PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton, Transcript 1/22/2017
Show: POLITICS NATION
Date: January 22, 2017
Guest: Hakeem Jeffries, Yvette Clark, Gregory Meeks, Judith Browne Dianis,
Mark Thompson, Aisha Moodie-Mills, Katon Dawson
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We had, it looked, honestly,
it looked like 1.5 million people. Whatever it was, it was, but it went
all the way back to the Washington Monument. And I turn on – and by
mistake, I get this network, and it shows an empty field, and it said we
drew 250,000 people. Now, that`s not bad, but it`s a lie.
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: These attempts to lessen the
enthusiasm of the inauguration are shameful and wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Hello. I`m Al Sharpton, and welcome to
Donald Trump`s administration obviously needs a reality check. Compare the
pictures of Trump`s inaugural crowd to the 2009 inauguration of President
Barack Obama when the city estimated that 1.8 million people came to
Meanwhile, Saturday`s Women`s March on Washington had an estimated 500,000
participants, according to a D.C. official and organizers. Well over one
million people demonstrated at Sister Marches nationwide. Civil rights
hero representative John Lewis addressed marchers in Atlanta.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA: When you see something that is not right,
not fair, not just, you have a moral obligation, a mission and a mandate to
say something, to do something. We cannot afford to be silent. We`re
going to send a message. I know something about marching.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Joining me now, three members of New York`s Congressional
delegation. Hakeem Jeffries, Gregory Meeks, and Yvette Clarke. Thank you
all for being here this morning.
REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D), NEW YORK: Thanks for having us, Reverend.
SHARPTON: Congresswoman Clarke, it comes after several things this week as
the administration came in that I don`t think I`ve ever seen, and I`ve not
been able to research an administration coming in with this kind of
The historic gathering of women all over the country, mostly organic, some
organized. The boycott of 60 members, over 60 members of Congress from the
inauguration, the gatherings all week long, the civil rights March last
I mean, it`s like every day something going on. How does this translate
into a real change as we go through the confirmation hearings?
REP. YVETTE CLARKE (D), NEW YORK: Well, I think that we need to mobilize
all of these folks who are very clear-eyed about this administration. And
I think we have the tools in which to do that.
These folks are very in tuned with all that has taken place with respect to
the election of Donald Trump, and they`re very clear that their existence
is at risk under his administration. Folks have been organizing
organically, and I think social media has lent us a really effective tool
at getting information out and mobilizing people, so I`m encouraged, quite
frankly, by what we`ve seen across this nation.
SHARPTON: What can the Congress, though, do, Congressman Jefferies, when
you`re in a minority with the Republicans? What actually can be done? Or
should we be just moving toward the midterm elections next year in terms of
organizing local areas?
JEFFRIES: The midterm elections are going to be important, but Abraham
Lincoln once made the observation when it comes to public policy-making
that public sentiment is everything. With it, nothing can fail, without
it, nothing can succeed.
And so our job, particularly Congressional Democrats, is to help shape
public sentiment as it relates to the types of things that Donald Trump
would like to do to undermine the ability of all Americans to really pursue
the American dream.
He comes in with a cloud of illegitimacy. Some people want to bury their
head in the sands, but the reality is that the Russians interfered with the
election, the FBI director interfered with the election, the fake news
industry interfered with the election. And as the marches this weekend
showed, he didn`t win the popular vote, he lost it. A majority of
Americans didn`t vote for him, they voted against him.
So the opportunity to help shape public sentiment is going to be on our
side, and we`ve got to harness that energy that we saw this weekend into
real opposition. And that may cause some of his co-conspirators in the
House of Representatives or in the Senate to press the pause button to back
down on some of his more controversial things, like the religious registry,
like building a wall, like tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, if
they see there`s a populist uprising.
SHARPTON: Congressman Meeks, you deal in a lot of foreign affairs in
Congress. How is the world looking at this? I mean, you see all of this,
the things I outlined at the beginning, that – because it`s not just one
thing, and then this historic, epic day yesterday of women marching all
over. How is the world looking at incoming president, hasn`t been there
but, what, two or three days, and all of this has converged in the last
nine or ten days?
REP. GREGORY MEEKS (D), NEW YORK: Well, the world is very concerned. If
you just listen to what he said during his inaugural speech, where
virtually he`s talking about putting a wall around America and forgetting
our allies and working collectively together in the world.
SHARPTON: An isolationist speech if I`ve ever heard.
MEEKS: That`s right. And so in a world where there`s more
interconnectedness, the outside world is very concerned. That`s why you
also saw marches not only in the United States but all over the world,
whether it was Germany or whether it was London or whether it was in
So there`s places all over the world. And as I talk to world leaders, they
are calling and they are very nervous. They`re asking, how did the United
States allow this to happen in the first place, and they`re looking for
And I think that what it`s going to lead to is even some of our Republican
colleagues, they`re going to have to put country first as opposed to just
the Trump message that`s going through. Because clearly, Trump is going
against everything that we have done known as far as foreign policy for the
last three or four decades.
And so, they are looking at this and asking the United States Congress to
step up because there`s more than one branch of government. There`s an
executive branch and there`s a legislative branch, and the legislative
branches have to do their part.
SHARPTON: Can the legislative branch stop blocking and do their part, as
Congressman Meeks says, Congresswoman?
CLARKE: Well, we can definitely gum up the works. We can definitely push
back. There`s a supermajority of Republicans in the house, and so – in
the Senate as well. We`re going to have to pick off members one by one.
We have to make the argument and we have to mobilize the American people.
That is our job at this stage. We have to make sure that the interests
that our communities are looking for us to protect, that we`re doing that
each and every day, and every moment of every day, because the pushback
from the Republicans are coming fast and furious, and there`s a major
distraction operation going on as well. When you look at the executive
orders, for instance, that were signed by the president.
We heard about the Affordable Care Act, but we didn`t hear about the Texas
voting rights act. We didn`t hear about the housing mortgage piece. We
didn`t hear about the fact that the consent decree for Baltimore was
delayed, its implementation.
SHARPTON: By these executive orders.
CLARKE: By these executive orders.
SHARPTON: That`s where, again, the mobilization that we need to do comes
together. Michael Moore and others say joining organizations, because
you`ve got to be able to really bring in some of the points that people are
missing while we`re dealing with the headline stuff. He delayed the
consent decree in Baltimore.
CLARKE: That`s right.
SHARPTON: He dealt with Texas in terms of voting rights, something that
all of us have been about. And I think there`s the challenge, because as
we went through marches throughout the weekend, and everybody`s involved
yesterday in support of them, whether it was organic or organized. I
thought about the `97 Million Women`s March. We had a million in one
I mean, you talk about, there was two or three million all over the
country, but in one place. And in the `95 Million Man March. And I
thought the challenge coming out of there was how do you organize and make
this more than a day. And I think that all of this has to translate into
that. When you see this man is signing executive orders reversing stuff
while he has us debating on numbers, he`s executing as the chief executive
of the country.
JEFFRIES: That`s correct. Donald Trump, he`s a master of distraction, so
he floods the zone and causes misdirection. And so, we`re debating
numbers, as you`ve indicated. And yes, it`s clear, Washington, D.C., his
inauguration was a ghost town when you compare it to Barack Obama`s two
SHARPTON: Absolutely. But his executive orders are not ghost towns.
JEFFRIES: Absolutely. And he`s already beginning to undermine the things
that Barack Obama was successfully able to do on justice and equality and
turn back the clock. And so, we`ve got to turn up the temperature on him
beginning on Monday when we get back to Congress, utilize the floor of the
House of Representatives, speak directly to the American people about what
is at stake, their very well-being.
Donald Trump has talked the talk as it relates to hard-working Americans,
but he`s put forth a cabinet filled with people who have done their very
best to enrich themselves throughout their entire lives and undermine
everyday Americans. We`re going to have to continue to raise those issues.
And if we do, we can turn the tide in advance of the 2018 midterms.
SHARPTON: Congressman Meeks, the voting rights is one of the things that`s
been very much a concern, was a concern all throughout a lot of the rallies
and the marches, even to even the women raised it yesterday.
Can this Congress be challenged to come up with a map? Because the Supreme
Court said that the map is outdated. Didn`t say you couldn`t have a map.
Can this Congress say the map should be all 50 states and begin drumming up
now and make that the litmus test for the 2018 midterm elections on those
that would support a 50-state map and those wouldn`t?
I mean, when do we start directing some specifics in front of a lot of this
MEEKS: Well, I think that`s exactly what should take place and will take
place. You know, the Congressional Black Caucus, for example, under the
leadership of our interior secretary Richmond, we`ve already developed a
letter that we are talking about we`re going to send out to all of America
so they can follow, and voting rights is number one on that list.
MEEKS: Because that`s how you do make the difference. Some of my concern
with Donald Trump right now is that, you know, as President Obama said,
let`s not clap him, let`s vote him out. And we`ve got to have a strategy.
When we look at the DNC moving forward, it`s got to be a strategy on all 50
states to make sure that we make voting absolutely accessible and easy for
people to do it.
SHARPTON: Congresswoman, I`m out of time, but I must ask you, he`s had
these selective meetings. It`s almost like he`s doing the red carpet on a
show, rather than operating as president-elect and president.
Is he going to meet with the Congressional Black Caucus? Is he going to
meet with leaders of civil rights organizations? Or is he only meeting
with people that basically agree with him and does the red carpet?
CLARKE: Well, Rev, that remains to be seen.
SHARPTON: I`ll have to leave it there. Thank you Congressman Hakeem
Jeffries, Congressman Gregory Meeks and Congresswoman Yvette Clarke.
Coming up, Senator Jeff Sessions could be confirmed as attorney general any
day now. Why should that scare you? That`s next.
SHARPTON: This was the scene on Thursday when I was joined by celebrity
activists and thousands of other New Yorkers at the United We Stand protest
rally outside Donald Trump`s New York hotel.
We were there to send a message to our new president that any agenda that
advances injustice will be met with vocal and unyielding resistance. That
includes one of the first items on the Trump administration`s agenda, the
confirmation of Jeff Sessions as attorney general.
Joining me now is Judith Browne Dianis, executive director of the
Advancement Project, and Mark Thompson, host of Sirius XM “Make it Plain
with Mark Thompson.” Thank you both for being with me this morning.
JUDITH BROWNE DIANIS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ADVANCEMENT PROJECT: Thanks,
MARK THOMPSON, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Thank you, Rev.
SHARPTON: Judith, let me ask you, people watching have heard many of us
raise questions about Senator Sessions being the attorney general.
Specifically tell the viewing audience why you feel they ought to be
concerned, if not frightened, about Jeff Sessions becoming attorney
DIANIS: Well, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions is a person who is no friend
of civil rights. He is going to take a sledgehammer to our federal
I mean, his role is going to be just like the others who are being
appointed by Trump, which is really to diminish the role of the federal
Historically, we know that civil rights has been enforced by the federal
government. We`ve had to turn to the federal government because the states
were not protecting us. I mean, when you think about voting rights in
particular, he has lauded the Shelby County case, which actually a
sledgehammer to the Voting Rights Act, saying it was good for the south.
So, here is someone who wants to take us back to the southern way, is still
kind of thinking about the war of northern aggression.
And secondly, he is someone who has used racist comments. He`s referred to
one of his past employees as boy, and then this is the person that we`re
supposed to expect is going to protect black people from the police when he
actually thinks of a black man as a boy.
And so, we`ve got to be very concerned. His record shows that she is not
the appropriate choice, and that, in fact, he is not only going to
undermine civil rights laws but also the constitution.
SHARPTON: Now, Mark, it is clear that there is concern among the civil
rights community, the black community, but you`ve been involved last week
with the civil rights march, yesterday with the historic Women`s March.
Why should women be concerned? Where`s the connection with these millions
of women marching and their concerns about a Jeff
THOMPSON: Well, you know, as a matter of fact, Jeff Sessions is someone
who may very well not uphold the law when it comes to protecting women and
their rights. And we also know women vote as well. And when it comes to
issues even like voter I.D.s, many times that affects many, many women.
Jeff Sessions is someone who`s in favor of voter I.D. and has minimized the
impact of voter I.D. when it comes to voter suppression. That`s one area.
He said in his hearing that he was put on the spot. He said he respects
the law of the land when it comes to Roe v. wade. But we know that women`s
reproductive rights have been under attack at the state level, a great deal
more than anywhere else.
Is this an attorney general that is going to vigorously defend women`s
reproductive rights at the federal level and before the Supreme Court? I
don`t think we have any reason to trust him. I don`t think we have any
reason to believe Jeff Sessions.
He`s living up to his name. He`s named after Jefferson Davis, the
president of the confederacy and a confederate general by the name of
THOMPSON: And I think everyone should all be very, very concerned about
him and his behavior.
SHARPTON: Another part of this, Judith, was that when they started the
voter I.D. laws in Alabama, right after the Supreme Court decision in terms
of the voting rights act and section five was in many ways neutralized, the
local Department of Motor Vehicles in several counties, which was where you
could go and try to get your I.D. that you could use for voting, closed
In the 10 large black counties, eight of those counties closed down, that
never even was questioned by Senator Sessions, who was the Senator of
Alabama at that time and still is. And why didn`t he do something to
protect or to verbally come out?
So, the question, as Mark raises it about Roe versus Wade, him saying he
would protect – he would respect, rather, the law, but enforcing the law
and making sure that people are protected under the law – the DMV issue in
Alabama is very telling.
DIANIS: Right. Oh, definitely. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions in fact,
has called the Voting Rights Act, an intrusive piece of legislation. The
Voting Rights Act that protects us from discrimination.
So, we should not expect that someone who believes that something, a law
that was hard fought for, where people died for that right, that was
established actually and comes out of the fight in Alabama and in Selma and
crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge, and he is from Alabama, and he could not
stand up and be on the side of voting rights.
And instead calls it intrusive, we should not expect that he is going to
enforce the law. And that`s what this role is. The attorney general is
supposed to be the one who looks to the federal law, who looks to the
constitution to protect the people of the United States, and he is not
going to do that, especially when it comes to voting rights and civil
SHARPTON: Mark, they have the majority of the house. The Republicans have
the majority of the Senate. How are people going to press to block any
confirmation when the majority is absolutely with the party that seems to
be rallying around both Sessions to be attorney general as well as rallying
around the other confirmations that President Trump has made?
THOMPSON: It`s going to be very different when it comes to confirmations,
Rev, because it is about a majority vote. The Senate – Democrats in the
Senate will have an easier time believing in blocking his Supreme Court
nominations, and I hope they do that.
Every single one of them they should block. But when it comes to cabinet
confirmations, it`s a little bit more difficult. They may be able to
delay, but that is why what you did on Martin Luther King Jr. weekend,
January 14th, what the women did all over the country and all over the
world just yesterday is very, very important.
And I know you recall this, Rev. In 1968, Dr. King created an atmosphere
with all these diverse groups, with the beloved community, to push back. I
mean, technically, there were no confirmations on the table, there was
nothing that could be done necessarily on Capitol Hill.
But there was so many people in the streets, so many people mobilized and
activated, that it changed the country and ultimately changed the tide of
the Vietnam War, forced President Johnson to no longer run for election.
THOMPSON: We`re going to have to replicate what you did Martin Luther King
Kr. weekend, what women all over the country and the world did yesterday,
and keep it going consistently. That`s going to be our pushback, because
this president after such a dignified presidency with Barack Obama and
Michelle Obama and all they represent, this president with the nomination
of Jeff Sessions along with this president`s own behavior would basically
take us back to the time of Andrew Johnson and turning back the clock from
SHARPTON: I`m going to have to leave it there. Thanks to you, Judith
Browne Dianis and of course Mark Thompson.
THOMPSON: Thank you, Rev.
DIANIS: Thank you, Rev.
SHARPTON: Up next, one of Donald Trump`s cabinet nominees faces a key test
on Monday. Will Rex Tillerson lead the state department? Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: This started out tonight being a small, little concert, and then we
had the idea maybe we`ll do it in front of the Lincoln Memorial. I don`t
know if it`s ever been done before, but if it has, very seldom. We didn`t
know if anybody would even come tonight. This hasn`t been done before.
And you look.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Donald Trump gave himself a hardy pat on the back for his
groundbreaking idea of having a pre-inaugural concert at Lincoln Memorial.
It`s never been done before, he says. Oh, really? So, what was this in
2009? If I`m not mistaken, that`s a concert at the Lincoln Memorial before
President Obama`s first inauguration, a concert starring Beyonce, Stevie
Wonder, Usher, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Mary J. Blige. I could go on and on.
And the biggest star of the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Barack Obama.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
BARACK OBAMA, 44TH U.S. PRESIDENT: Hello, America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The “Washington Post” reported that by some estimates, 400,000
people went to that concert. It was bigger than the turnout for Trump`s
concert. It was even bigger than the estimated crowd for Trump`s actual
So, Mr. Trump, your Lincoln Memorial concert that`s never been done before,
it`s been done before, and it`s been done better. Do the math. We got
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We have a cabinet, I believe, the likes of which has never been
appointed. There`s never been a cabinet like this. I will say, the other
side is going absolutely crazy. They`re going crazy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Tomorrow will be a critical day for one of Donald Trump`s
cabinet nominees. The Senate foreign relations committee is set to vote on
Rex Tillerson`s nomination for secretary of state, but his ties with Russia
may be a sticking point.
Joining me now, MSNBC anchor Ali Velshi and Malcolm Nance, MSNBC
contributor and author of the book “The Plot to Hack America.”
Ali, in the questioning of Rex Tillerson, even some Republicans, notably
Marco Rubio, seem to be concerned about his ties to Russia. If one of them
would vote against him, that might be enough to really throw the Senate
foreign committee, the vote the other way tomorrow.
ALI VELSHI, MSNBC ANCHOR: Yes, in fact, because they`ve only got a
majority of one on the committee –
VELSHI: Marco Rubio has not said whether he`s comfortable with Rex
Tillerson. He really grilled him on his views on Russia and Cuba in
particular and involvement in Syria and things like that. Now, what
happens is if he doesn`t get approved by the committee, it still goes to
the Senate for a complete vote, but there you`ve got –
SHARPTON: Where they have a majority for the entire Senate.
VELSHI: Right, but you`ve got Marco Rubio, John McCain and Lindsey Graham,
all of whom have expressed concerns about Rex Tillerson, so it is not
smooth sailing for him, regardless of what happens on the committee.
Rex Tillerson has not convinced all of the Republicans on the committee and
certainly most of the Democrats that he has really well-thought-out views
when it comes to America`s relationships with Russia, Cuba, and with some
SHARPTON: Now, Malcolm, what are the concerns about Tillerson`s
connections and views to Russia that would be even a matter of major
concern to people on the right?
Clearly, people on the left are questioning many of the president`s
nominations, but what are the concerns that even people on the right would
have about Tillerson`s positions and connections in Russia?
MALCOLM NANCE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it`s very easy to criticize
Tillerson on the foreign policy platform. He actually has no experience,
other than running Exxon operations in Russia.
But let`s look at the reporting we`ve recently seen out of the “The New
York Times” this weekend, which shows that the FBI and the National
Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Treasury Financial
Crimes Unit actually have a FISA warrant out on members of the Trump
administration team, where right now we know that it`s possibly Carter
Page, Paul Manafort and possibly Roger Stone.
But Rex Tillerson`s connections are so deep into Russia. He was a friend
of Vladimir Putin. He was given an award by Russia, the friendship award
by Russia. It would be very, very hard for me to believe that they will
not find something in this investigation that would link him to the
The question is whether those links will be criminal, whether those links
will be just innocent as part of regular business, that remains to be seen.
But as we go deeper into this, down this rabbit hole of whether there is
someone who is in the employ of the kremlin, then it`s quite possible that
it could get more difficult for him, but he`ll probably be secretary of
state by then.
SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you, Ali, if you`ve got these Republicans – you
named three – that are not committed, may go another way, how do you deal
with the fact that many of them have been committed to dealing and raising
the issues of keeping this country in a strong position against Russia?
SHARPTON: And now they`re asked with some evidence coming forward to
confirm a secretary of state who has been awarded by the Russian dictator-
leader, who has befriended him, and who has possible connections there with
the company that he was the CEO of? How do they do that?
VELSHI: Right. So, this is not just a matter of having three Republicans
who aren`t interested in you. This is three Republicans that you`re in a
bad position to pick a fight with, right? Whatever you think of Marco
Rubio. He was a contender in the presidential race and maybe one in the
future. He is certainly a man of convictions, whether you agree with those
convictions or not, and he`s got very strong convictions both about Cuba,
from where his family originated, and the idea of human rights in America,
being a projector of human rights around the world, which is something that
Donald Trump indicated in his inaugural speech will not be a priority for
The second problem is you`ve got Lindsey Graham and John McCain. These are
two Republicans that Republicans shouldn`t pick fights with. They are
military men. So when it comes to military matters, these are men who
speak with authority because they`ve been to war.
And secondly, over Christmas, while Donald Trump was celebrating Christmas
and New Year`s, they were in Eastern Europe on the frontline states –
Latvia, Lithuania, with those leaders saying NATO is strong and we will
stand with you. So, these are men who put their money where their mouth
is. This isn`t a bunch of Republicans who don`t like Donald Trump and
don`t like his people. They are that, too, but they are really relevant,
clear thinkers when it comes to foreign policy.
And if they butt up against the secretary of state and the administration,
that is going to portend a rocky relationship for the next four years.
SHARPTON: Malcolm, when you look at that reality about those three
Republicans, when you look at the fact that you have a lot that is weighing
here, and when you look at the fact that Putin is dealing with a very shaky
economy – I mean, the ruble is certainly being devalued substantially
because of the sanctions and other things.
Is there a real point of concern by Putin and them that they`re getting a
friend and they`re getting someone that could move toward lifting these
sanctions? And is that the kind of thing that would really horrify people
like a John McCain and a Lindsey Graham and a Marco Rubio?
NANCE: Well, I think it`s already horrified those three. The question is,
will it horrify anybody that voted for Donald Trump and the rest of the
Republican Party who as of right now appear to have a loyalty strictly to
the letter “R.”
They do not appear to have any concerns about this national security of the
United States, that whether a foreign intelligence agency via a former
director of Russian intelligence has actually put his hand on the thumb of
democracy, and they don`t even particularly care that what we`re seeing
here is an axis aligning with the fall of western democracy –
NANCE: Putin, Marine Le Pen in France, knocking down Angela Merkel in
Germany, allowing the Brexit vote to happen in England, which could
economically cripple it, and breaking up with the European Union.
This is the plan of Donald Trump. And it works solely to Vladimir Putin`s
benefit and to the detriment of everything that`s existed since World War
SHARPTON: And, Ali, how come the Democrats have not been able to get this
message out? Clearly, what Malcolm just said is the plan.
SHARPTON: Clearly, what I was laying out is Putin`s challenge, which is
why he has a motive beyond what has been really expressed a lot by
Democrats. He has a motive on why he needs a friend to help them as
secretary of state.
VELSHI: Sure. Reverend, I have watched all of these nominations, hours
and hours and hours of them. Rex Tillerson and Steve Mnuchin and Rick
Perry. And the Democrats have tried but the bottom line is the number
speaks for themselves.
The Democrats generally speaking, unless they can drop a bombshell which
will cause Republicans to think twice about this, they`re not going to,
because Republicans in the Senate understand who voted for Donald Trump and
that they voted for Donald Trump for particular reasons and they don`t care
about the salacious gossip, they don`t care about his values and morals.
They care about him increasing jobs and wages in the United States. And if
he can do that, he can be in bed with Russia all he wants.
I mean, it`s unfortunate, Reverend – you`ve run for president, so you know
what this is like. I used to watch Lindsey Graham on that, you know, that
second card debate at every debate for the Republican nomination, and he
really had remarkably interesting things to say about foreign policy in the
world. John McCain has remarkably interesting things to say about foreign
policy and the world.
That is not a place that Donald Trump generally went, and it`s not a place
he`s going to go now. He picked Rex Tillerson because Tillerson has
remarkable relationships around the world as a CEO, not as a secretary of
SHARPTON: Thank you both for being with me. MSNBC`s Ali Velshi and Malcolm
After the break, Trump has already gotten to work. What he did on day one,
SHARPTON: The new president got started on his agenda right away. Within
an hour of the inauguration, his housing department made a move that will
raise mortgage rates for first-time home buyers. He also signed an
executive order giving federal agencies permission to scale back parts of
the Affordable Care Act they consider too costly.
Joining me now, Aisha Moodie-Mills, the president and CEO of the Victory
Fund, and Katon Dawson, a national Republican consultant. Thank you both
for being here.
AISHA MOODIE-MILLS, PRESIDENT, VICTORY FUND: Thanks, Rev, for having us.
KATON DAWSON, NATIONAL REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: Good morning, Al.
SHARPTON: Aisha, what are the implications of the housing as well as the
Affordable Care Act-connected executive orders that the president sent –
or signed, rather?
MOODIE-MILLS: Look, I think that Trump is doing exactly what he said he
was going to do. My grandmother always said, when people show you who they
are, believe them.
And what we`re seeing is really a playing out of what he said his first
100-day strategy was going to be, which was ultimately to repeal all of the
things that, frankly, are helping regular Americans. And this is what has
us so gravely concerned. This is why yesterday was such an amazing
demonstration. I was out at the march in Washington, D.C., with so many
people who were as optimistic as they were in opposition to the policies
that have been not only threatened but are clearly on the docket from this
But also yesterday was about something that`s bigger than this
administration, and I think that people need to understand this as we watch
what`s coming out of the White House and we watch what Congress may or may
not do, for that matter. All politics right now are local.
MOODIE-MILLS: We have an opportunity in the states to elect people up and
down the ballot, especially in the state legislatures, who are going to be
doing the work to mitigate this fallout from the federal level and drive
policies that affect our day-to-day lives, so I think that we do need to
focus on there.
SHARPTON: Let me bring Katon in here. Katon, when you hear that, is it
not of concern to Republicans that when some of these policies, when the
rubber meet the road, when new home buyers can have mortgages that are
higher, when you start disassembling or attempt to, the Affordable Care
Act, that some of the very people that Donald Trump appealed to and voted
for him will start saying, wait a minute, I didn`t know that this was going
to affect my kid`s first home, or wait a minute, I didn`t know it was going
to affect the cost of health care or even dealing with health care for pre-
existing conditions and all that would start raising that beyond my reach?
Isn`t that a concern to Republicans?
DAWSON: Al, they`re all kind of legislative political landmines out there
for the next four years. And you and I come from different places, but we
understand organizing and understand politics.
And as our other guest just said, all politics are local. Here are the
facts. And one of the reasons why everybody that Donald Trump`s nominating
is going to be approved is there`s about 3,200 counties in America, and all
politics are local. And of those counties, Donald Trump won about 2,600 of
them and Hillary Clinton won less than 500 of them.
So, when you start breaking down this last election and you start looking
at politics, and I`m paid to elect people and move public policy, so that`s
what I do.
And I watched the protest over the weekend and I applaud the people who
organized it and did it, but I would tell you, it probably didn`t help the
Democratic Party at all with the visions of breaking windows and lighting
fires and civil unrest, which is unusual and sometimes frightening. So
what I would tell you is that there are policies – Donald Trump`s going to
do what he said he`s going to do. I`ve said it on numerous times, this is
a very unconventional president –
SHARPTON: Let me jump in here, Katon, because first of all, all politics
is local, but this show is national. You had one day, a small group that
engaged in some kind of violence. There was none, not one iota of violence
that anyone reported yesterday when millions of women marched. There was
none at the civil rights march. There was none in many of the protests
throughout the week, including the celebrity protest in New York. So I
understand your spin, but let`s not act like all of the protesters all week
were doing what a small group did –
MOODIE-MILLS: Thank you, Rev.
SHARPTON: I think that that is something that I can`t let you just put out
there without challenging you.
DAWSON: I understand, and I didn`t want to represent it that way, Al. I`m
just telling you the way that it was seen on TV as in this morning and
yesterday and reported.
MOODIE-MILLS: Well, that`s not true at all.
SHARPTON: Jump in here, because you and I were at marches.
MOODIE-MILLS: Yes, let me jump in there. I was physically there. Yes,
SHARPTON: That`s not what happened.
MOODIE-MILLS: Yes, Rev. I was here in the District of Columbia at the
march. First of all, this is the largest demonstration globally, globally,
we`ve seen yesterday happen. More than two million women and allies
And what`s most profound is that we talk about what America looks like. If
you look at all of the people who were marching, it was the most
intersectional crowd, folks from all faiths, folks from all ethnicities,
LGBT people were centered in the narrative and conversations coming out of
there around civil rights. This was about women and having a control over
our health care. We had more types of Americans. We actually had the most
robust diversity on display at this march that we`ve ever seen.
SHARPTON: And it was totally peaceful and nonviolent.
MILLS: Totally peaceful.
SHARPTON: And I know that people were going to try to get the photos of
some that everyone has denounced from all of the gatherings, all of the
marches all over the world yesterday and those that preceded, but that did
not represent not a fraction of one percent, Katon, of what was expressed.
And I think to minimize the outrage does not do a service, even to
MILLS: Facts only. Thank you so much, Rev, for sharing facts only.
SHARPTON: I`ll have to let it go there. Thank you for your time this
morning, Aisha Moodie Mills and Katon Dawson.
MILLS: Thank you.
SHARPTON: After the break, my thoughts on the inauguration of Donald
Trump. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: For too many of our citizens, a different reality exists. Mothers
and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities, rusted-out factories
scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation, and the crime
and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our
country of so much unrealized potential.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: As I watched President Donald Trump`s inaugural address and he
talked about mothers trapped in poverty, he talked about people in the Rust
Belt, he talked about crime in the inner cities, and then I matched it
where he brought his address and where he`s already brought some of his
policies, and I can`t see how he conceivably can say that giving corporate
tax cuts and tax cuts to the wealthiest is going to address any of the
things he laid out. How do you solve poverty by giving tax breaks to
How do you deal with bad schools by putting someone who believes in
privatization over the department of education? How do you, Mr. Trump,
deal with inner city crime without dealing with your friends that are
purporting and pushing for no real gun control?
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