225,000 a speech.
Not a bad day`s work.


SHARPTON: Bernie Sanders speaking just days before this week`s big primary
day. Five states are voting on Tuesday on the Democratic side. Polls
indicate it could be a tough day for Bernie Sanders. And now after losing
New York, even he admits the path ahead is hard for him.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If she has a majority and more of the popular vote,
would you then concede, endorse her the way she did of Barack Obama?

SANDERS: Look, if we do not have a majority, I think it`s going to be very
hard for us to win. The only fact that I think remains uncertain is if we
continue to be running significantly stronger than she is against Donald
Trump or whether the Republican nominee will be, I think that`s a factor.


SHARPTON: One thing in Sanders`s favor, he has been able to raise money.
In March he raised $46 million to Clinton`s $29 million. It`s the third
straight month Sanders has raised more money than Clinton. The question
now, what does Sanders want? Will he press on or drop out? Will he keep
up the attacks? Donald Trump certainly hopes so.


TRUMP: Bernie Sanders, who in all fairness, and I have to tell you, in all
fairness, he said she has bad judgment, all right? She does. He has been
tough on her. In fact, I`d like him to keep going because the longer he
goes the more I`m going to like it.


SHARPTON: Joining me now is NBC news political analyst and former
Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell who is supporting the Clinton campaign.

Governor, can the math work out for senator Sanders?

ED RENDELL, NBC NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, right now it`s a long shot,
but after Tuesday, if, in fact, Secretary Clinton wins Pennsylvania,
Connecticut and Maryland, the three biggest prizes on Tuesday, then the
math`s impossible. Senator Sanders cannot win the majority of elected
delegates, and he certainly won`t win the majority of the popular vote. At
that point Secretary Clinton will be at least well over three million more
popular votes than he has. And no superdelegate is going to vote against
the candidate who has the most popular vote and who has the highest number
of elected delegates.

SHARPTON: Now, Hillary Clinton`s campaign manager, John Podesta, told “the
Boston Globe” Clinton`s short list of potential running mates, because
we`re hearing a lot of VP talk late in the week, and he said her short list
of potential candidates, no question was the quote “includes women.” If
they put two women on the ticket, how will that impact the race?

RENDELL: Well, a couple of years ago I would have said that that would be
too much for the American voter to deal with after not having a woman
presidential candidate ever, but that was what was said, Rev., when Bill
Clinton picked Al Gore from a neighboring state. People said, you can`t do
that. Two young guys from the south from neighboring states. That`s
ridiculous. There`s no balance. There`s no geographic balance. There`s
no age balance. There`s no experience balance. That worked out pretty

SHARPTON: Let me go back to senator Sanders for a minute. In your
judgment, how does he gracefully deal with this? Does he bow out? Does he
– I mean, how does he gracefully go forward in your opinion to make his
point if, in fact, he does lose three or four of the five primaries this
Tuesday and it just becomes more and more unfeasible that he will get the
majority of the elected delegates as well as the popular vote?

RENDELL: Well, first of all, Rev., I don`t think even as an avid Clinton
supporter, I don`t think senator Sanders should drop out or terminate his
campaign. I think he has every right to go to the end. That`s what
Hillary Clinton did in 2008. She lasted until the last day of the South
Dakota primary. And then four or five days later, she terminated her

Bernie Sanders owes it to Sanders` supporters in California who have been
working for a couple of months now to go to the polls in California, to
give his supporters, his backers, the right to vote for him on that day. I
think it`s an important right for people who have been involved in the


RENDELL: He has the right and should, in my judgment, be nominated at the
convention and have the right to have delegates cast their votes for him at
the convention. But he should tone down the rhetoric. He should listen to
Donald Trump. Donald Trump gave a clear message. Senator Sanders, all
you`re doing is helping Donald Trump.

SHARPTON: So tone down the rhetoric because Trump is saying, as you`ve
stated, that he`s delighted and it helps him, and do you think the more
these attacks keep coming, they are now inadvertently help the Republican
front-runner who is likely to be the nominee will use this in a general

RENDELL: Sure, because Bernie Sanders has said – and I believe him –
that he will, if he doesn`t win, endorse Secretary Clinton. But what he
endorses Secretary Clinton, if he keeps up this negative rhetoric, all the
Republicans will do is go on the air and recount all of the negative things
that he said about Secretary Clinton. And that`s going to make senator
Sanders`s endorsement much less valuable. Much less valuable.

You know, there`s a way to explain it. There`s a way to talk about it, but
it really cuts into his credibility. And look, I think senator Sanders,
Rev., has a great opportunity. Assuming he`s not going to be the nominee,
but he has a great opportunity, because he can continue to raise money,
start a PAC, help the progressive Democrats for the next four or five years
and continue the movement. You don`t have to be president to lead a
movement. You don`t have to be president to make an impact. I think Ted
Kennedy probably did more in 30 years in the Senate than he could have done
in eight years as president.

SHARPTON: Governor Ed Rendell, thank you for your time this morning.

RENDELL: Thanks, Rev.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Next, Donald Trump fires his old persona and rehires

And later, the legacy of Prince from someone who knew a different side of
the music icon.


SHARPTON: We`re hearing again about a new improved Donald Trump with a
serious policy speech this week complete with teleprompter, but we`ve been
down this road before. He offered a softer tone after winning New


TRUMP: We have to thank the candidates because they really ran – we have
some very talented people.


SHARPTON: But here was Trump the very next day.


TRUMP: If you get a shleber like Bush, you get a guy like Bush, OK, no,
really. This guy –


SHARPTON: Here he was after his win in South Carolina.


TRUMP: I want to also congratulate the other candidates, and in
particular, have to say Ted and Marco did quite well.


SHARPTON: But he flipped back the very next day.


TRUMP: You know, these politicians that I`m dealing with? I mean, they`re
up on the stage, these people, they don`t have a clue.


SHARPTON: Pundits marveled at this portion of Trump`s victory speech in
New York last week.


TRUMP: We don`t have much of a race anymore based on what I`m seeing on
television. Senator Cruz is just about mathematically eliminated.


SHARPTON: Senator Cruz, so respectful, but the very next day, lying Ted
came back.


TRUMP: In the case of lying Ted Cruz. Lies, oh, he lies.


SHARPTON: So don`t buy into the rhetoric that there`s a new Trump in the
race, because what`s old is new. And his aides say it`s all an act. We`ll
talk about that next.

But first, nice try, Mr. Trump. But we got you.


SHARPTON: Who is the real Donald Trump? That`s now a central question in
the GOP race after Trump`s top adviser told RNC members that the Trump you
see on the trail isn`t the Trump you see in private.


PAUL MANAFORT, TRUMP CONVENTION MANAGER: When he`s sitting in a room, he`s
talking business. He`s talking politics in a private room, it`s a
different persona. When he`s out on the stage, when he`s talking about the
kinds of things he`s talking about on the stump, he`s projecting an image.


SHARPTON: And in a “TODAY” show town hall, Trump himself promised that
president Trump would be very different.


TRUMP: At the right time, I will be so presidential, you will be so bored,
you will say, can`t he – can`t he have a little bit more energy?


SHARPTON: But in an interview with “Forbes,” Trump insisted there will be
no rebranding.

Let`s bring in our panel, MSNBC contributor Victoria Defrancesco,
communication strategist Erin McPike, and Republican strategist Hogan
Gidley. Thank you all for being here.




SHARPTON: Hogan, will Trump`s alleged public/private split hurt him with

GIDLEY: I don`t think so. I mean, look, we are talking about two separate
things here. One is a campaign, and then one is how you would serve as
president. I think a lot of establishment members are just dying for Trump
to be a little bit more presidential, a little bit more buttoned up. And
we saw that. You played the clip of that after his election in New York.
But he runs the risk of losing a lot of the support of folks who love the
“tell it like it is Trump,” as polls show, they love that about him. They
love his brashness and they love his boldness. So the next day he brings
back the lying Ted moniker. And of course, I think he is he is doing a
fairly good job of playing both sides here showing that he can be
presidential. He is running companies, for heaven`s sakes. He is very
successful. He didn`t go into boardrooms and call people liars and fakes
and phonies, but there is a campaign going on here, and he has to rally the
folks who have put him to where he is at this point. He has got millions
and millions of supporters, and they like it.

SHARPTON: But Victoria, doesn`t that run the risk of him looking like it`s
an act that is inauthentic to just switch back and forth like that? It`s
not just about style, but it`s about does he believe the content in what
he`s saying to his followers?

DEFRANCESCO: Right. So there`s that style, that brashness, that Trump-
ness that we`ve come to see. But I also think that there may be a bit of
an act with regards to his issue position. So right after the 2012
election, Trump gave an interview to “Newsmax” where he was criticizing
Romney for talking about self-deportation because he would alienate Latinos
and that it was putting forward a mean-spirited GOP.

We also saw Trump previously be pro-choice, now pro-life. And I know that
folks have changes of heart, and I don`t know what is really deep down in
his soul, but it does make people question, you know, where does he really
stand on the issues? And I think that for the establishment, if anything,
it gives them a little bit of solace that Trump may not be as hardcore
conservative as he is on the stump right now.

SHARPTON: Now, Erin, the latest NBC news poll shows Trump has the highest
unfavorables of any 2016 candidate. But he also has the highest of any
candidate since NBC started asking that question. So even if Trump does
rebrand, can he change those numbers?

MCPIKE: Absolutely. And what I would remind you of is this fall, Trump
had jumped up in terms of his unfavorability rating and his favorable
rating went down. And I remember Chuck Todd and others saying on this
network not too long later, just a few weeks later that they were
surprised, they had never seen numbers flip because later this fall in
November, December, his favorability ratings shot back up. And his
unfavorables went down. He has a remarkable ability to reinvent himself
and make those poll numbers jump back up. I am convinced that in a couple
of months, those numbers will turn around for him.

SHARPTON: But Hogan, Senator Cruz is attacking him for this difference in
public and private Trump – different Trump privately than publicly.
Listen to what Senator Cruz said on a radio show this week.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald sent his campaign
manager down to meet with the RNC officials, and his campaign manager said,
don`t worry, everything Donald said about building a wall, about illegal
immigration, it`s all an act. He doesn`t mean it. He doesn`t believe it.
He`s just saying this to fool gullible voters.


SHARPTON: Can`t his rivals capitalize on saying that he really doesn`t
believe what he`s saying? This is just an act?

GIDLEY: They can try.


GIDLEY: Talk about your all-time – yes, talk about your all-time glass
houses here, Ted Cruz also said that when John Kasich was mathematically
eliminated that anybody who was mathematically eliminated should be out of
the race, should get out of the race. He`s still in it. He also lied
about Ben Carson so famously in Iowa, put up the fake picture here in South
Carolina about Marco Rubio.

I mean, this guy can`t tell the truth at all, which is why the lying Ted
moniker which was started by Trump was continued by all of the other
candidates because they saw it for what it was and they saw the polling
around it which suggested people didn`t trust Ted Cruz. And so he has a
serious issue there. So for him trying to, you know, make that attack on
Donald Trump, it`s just trying to muddy the waters for himself because he
has been completely inconsistent on the issues.

SHARPTON: Erin, since he brought up Ted Cruz, you know, his defense of
Donald Trump was attack Cruz. He didn`t really answer my question, but let
me go to Cruz a minute because he`s doing his best to tell voters in each
state that they are going to be the most important. Check out these clips
from Indiana and Pennsylvania.


CRUZ: Indiana`s voice, Indiana`s megaphone to the country will decide
which path this party goes down, which path this country goes down.

Pennsylvania has a choice. Pennsylvania has a megaphone. Pennsylvania has
a platform to speak to the country. What path do we want the party to go
down? What path do we want the country to go down?


SHARPTON: I mean, Erin, in reality, Cruz is so far behind, isn`t every
state the most important state to him going forward?

MCPIKE: Yes, but politicians say that every campaign cycle in every race
imaginable. That`s not that surprising. To Hogan`s point, remember what
Ted Cruz said to donors behind closed doors in New York when he said that
he wasn`t going to make gay marriage an issue in the campaign.

GIDLEY: Right.

MCPIKE: And this was before Iowa. And then the voters in Iowa were all
upset about this. This happens for every candidate in every race. They
say one thing behind closed doors to appease one group, one group of
stakeholders like donors, and then another to voters. So I don`t think
this is a big deal at all.

And in terms of Donald Trump moving from the right to the center, that also
happens in every campaign. You may remember Eric Fernstrom who was a
national spokesman for Mitt Romney who said sometime early in 2012 that
after Mitt Romney got the nomination, he was going to move to the center,
too. And this was a natural thing to do. This happens every single

GIDLEY: Etch-a-sketch.

MCPIKE: Cycle.

SHARPTON: But Victoria, I think the reason it`s perceived differently is
that Trump has built on passion and anger, and if his following does not
feel that he`s really that passionate and angry about the things that they
are passionate and angry about and have ignored the lack of a lot of
detailed policy, that that would in many ways possibly hurt him or affect
turnout because his is built differently than the kind of candidates that
we`ve seen build their following in the past.

DEFRANCESCO: Right. So it`s going to be an extremely delicate balance,
right? So he wants to keep that momentum of these voters who support him
because these are folks who have been brought into the GOP. These aren`t
just your base voters, your old reliables. So he needs to keep that if he
wants a shot at the general election, if he wants a shot at the White

But at the same time, and we saw this this past week, he`s trying to play
nice with the establishment because ultimately, the establishment does make
the rules. And he knows that the rules are going to affect his chances.
So in bringing in Paul Manafort, he is indicating yes, I will listen to you
and kind of play by your rules, but he can`t let go of the base that
brought him up. You`ve got to dance with the one that brought you.

SHARPTON: Victoria, Erin, Hogan, thank you for your time this morning.

MCPIKE: Thank you.


GIDLEY: Thanks. God bless.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Prince, the activist. The mother of Trayvon Martin
joins “Politics Nation” next.


SHARPTON: This week we lost Prince, a musical genius who had a bigger
commitment to social justice than most people realize. Last year he held a
benefit concert after the death of Freddie Gray and the Baltimore violence.
With a song, he put out that matched his concern.


SHARPTON: At the Grammys, Prince told millions of Americans that black
lives matter. And after the death of Trayvon Martin, Prince inspired the
yes, we code, initiative, to help teach computer skills to young people of
color. But he also touched Trayvon`s family in a very personal way, in a
way that I was involved in and that wasn`t widely known until after his

Joining me now is Trayvon`s Mother, Sybrina Fulton, founder of the Trayvon
Martin foundation. Thanks for being here.

SYBRINA FULTON, TRAYVON MARTIN`S MOTHER: Thank you for having me, Rev.

SHARPTON: Sabrina, tell the folks at home what Prince did for your family
and for the foundation and what it meant to you at that time.

FULTON: At the time it was very early on. Trayvon had just been murdered,
and he reached out to us – Prince reached out to us through you, and he
was a big supporter of the foundation before anybody was, you know, ever
really involved with the foundation. And so he was a very private person.
And so we were told, you know, where it came from, but we just did not
publicly say that he was a supporter until now. It`s just, you know, a
shame that we had to wait until his death in order to say something. But
you know, as you know, we could for the have said it if he was here.

SHARPTON: He insisted that it not be told publicly, and I told you, he
didn`t even want the family at first to know. And I remember you were
swept off your feet because you were a big prince fan.

FULTON: Absolutely. Purple is my favorite color, so it`s easy for me to
connect with him. And I just feel like the “Purple Rain” song just
represents him. That`s just his song. So whenever you hear it anywhere,
it just makes you – it`s a special place in your heart for Prince. Even
though he was a little different, even though he was a little mysterious,
he had a big heart. And that`s what people need to focus on, his heart.

SHARPTON: You have gone through this pain as a mother, and I have worked
with you and other mothers down through the years. And what does it mean
to you personally? Because this is not a cause for you. This is your son.
But what does it mean when someone as globally known and respected as
Prince pays attention to you and the cause that you want to build to help
other young people because of what happened to your son? What does that
mean to you personally?

FULTON: It means a lot. It shows that people – that he was very
heartfelt. And he was very deliberate in what he did and his support that
he gave. And even though he was a very private person, he wanted to show
his support. He wanted us to know that, listen, I stand with you. A lot
of people say they stand with us, but then when it`s time to really support
us, they`re nowhere to be found. And so I just appreciate, you know, what
he did for us, you know, just showing the support, just, you know, just
being there for us. I really appreciate that and the foundation as well.

SHARPTON: Now, he also went into Baltimore. He kept doing things. What
does the public identity of someone like Prince do for the whole movement
of trying to raise the questions of social justice and police reform? What
kind of gravity does that give to the movement?

FULTON: Well, people like Prince are idols. And so a lot of people who
follow Prince, they watch who they support. You know, they watch what they
do a lot of times. And so just by him merely saying that this is an
important case to me, you know, and so I want to support this family. I
want to make sure that I stand with this family. And that`s what he did.
And it means a lot to us, you know, to not just have some people to support
us in theory but actually support us and stand with us.

FULTON: So I know you took it very personal this week, as I did, when you
heard of his passing.

FULTON: Absolutely. I mean, I was just – I didn`t want to believe it,
like everybody else. I thought it was a rumor because we`ve heard people
have died in the past, and they really haven`t. And so I just didn`t want
to believe it. You know, I just was, like, you know, this is a rumor.
It`s not true, you know. The internet can have that going, and I`ve seen
it before. So I just was, like, really not really shaken by it because I
didn`t believe it.

But then when it just continued to happen throughout the night, I think I
went to bed, like, after 12:00 because I watched all the different things
that the news had, the tributes and everything and the different people
that came on, Aretha Franklin and Diane Warrick and different people that
came on, Van Jones and different ones that came on, I was just, like, you
know, just so moved by those people and what they were saying about him.

SHARPTON: Sybrina Fulton, thank you for your time this morning.

FULTON: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Still ahead, change for a 20 means change for America.


SHARPTON: This week a hugely symbolic change for the country. News that
Harriet Tubman would replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill. Some on the
right don`t like the idea.


TRUMP: I would love to leave Andrew Jackson. I think it is pure political

honor her. Maybe a $2 bill.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Obama administration did it again, went stupid,
would rather gratuitously stir up conflict in the nation.


SHARPTON: But most see that it`s time to go for Andrew Jackson, a white
supremist, slave owner who forced Native American populations onto the
trail of tears. These are symbols, but symbols have power. I talked about
it recently with Vanessa De Luca, editor in chief of “Essence” magazine,
beginning with her reaction to the news.


cannot underestimate the magnitude of this. When my 12-year-old daughter
ran into my room to say, “mom, did you hear Harriet Tubman is on the 20
bill? Did you know that?” I was, like, “yes, honey! Yes!”

SHARPTON: 12 years old.

DE LUCA: 12 years old.

SHARPTON: What will this mean for women, particularly women of color?

DE LUCA: Well, when you see a woman leader but a black woman leader on a
$20 bill that you will see every single day, that that transaction, that we
are celebrated in that particular way, it`s almost as amazing as knowing
that the president of the United States is a black man and the first lady
is a black woman.

SHARPTON: What`s your reaction to all the blowback from those on the

DE LUCA: Well, you know, I mean, it`s funny because this same 12-year-old
said to me – and I said to her, listen, you know, there`s a lot of
controversy around this. There`s a lot of racists who don`t appreciate
this. And she said, “well, mommy,” very wryly, “she`s not black on the
bill, she`s green.”

SHARPTON: The $10 bill now recognizes women`s rights, Susan B. Anthony and
sojourner truth will be on the back. What`s your reaction to that?

DE LUCA: Well, listen. I mean, it`s wonderful to see all of these women
getting a spot, some shine on the dollar bill. But until women actually
get equal pay, until we`re not getting 79 cents for every dollar, that`s a
real step forward. I mean, this is great – great symbolic recognition,
and I don`t want to take anything away from that because I think it is
important. It`s important to our daughters, our families, to see women
being recognized in this way.

SHARPTON: And for our sons to see.

DE LUCA: Absolutely. And our sons as well.

SHARPTON: You know, it reminds me of the 50th anniversary of the Selma
march. I and many others joined President Obama. What he said that day –
let me play this to you.


stock photos or airbrushed history or feeble attempts to define some of us
as more American than others. We respect the past, but we don`t pine for
the past. 239 years after this nation`s founding, our union is not yet
perfect, but we are getting closer.


SHARPTON: Isn`t that the point, you`re saying we need the substance. We
need real change. And certainly gender equality and those things are what
we really need. But don`t these symbols make us come to grips with how far
we`ve come as a nation and how far as a nation we still need to go?

DE LUCA: Having these conversations just around the fact that this moment
is happening, it enables us to kind of bring more issues to the forefront
and to kind of extend the conversation so it doesn`t just end with the $20
bill and the recognition on the $20 bill.

SHARPTON: Making sure we get equal distribution of those bills.

DELUCA: Absolutely.

SHARPTON: Vanessa de Luca, thank you, editor in-chief of “Essence”
magazine. Thank you for your time this morning.

DELUCA: Thank you.


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


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