PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton, Transcript 11/20/2016
Show: POLITICS NATION
Date: November 20, 2016
Guest: Hank Johnson, Paul Butler, Jeff Merkley, Sylvia Burwell, Michael
D`Antonio, Karine Jean-Pierre, Allan Lichtman
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So far right, they`re wrong. Democrats slammed Trump`s
new fit for extremism and racially charged views. We`ll break it down.
Plus, the truth about what Trump can and cannot do to ObamaCare. We`ll
hear from health secretary Sylvia Burwell. Also, Senator Jeff Merkley on
the fight over the Supreme Court. And new fears about hate across America,
a swastika, the words die and Trump was painted on the hood.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Officials say students on a bus on Thursday chanted
Trump, Trump, Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From Rockefeller Center in New York, this is
“PoliticsNation” with Al Sharpton.
AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Good morning. I`m Al Sharpton. For Americans
worried about how Donald Trump will govern, now we know the answer.
Despite outreach to establishment republicans like Mitt Romney, Trump has
shown his core values, especially with his pick for attorney general,
Senator Jeff Sessions.
Let`s review his team. Trump`s top strategist will be Steve Bannon, former
head of Breitbart. It`s a site that`s been called, quote, a white ethno
nationalist propaganda mill. His national security adviser will be General
Michael Flynn, a man who says Islam is a cancer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL FLYNN, RETIRED UNITED STATES ARMY LIEUTENANT GENERAL: Islam is a
political ideology. It is a political ideology. It definitely hides
behind this notion of it being a religion. It`s like cancer. I`ve gone
through cancer in my own life. It`s like cancer. And it`s like a
malignant cancer, though, in this case. It has metastasized.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: And Sessions as attorney general. A pick that threatens all the
work done by Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch. Sessions is against softening
mandatory sentences, he backed Trump`s Muslim ban. In the `80s, he was
accused of calling the NAACP, quote,
un-American and communist inspired. Referring to an African-American
federal prosecutor as boy. And saying the KKK was fine, quote, until I
found out they smoked pot. All of that came up during senate hearings in
1986 when Sessions was up for federal judgeship.
Sessions has denied making racially prejudiced statements. Here`s what he
said back then about his alleged NAACP comments.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFF SESSIONS, JUNIOR UNITED STATES SENATOR: These comments that you could
say about a copy organization or something, I may have something like that
in a general way and that probably was wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The senate panel rejected Sessions` nomination, maybe in part
because of a story that came up during the hearings.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The would be judges biggest problem came in a case he
prosecuted and lost, a vote fraud case involving black civil rights leaders
in Perry County, Alabama. Defendants in the Perry County case were Albert
and Evelyn Turner, political and civil rights leaders for more than 20
years. Albert was an aide to Martin Luther King. Their scrapbook has all
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is bloody Sunday. Albert, as you can see,
that`s him right there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Albert turner guided the mules at Dr. King`s funeral.
The federal government charged the Turners with doctoring absentee ballots,
vote fraud and mail fraud.
ALBERT TURNER, CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER: My only opinion is that the case was
political. I actually don`t think they came in within an ounce of
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Albert Turner does not want Jeff Sessions on the
TURNER: A man like Jeff Sessions will be there for such a long period of
time and I – honestly I think that he will be in the way of progress in
this area for quite a while.
SHARPTON: A Trump spokesman said Sessions is well-respected and was a
well-respected senator whose 1986 rejection was a mistake.
Joining me now is Congressman Hank Johnson, democrat from Georgia, a member
of the judiciary committee. Thank you for being here.
HANK JOHNSON, U.S. REPRESENTATIVE FOR GEORGIA`S 4TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT:
Thank you for having me, Reverend Al.
SHARPTON: Congressman, in light of all of this, what are your concerns
about Senator Sessions as attorney general?
JOHNSON: Well, he has a history of being opposed to the enforcement of the
civil rights laws that protect vulnerable people from discrimination, from
hate, from violence. He will now be, if he`s confirmed, the head of the
department of justice. And he`s not a man of justice. He`s a man of
injustice and it`s quite, frankly, frightening to many of my constituents
and I know people around the nation are just upset with this nomination, is
consistent with the white nationalist bent of the Trump campaign, which
appealed to those people in America who don`t want to see black folks with
the rights that we have, they don`t want to see women, they don`t want to
see immigrants, they don`t want to see Muslims with the same rights. They
want America to be the way that it used to be back during times where the -
- nobody had rights other than white males.
SHARPTON: How can democrats – I mean, given these concerns that you
raise, others have raised, I`ve raised some, how can democrats do anything
about this nomination? I mean, what can they do to pressure Trump and the
republicans in regard to Senator Sessions` nomination?
JOHNSON: Well, I think the people have been out in the streets throughout
the United States of America, letting it be known that Trump won this race
without a majority of the votes, he does not have a mandate, he should not
be given a green light to put anyone who he pleases into these offices
without them being subjected to rigorous scrutiny. And when it comes to
senate confirmation, we expect our senators to hold this man`s feet to the
SHARPTON: So in the confirmation hearings, the senator, the democratic
senators need to really use that as a platform to deal with a lot of these
issues and more, and I think that`s how he was dealt with in 1986, because
let me show you something, congressman, one man who hailed Trump`s
nomination of picking Steve Bannon, Mike Flynn, and Jeff Sessions is former
KKK leader David Duke. Listen to what he said.
DAVID DUKE, FORMER IMPERIAL WIZARD OF THE KU KLUX KLAN: He`s appointed men
who are going to start this process of taking our country back. And I tell
you, for the first time in years our side is empowered, our side is
enthusiastic, our side is excited, our side is hopeful, but more than
hopeful, we are becoming confident. We`re on the way, folks, to taking
SHARPTON: We`re confident, we`re on our way to taking America back. I
mean, who are these picks that president-elect Trump has announced, who is
he appealing to here?
JOHNSON: He`s appealing to a dying breed in America, a racist element of
our society that does not accept diversity, a bunch of old men, and, quite
frankly, some misguided young people who believe that this country should
not be the melting pot that it has always been. But only now all people
within that melting pot have the rights to live freely and prosper and have
equality in all matters of life here in America. And these folks want to
try to take that away and put it back to a situation of white supremacy.
That`s bottom line, Reverend Al.
SHARPTON: Let me quickly, I have to let you go, but let me show you
something that really caught my eye. This is a selfie photo taken of vice
president-elect pence when he visited the house this week of he and the GOP
members of the house, house republicans. Not a lot of diversity in that
picture. I mean, they really don`t represent what America looks like right
now, do they, congressman?
JOHNSON: No, they sure don`t and they don`t want it to ever look other
than the way that they pose it to be, and this group of white males with a
few women in the background, and everybody else is in their place. And
we`re just not going to have it, Reverend Al. Can`t go back.
SHARPTON: All right. I`ll have to let it go there. Congressman Johnson,
we`ll be monitoring and watching and hoping as well as doing other things
to show our active right as citizens in this country. Thank you for your
JOHNSON: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Now let`s bring in former federal prosecutor Paul Butler. Thank
you for being here, first of all.
PAUL BUTLER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Good morning, Reverend.
SHARPTON: As attorney general, Jeff Sessions would have influence over
civil rights, voting rights, immigration. How will he change the
priorities of the justice department?
BUTLER: Reverend, first, let`s talk about his basic competency to be the
chief law enforcement officer. When Donald Trump made his infamous remark
about how he likes to grab women by their private parts, Sessions says he
didn`t see how that was a crime. How can the nation`s chief law
enforcement officer not know what sexual assault is? It`s not about him
being a conservative republican. I was privileged to work at the justice
department during both Clinton and Bush administrations, but this man is a
If he is confirmed, criminal justice reform is dead. This is a man who
loves the failed war on drugs. He loves mandatory minimum sentences, he
loves private prisons. What doesn`t he like? Black lives matter. Trump
says if he`s president, he`s going to investigate that movement that`s
trying to make things more fair for African-American people.
SHARPTON: He also talks about there`s cheating, quote, cheating in
elections, cheating in every election. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SESSIONS: There`s cheating in every election, and every party goes out in
advance of the election and they call on poll watchers and those kind of
things to make sure that they`re not cheated out of an election and that
just really helps create integrity in the system.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: I mean what would Attorney General Jeff Sessions mean to the
future of voting rights with that kind of attitude?
BUTLER: There`s no evidence of widespread voter fraud. Sessions knows
that. So we have to ask, why is he perpetrating this law? This is a man
who would be over the voting rights division. He would be over the civil
rights division, which under President Obama has done more investigations
of local police departments than all of the administrations combined.
So, again, all of these progressive interventions for civil rights, they`d
be not only dead on arrival, he would take us back. Because one thing
we`ve seen with other conservative administrations is not only do they stop
bringing the cases, they stop bringing civil rights cases on behalf of
white people. They start saying things like civil – like affirmative
action, like set asides for minority and women owned businesses.
They start making the argument those are unconstitutional. And guess what,
if Trump gets his way with the Supreme Court, they`re going to win those
arguments. So again, we`re talking about a radical extremist here who
would be in charge of protecting everybody`s civil rights. He hasn`t shown
any evidence that he`s capable of doing that.
SHARPTON: And in your view, how will the fact that he may be the attorney
general that succeeds Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch, what will this do to
their work and their legacies to be succeeded by senator Jeff Sessions?
BUTLER: It would undermine it. Here`s one example. Loretta Lynch came
out against private prisons. She said, you know, when we`re thinking about
how the federal government takes care of people in its charge, if there`s a
profit motive, that doesn`t lead to people having good outcomes. Not only
is it about fairness to people who are serving their time, it`s also about
safety. With private prisons lock up people, when they come out, they`re
more likely to commit more crimes. So she said no more private prisons.
That`s something that almost certainly Sessions would reverse.
Again, if we think about the work that`s been done with local police
departments, the federal government getting rid of their tanks, taking away
their bombs, saying stop acting like warriors against people of color, act
more like guardians, Sessions, he`s totally against that. So, again, it`s
not just stopping progress, it`s going backwards.
SHAPRPTON: Well, Paul Butler, thank you for your time this morning.
BUTLER: Always a pleasure.
SHARPTON: Still ahead, why republicans may be in for a rude awakening when
it comes to repealing ObamaCare. We`ll talk to the woman in charge. HHS
Secretary Sylvia Burwell. Also, Senator Jeff Merkley on how democrats will
fight to protect the Supreme Court. And a surprising prediction from the
historian who foresaw the Trump victory. You`ll want to hear this one,
folks. Stay with us.
SHARPTON: We`re back with a look at the progressive strategy for dealing
with Trump. Some democrats in congress think there are areas where they
can work with him. Senator Jeff Merkley, a leading progressive voice in
congress, says he`s open to finding common ground with Trump on
infrastructure. I caught up with Senator Merkley this week, and I asked
what he would tell progressives who want democrats to be totally non-
cooperative with Trump.
JEFF MERKELY, JUNIOR UNITED STATES SENATOR FROM OREGON: We`ve been working
day and night to have an infrastructure bill that would put Americans to
work and provide a foundation for families to thrive. And if Donald Trump
wants to partner with us, and basically bring over the republicans who have
been blocking these living wage jobs, that`s a positive.
But let me tell you what we first heard about the plan is the strategy of
bringing in big Wall Street firms who would build infrastructure at a much
higher price than it would be built through our normal system. And it
would be funded by a tall tax on working Americans. And that`s incredibly
wrong. So the devil will be in the details. But if it`s a smart
infrastructure strategy to build the foundation for future economy, if it`s
modeled on the strategy we put fort that works for working American, rather
than tearing down working America, then certainly let`s talk.
SHARPTON: All right. Let`s go right there. If the infrastructure bill
that Donald Trump proposes as president, and the democrats are sitting at
the table, and we`re going through this bill between President Trump and
the senate and congress, and he`s saying the big manufacturers, big
business is going to finance it, the working class is going to pay the
tolls on this, and the tax therefore are going to pay for it, but I`ll
negotiate with it, I`ll give you some of what you want, but I want you to
also vote for my supreme court nominee.
That`s part of my negotiation, which because Donald Trump is a negotiator.
He`s a business man. If he puts the Supreme Court on the table, you`ve
said that the Supreme Court nomination of Justice Garland was stolen. And
that you want at any cost to make sure there`s a vote on that. How do you
deal whether if he puts on the table, negotiating with something that we
may have some levels of common ground, maybe, maybe not, like a filibuster,
how do you deal with the Supreme Court?
MERKLEY: I think Donald Trump is in for a very big surprise. The way he`s
negotiated with the subcontractors is to make a deal, a deal which is going
to pay them and they go out and they raise the money to buy extra personnel
and build all the bathrooms in one of his towers and then he says to them,
I`m not going to pay you and I`m going to cheat you. I`m going to pay you
60 cents on a dollar and you have to sign a non-disclose contract,
otherwise, you won`t get paid for six years and you`ll go bankrupt.
Well, you know what? We`re not going to strike a deal in which we mortgage
the judicial future of America on an infrastructure bill. And so I guess
the proposal you`re putting forward is no deal at all.
SHARPTON: Let me ask you a direct question, we`re out of time. Will you
filibuster a Donald Trump nominee for the Supreme Court, if they do not
give you a vote on Mr. Garland who is the nominee of President Obama?
MERKLEY: You`ve seen the list of the potential nominees, they`re all from
the far right, they don`t believe in our constitutional, no vision of we
the people and I`ll do everything I can to block someone who wants to turn
our constitution on its head and shred it.
SHARPTON: And that does include the possibility of a filibuster?
MERKLEY: Yes, it does.
SHARPTON: Senator Jeff Merkley, thank you for your time this morning.
MERKLEY: You`re welcome. Thank you.
SHARPTON: Next, the woman in charge of ObamaCare talks about republican
roadblocks on the path to repeal. Plus, what`s new behind the new wave of
hate and intolerance in post-election America? I`ll talk about that ahead.
SHARPTON: The Trump election has not stopped people from signing up for
ObamaCare. Enrollment began earlier this month. And Americans are already
signing up at a faster pace than last year. More than a million have
picked plans, with nearly 250,000 new signups. Repealing and replacing
ObamaCare is going to be harder than many on the right thought. Including
apparently president-elect Trump.
LESLEY STAHL, JOURNALIST: Are you going to make sure that people with
preconditions are still covered?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes, because it
happens to be one of the strongest assets. Also, with a children living
with their parents to an extended period. We`re going to
STAHL: You`re going to keep that?
TRUMP: very much try and keep that.
SHARPTON: But republicans and congress say repealing ObamaCare is their
top priority. And vow to have a bill on president-elect Trump`s desk by
the time he is sworn in.
Joining me now is Secretary of Health and Human Services, Sylvia Burwell.
Thank you for being here, Madame Secretary.
SYLVIA BURWELL, SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: Thank you for
having me, Reverend Sharpton.
SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you this. Trump wants to keep pre-existing
conditions but scrapped most of the rest of the law. Now, as I read the
law, you can`t do that. Explain why that may not work.
BURWELL: You know, for people who have pre-existing conditions to be a
part of getting insurance, what you need to be able to do is to make sure
that there are subsidies or tax credits to help people financially afford
that care. And so you really can`t have one piece without the other. I
kind of think of it all as a three-legged stool and if you take away one of
those legs, the stool isn`t going to stand up. And so, so glad that folks
are committed to keeping pre-existing conditions, but that means keeping
other parts of the Affordable Care Act as well. And I think there are also
SHARPTON: Because you can`t support the healthcare for those with pre-
existing conditions without what they call the mandates. I mean, you just
can`t – it doesn`t – it doesn`t work. It can`t happen.
BURWELL: So the mandate, as well as the financial assistance or both parts
of what makes the entire system work. And that`s part of what we`ll allow
is to make sure that people who have pre-existing conditions things like
asthma and diabetes, allergies, anything like that can still be able to be
ensure that they can get care.
SHARPTON: Now, the uninsured rate is a nine point low – a nine-year low.
It`s 10.9 percent. That`s just down over 6.2 individual mandate took
effect. What will happen to the millions of people who got healthcare if
this law is repealed?
BURWELL: So there are 20 million folks out there who have gotten
insurance, health insurance since the Affordable Care Act. And repeals the
law would mean that those folks would lose their insurance. And so not
only that it would mean for all those people who have insurance to their
jobs, they also will suffer because pre-existing conditions could keep them
off. Their children might not be able to stand their plan till 26.
And also, all the preventative care that people are now getting without
additional fees or copays, when they go in together, get it, whether that`s
a flu shot or a pre-cancer screening, would now be things that would be
charged and so things would be costlier for folks who even have employer-
SHARPTON: Now, republicans say they have their own plan. I`m sure you`ve
looked at them. Have they come up with some magic formula that no one else
has been able to figure out? I mean, what is it that they have that will
deal with these millions of people that many we know have needs that will
work more effectively than the Affordable Care?
BURWELL: So right now, we actually haven`t seen a plan that could be
measured or that one could tell exactly what it would mean for the
uninsured or what it would mean in terms of affordability or quality in
terms of what kinds of things would be preserved. Would you still be able
to get preventative things? And so it`s been six years and we haven`t seen
plan or a proposal that is more than an outline of ideas.
And I think now what we`re going to see as a nation is it`s time to move
from slogans and rhetoric to the reality of what healthcare means in
people`s lives. And I`m hopeful that`s what the conversation will turn to.
The things that matter around people`s kitchens table in terms of the
benefits that they have received.
For instance, 11 million seniors who have Medicare have received benefits
from the Affordable Care Act by something called the closing of the
doughnut hole, which meant that their drug prices were on average less
$2,000 over that period of time.
SHARPTON: Bottom line, 10, 20 years from now, will some form of the
Affordable Care Act still be in effect in your judgment?
BURWELL: In my judgment, this is part of the fabric of the nation`s health
care at this point. Americans don`t want to go back to a place where if
their child has a very serious illness over a period of time, that there
are lifetime limits that get hit by the time the kid is 15 years old or a
place where you might have to delay your chemotherapy treatment because
there are annual limits that wouldn`t pay for it in the year, or perhaps
you have a pre-existing condition and you could be kept out. Those are all
things that I think are a part of the fabric of our health care now.
SHARPTON: Secretary Burwell, thank you for your time this morning. Have a
BURWELL: Thank you so much. And you too.
SHARPTON: Up next, does Donald Trump care about losing the popular vote?
And how much of his transition talk should we take seriously? The man who
literally wrote the book on Trump is next.
SHARPTON: President-elect Trump is going through the motions of outreach
to GOP critics like Mitt Romney and Nikki Haley. But if you want to know
what he`s actually thinking, look at the concrete decisions he`s made so
far. The top selections for his administration are all diehard Trump
loyalists, with long histories of extremism and controversial views.
Joining me now, Michael D`Antonio and a Pulitzer Prize winning author. He
wrote the truth about Trump and Karine Jean-Pierre, Senior Adviser for
MoveOn.org. Thank you both for being here.
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, SENIOR ADVISER FOR MOVEON.ORG: Thanks, Reverend.
SHARPTON: Michael, is this classic Trump a classic Trump ploy, get
headlines for moderation while pursuing something else entirely?
MICHAEL D`ANTONIO, PULITZER PRIZE WINNING AUTHOR: It absolutely is. This
is a guy who faints three or four times before he makes his ultimate move,
but he`s always headed in the same direction. So in this case, if you look
at his appointments, he`s headed in a certain direction. He`s rewarding
these people with extreme views who supported him in the beginning, Steve
Bannon is perhaps the worst example of this, alt-right guy who`s a real
flame thrower and dangerous, and yet this is the person who`s going to be -
SHARPTON: But these people are governed. You`re not talking about
campaign appointments now.
D`ANTONIO: No, they`re governing. And this is the administration that
we`re going to be confronted by and I think these are the hints that the
policies said he`s going to pursue. Now, he is responsive. So if he takes
a beating in any of these confrontations with congress or with the public,
you know, he is aware that people are in the streets.
SHARPTON: Now, Karine, from the election still being counted. But Hillary
Clinton`s lead over Trump is in the popular rote is growing. Hillary at
this point is 62.1 million votes to Donald Trump`s 61 million. Shouldn`t
that embolden democrats to stand up to the Trump agenda, knowing the public
voted – more of the public voted for his opponent?
JEAN-PIERRE: Yes, I completely agree, yes. It should, to answer your
question. Look, he didn`t win with a mandate, right? He didn`t – he won
because of the Electoral College clearly. He got to 270 and above. But he
– more people voted against him than for him, so it is a little troubling
to me that democrats on the hill are saying we`re going to work with him
when he`s sending a very clear message that he`s not going to work with the
democrats just by the people that he is choosing. And we should be
listening to that. And not be deaf on that.
SHARPTON: Let me follow Karine`s point and go back to something you said,
Michael, a Washington Post poll looked at whether voters think Trump has a
mandate. Just 29 percent of people said that. So let me go back to your
point about the public and the congress. Does Trump care about what the
public thinks at all? Will he just do his own thing?
D`ANTONIO: I think to a degree he does. This is guy who`s always been
about ratings. So he`s going to watch the polls. He`s going to see if
he`s going down the tubes, he doesn`t want to be a disgrace or a president
who`s humiliated by the worst defeat any president sought upon going for
the re-election. So he is aware. And I think that it may be that the
public has more to say in opposition to him than anyone in congress or
anyone else in Washington.
SHARPTON: You know, Karine, many of us in the civil rights community
expressed concerns, expressed things above partisans that we are concerned
about. But your group has posted a challenge to democratic leaders calling
for, quote, no collaboration with Trump`s hate. Do you think democrats who
support Trump on some issues are, quote, collaborators?
JEAN-PIERRE: I think it`s a dangerous thing to normalize – to normalize
Trump`s presidency, because of the hate that he espoused for the last 18
months. And so we have to – look what they did – look what the
republicans did to Obama, for President Obama for eight years, right? At
every turn they made sure that he couldn`t move further, he couldn`t move
forward. And So I can`t understand why we as democrats would want to even
try to normalize him and I think that`s the problem.
And here`s the thing. We understand people who`ve been in politics for a
long time understand that the person that we need to worry about is the
person that`s whispering in Donald Trump`s ear. And that is Steve Bannon,
who is a white supremacist. Forget the alt-right, that language we use, he
is a white supremacist. Period, end of story.
SHARPTON: You know, Ohio, I want to ask you this while I have you, Karine,
I know we`re out of time. But Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan is challenging
Nancy Pelosi`s leadership for speaker of the house. What does that say
about the state of the Democratic Party?
JEAN-PIERRE: Look, Nancy Pelosi, if she says she has the votes, she has
the votes. One thing that I would say about that is you need someone who
knows how to do the counting, right? Who knows how to – who knows how to
leverage the congress in order to move things forward. And Nancy Pelosi
and Chuck Schumer actually have that experience.
Even we were talking about George Bush or George W. Bush. They were, you
know, they were pretty strategic in putting together, developing and
executing strategy to really oppose George W. Bush.
SHARPTON: Michael, given that he`s dealing with people in various levels
of the legislature, senate, congress and all, who are in the opposition
party and opposes policy, those that have public influence, many of us that
oppose his policies, how does he deal with people that are skillful and
that have a track record, not our first rodeo, that he may find themselves
in fights that he is not totally familiar with how to deal with these kind
of opponents? Because it`s not a business deal.
D`ANTONIO: Right. This is not the game that he`s used to playing. And I
think what we`ve seen so far is that he`s trying to apply the old Trump
rules to a new game. And there may be people in congress who are very
skilled at working him and working the public and I think Donald`s going to
have some rude awakenings come the spring.
SHARPTON: Michael D`Antonio and Karine Jean-Pierre, thank you both for
JEAN-PIERRE: Thank, Reverend.
SHARPTON: Still ahead, the Obama legacy, why Trump and the republicans
won`t be able to wipe the last eight years off the history books?
SHARPTON: Millions of Americans are worried about the fate of the Obama
legacy under President Trump. But it`s worth remembering there are some
Obama achievements Trump can`t touch. Because they`re already enshrined in
history. Like presiding over an economy that added 11 million private
sector jobs. Saving the auto industry or eliminating Osama Bin Laden.
Trump also faces challenges on other core Obama policies. We`ve seen how
he`s backing away from total repeal of ObamaCare.
Now, President Obama`s planning to use the next two months to lock in other
policies, making it harder for Trump to cancel the Iran nuclear deal, and
harder to undo progress on climate change. The President is also reminding
Trump he`ll face some political headwinds.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The federal government and
our democracy is not a speedboat. It`s an ocean liner. As I discovered
when I came into office. It took a lot of really hard work for us to make
significant policy changes. Even if our first two years when we had larger
majorities than Mr. Trump will enjoy when he comes into office.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Joining me now is Professor Allan Lichtman from American
University. He made headlines for predicting Trump`s win. Thank you for
being here, professor.
ALLAN LICHTMAN, PROFESSOR FROM AMERICAN UNIVERSITY: my pleasure.
SHARPTON: Let me ask you, no matter what comes next, aren`t some of
President Obama`s achievements already written in history?
LICHTMAN: that`s right. A lot of what Obama has done is already sealed in
the laminate of history. Look, he will go down in history as the president
who saved us from a potentially catastrophic plunge into a great
depression. It doesn`t seem right now that that was a reality, but it
really was when Obama first took office. Critically important. Let us
also not forget that he really has reversed a lot of the very militaristic
unilateral policies of the Bush administration. That is not going to be so
easy to change.
SHARPTON: Let me stop you right there, because the president said that it
is not – it`s more easily said than done to reverse or roll back some of
the things that has been achieved. What does history tell us?
LICHTMAN: History tells us it`s incredibly difficult to roll back
accomplishments, particularly when they are supported, like the climate
change initiatives. The overwhelming percentage of the American people
support vigorous action on climate change.
Let me give you an example. Franklin Roosevelt, of course, was the great
builder of the liberal state. He instituted many and critically important
new deal programs including social security. Then the republicans came in
under Eisenhower and Eisenhower said, it would be madness to try to roll
back or torpedo these programs because I`d lose my support among the
American people. Well, Trump recognized that.
SHARPTON: Then tell me, professor, then what is in jeopardy? What is
something that we must be aware could be rolled back or more easily
LICHTMAN: Well, I am very worried about climate change for a couple of
reasons. Number one, if he does repudiate or doesn`t enforce the Paris
agreements, it`s going to be very, very difficult to bring the nations back
together again. That was a singular extraordinary accomplishment of Barack
Obama. But, if he listens to the will of the people, he will not do that.
Obviously, he has talked about scrapping some of the trade agreements,
scrapping the Iran nuclear treaty. I think those are going to be very,
very difficult. Trump is going to learn that bluster is not policy.
SHARPTON: Now, in 2009, after President Bush`s second term, a survey of
U.S. historians ranked him 36 out of 43 presidents. At the end of
President Obama`s second term, how will historians view him?
LICHTMAN: Well, I think a lot is going to depend on how sturdy some of his
initiatives like those on climate change, regulations on the environment,
prove to be. If in fact those critically important accomplishments cannot
be torpedoed, then I think Obama will go down not as a great president, but
perhaps as a well above average near great president. The one deficiency I
saw, the biggest deficiency I saw with the Obama administration was the
failure to build the Democratic Party. Democratic Party has taken a
pasting in three elections in a row. A singular accomplishment of FDR was
not just the new deal, but rebuilding the Democratic Party virtually from
ground zero. That`s where Obama fell short.
SHARPTON: And he`s success true but then Eisenhower came behind and took
the Democratic Party down. But let me ask you this, you predicted as I
said earlier the win for Donald Trump and you ended up being right. But
you`ve also predicted that he`s going to be impeached. What do you – how
do you support that prediction?
LICHTMAN: Right. That`s a gut level prediction, not a scientific
prediction like my prediction of his victory. Two things. A Lichtman rule
of politics is what you see is what you get. People don`t change. And
Trump has played fast and loose with the law throughout his life and that
could extend into his presidency.
Look, just today he spent $25 million to settle a suit he said he would
never settle, racketeering civil suit against Trump University. He has set
up a huge train wreck by putting his business in the hands of his children
and still all in the family and he`s asked for top security clearances.
That could be a tremendous clash between the private Trump economic
interests and the national security that could precipitate impeachment.
Plus, the republicans know that he`s a loose cannon. He`s not
controllable. They may well perform Mike Pence a totally predictable down
the pike Christian conservative republican.
SHARPTON: Professor Lichtman, thank you for your time this morning.
LICHTMAN: Anytime, Rev.
SHARPTON: Coming up after the break, hate speech, free speech, and what`s
at stake in the coming days? Stay with us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should there be a database system that tracks the
Muslims in this country?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: There should be a lot
of systems beyond base so we should have a lot of systems.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it something you might have to implement that?
TRUMP: Oh, I would implement that, absolutely.
SHARPTON: Donald Trump just over a year ago talking about registering
Muslims. Now he`s president-elect and one Trump ally says Trump is still
flirting with some version of that idea, though officially they denied
that. Another supporter went on national TV to say a registry would be
legal, because of the internment of Japanese and Americans during World War
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would perfectly honest, it is legal, they say it will
hold constitutional muster. I know ACOU is going to challenge it, but I
think it`ll pass and we`ve done it with Iran back a while ago. We did it
during World War II with Japanese, which, you know, call what you will
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Come on.
SHARPTON: This kind of intolerance is spreading and in the past week we`ve
seen reports of even more hate crimes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Officials say students on a bus on Thursday chanted
Trump, Trump, Trump, and when African-American students boarded, they told
them to sit in the back.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is the fifth racially charged incident that has
occurred with my daughter since the beginning of the school year.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I will not be mistreated and I will not let my
friends or anybody else be mistreated, white, black, anybody.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Police in Geneseo are trying to figure out who spray
painted a swastika and the word Trump on the SUNY Geneseo campus Friday
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: New tonight at 6:00, vile words of hate sprayed on an
SUV in Denver.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A swastika, the words die and Trump was painted on the
SHARPTON: Now, we don`t know who`s doing this, we do know Trump has told
people to, quote, stop it. But even the fundamental right of marching
peacefully in the streets is under assault. A republican state lawmaker
has proposed a bill that would charge protesters with, quote, economic
terrorism if protests got in the way of roads or businesses. Free speech
and hate speech, both now at the center of our national debate.
We need vigorous support from all sides, all leaders, all of us that
advocate, say we will not tolerate hate speech, we will not tolerate coming
down on free speech, president-elect Trump needs to say not only stop it,
but that he would not tolerate it, and would track down those that do it.
We can disagree and have a vigorous debate, and fight for the future of the
country. But the ugliness and the violence and the hate, both sides should
say we will not tolerate.
That does it for me. Thanks for watching. I`ll see you back here next
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