PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton: 4/30/2017

Guests:
Judy Kurtz, Dana Milbank, Tegan Wendland, Sharlene Sinegal-Decuir
Transcript:

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

HASAN MINHAJ, COMEDIAN:  The leader of our country is not here.  And that`s

because he lives in Moscow.  It is a very long flight.  It`d be hard for

Vlad to make to make it.  Vlad can`t just make it on a Saturday.  It`s a

Saturday.  As for the other guy, I think he`s in Pennsylvania because he

can`t take a joke.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST:  Good morning and welcome to POLITICS NATION.

 

I am in Washington D.C.  Because last night, I attended the annual White

House Correspondents` dinner, and of course as you know, the head of that

White House was not there.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  And I could not possibly be

more thrilled than to be more than 100 miles away from Washington swamp

spending my evening with all of you and with a much, much larger crowd and

much better people.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

SHARPTON:  President Trump chose to celebrate his first 100 days in office

by leading a rally in Pennsylvania.  Well, it`s safe to say we`ve never

seen a first 100 days like we`ve seen from President Trump.

 

Later in the show two exclusive interviews.  One with famed director Spike

Lee on the 25th anniversary of the Los Angeles riots, and also with former

Attorney General Eric Holder.  I talked to both during the National Action

Network convention which ended in New York yesterday.  Here`s a sample.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

ERIC HOLDER, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL:  We need a central part of the

Obama justice department protection of the right to vote.  I think you see

the Trump justice department pulling back on that in ways that I think are

unprincipled, unconscionable and inconsistent with the long conditions of

the department and inconsistent what who we say we are as a nation.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

SHARPTON:  So with civil rights on the line, on the 100th and one day of

this administration, what can we expect as we look ahead to the rest of

Donald Trump`s presidency?

 

With me now, Judy Kurtz, a columnist for The Hills.  She attended last

night`s White House Correspondents` dinner.  Dana Milbank, political

columnist for the Washington Post.  He attended the alternative event to

the White House dinner hosted by Samantha Bee.  And Rick Tyler, and a

republican strategist and MSNBC political analyst.

 

Let me ask you.  You went to the Correspondents` dinner as I did.  It was

kind of different.  You didn`t have a lot of – you certainly didn`t have

the president.  You didn`t have a lot of a-listers that we see every year,

and I have been going since George Bush was in office.

 

You never had a president do this, and do an alternative event in

Pennsylvania where he kind of took the news.  What was your feeling sitting

there last night?

 

JUDY KURTZ, COLUMNIST, THE HILLS:  Well, they call it nerd prom, and this

year it was certainly heavy on the nerdiness, maybe a little too heavy on

the nerdiness.  And pretty light on the prom part.  It`s like going to the

prom when you`re in school and then the teacher grabs the mike at the dance

and goes on and on about the importance of education.  I thought it was a

little, with all due respect to you, reverend, a little too preachy in this

journalism sermon that we had last night.

 

SHARPTON:  I also think, and you were at the alternative, Dana.  I also

think that it`s unprecedented for a president –I mean, I really think

people need to get this, for a president to not, not only go, but then go

to Pennsylvania and just bash the press over and over again.  So here we`re

sitting in Washington at the dinner that every president has gone to other

than Ronald Reagan when he was recovering from being shot.

 

Every president`s gone to.  And he`s not only bashing the event, saying

he`s very happy he`s 100 miles away.  The event is talking about preserving

and standing by the first amendment, and he`s talking fake news, fake news,

and naming out different news entities.

 

DANA MILBANK, POLITICAL COLUMNIST, WASHINGTON POST:  Well, I`ll tell you,

Reverend.  In one way, I think about this is finally on his 100th day in

office, he had an accomplishment that I think was a major accomplishment. 

And that is deflating the White House correspondents` Association dinner. 

Because it had become grotesque and journalists were sort of acting as

pimps introducing the politicians to the powerful advertisers to the

Hollywood set.  He really deflated not just by not coming himself by having

his staff not come.

 

SHARPTON:  Nobody.

 

MILBANK:  I think it brought it back to what it should be.  It was just

about journalism.  It was about raising money for high school journalists. 

It was about giving awards.  It will be boring.  It won`t attract

attention, if that`s what it is in the future.  But that will be the dinner

it`s supposed to be.

 

Now, going out to Pennsylvania and blasting the media as he always does,

that`s a different matter, but I think he did us all a favor by getting out

of town.

 

SHARPTON:  Rick, you`re a republican strategist.  What does this do in

terms of the politics going forward?  Because it seems like there is no

attempt at trying to find some mid ground here.  He`s drawn the line in the

sand again.  Many felt that he would do the event, deal with his 100 days,

deal with his agenda, tax reform, health care, whatever it is he`s going to

try to propose.  He just went totally, I`m going after the media, glad to

be out of the swamp.  Are we ever going to see him realize the campaign is

over?

 

RICK TYLER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  No.  I think this is what we`re going

to get for the next four years.  And one of my criticisms of Donald Trump

is that he did win.  He won with a base that he had assembled.  It wasn`t a

traditional republican base.  And he hasn`t moved from them.  I think “The

Washington Post” poll had confirmed that, that 96 percent of the people are

still with Trump.  He hasn`t had great legislative achievements.  He has

gotten some things done in terms of energy and job creation for regulation. 

The base – the republican base and the conservative base is very happy

about the Supreme Court nomination.  But if –

 

SHARPTON:  Let me press you there.  Because Dana – I want to go to you. 

Because Dana`s written a very interesting piece about the first 100 days. 

You`re saying for his base, he has delivered tangibles in the first 100

days?

 

TYLER:  Yeah.  Well, yes.  I mean, he has started up two pipelines.  Right? 

He`s reversed a lot of regulation on energy and on climate change and on

clean coal.  Right?  So those are things that his base likes.  On

regulation toward business.  They like the tax proposal that he has

introduced.  But he`s going to need legislative achievement to get that

done.

 

The health care was a big failure.  So if I had to grade Donald Trump on

his own assertions, I`d probably give him a failing grade.

 

SHARPTON:  On his own assertion.

 

TYLER:  Yeah.  But I think historically, he would actually do pretty well. 

But it`s his own assertions and proclamations that get him into trouble.

 

SHARPTON:  Dana, so you raised your eyebrows when he said historically he

thinks he`s done pretty well.

 

MILBANK:  Right.  Well, I don`t doubt that he believes he has done

historically very well.  The best ever, and he thinks everybody else is

telling him the same sort of thing.  I think what Rick is saying is in the

regulatory area, he has made some serious progress.  Now, I would not be

sure that`s exactly what sort of his populous followers are looking for. 

That`s more of a chamber of commerce thing.

 

So I think that is an achievement.  It`s not necessarily what his core

followers were looking for.  I think they`re probably happy because they

see it appears he`s blowing up everything in Washington.  Really, he`s

probably just making a bigger mess here than existed before, but they

probably see, oh, this wailing and gnashing of teeth, and he said great,

he`s making everybody angry, he must be doing something right.

 

SHARPTON:  Judy, but when you look at it, many of us that in different

constituencies, those of us in different more progressive communities.  I`m

in the civil right communities.  Others dealing with – you had hundreds of

thousands of people yesterday for climate change, on and on and on, women,

immigration rights.  It`s been a disaster.

 

I mean, the deregulation that Rick talks about is something that many of us

feel in some areas harmless.  And when you look at what Sessions is doing

with the justice department around voting, around the question of police

reform, these 100 days have been tangible.  Tangibly very devastating and

leaning toward devastation of many things that progressives and even

centrists believed in.

 

KURTZ:  Yeah.  I think the 100 day mark, it`s a ritual that the media

largely plays up.

 

SHARPTON:  Well, Trump reinforced it.

 

KURTZ:  That`s right.  And President Trump has kind of played into it as

well especially with his 100-day action plan that he released during the

campaigns, so he`s certainly has played a role on it too.

 

But no one looks back at past presidents and says, gee, I wonder what they

did on April 29th.  If he does get some of these big legislative victories

through such as health care, I think that people are going to forget this

100-day mark.

 

SHARPTON:  Now, Rick, he`s got to get some legislation through.  You said

that.

 

Now, how does he do that when even in the Republican Party, in the senate

and the congress it seems that there is friction and that he can`t seem to

even get his own party united around some of the things like health care

and some of the things that he`s talked about doing?

 

TYLER:  One of the reasons the president has relied on his family as staff

now is because the staff is not delivered on Capitol Hill.  He has sent

people up and they have failed.  What a mystery to me is why Trump, Speaker

Ryan, and leader McConnell don`t all sit in a room and have leader

McConnell say, look, these are the five things I could get through the

senate.  See if Paul Ryan can agree on any of those and put together some

sort of agenda.

 

SHARPTON:  They have the majority of the senate.  They have the majority of

the house.  Why is that not happening?

 

TYLER:  This, I think, is why the 100 days matters.  Because this was his

chance when he had some political on capital, he had some momentum.  They

just did couple of really major face plants.  Now you`re looking at

approval in the high 30s, 40 percent.  Democrats are not afraid of this

guy.  The Freedom Caucus, not afraid of this guy.  So the job becomes

infinitely more difficult.  And you need to start racking up wins to get

back on the track.

 

MILBANK:  On the 100-day mark, Ronald Raegan had 73 percent.  Barack Obama

had 69 percent and when he says, I want to do this, with those approval

ratings, congress will move.  When you`re at 40 percent, nobody`s moving.

 

SHARPTON:  Well, and July, because there seems to be at the polls, right? 

No price to pay, you`re not going up against somebody with the public

behind them, and he did win the presidency in the Electoral College.  He

was almost three million votes behind Hillary Clinton.

 

KURTZ:  And that might be one of the – that might be one of the reasons

that he keeps reminding us of his big election victory.  He hasn`t had a

lot of victories since Election Day, and he need some to be able to move

legislation.

 

SHARPTON:  At what point, Dana, does the people, the 96 percent that the

Washington Post poll said of Trump supporters that say they`re still there,

we`re still with him, when does that erode?  When does the guy in

Pennsylvania say wait a minute, I`m not getting my coal mining job back. 

When does this start turning around?  Because it`s not happening.

 

MILBANK:  Right now, they`re seeing all the fireworks and the fireworks

right next in Washington and say right, he`s shaking things up.  They don`t

see what`s actually going on in terms of actually really putting more

lobbyists in government with more influence over the industries they cover.

 

But what you said is correct.  It`s when they realize that nothing is

changing in terms of manufacturing in the Rustbelt.  Nothing is changing in

terms of coal in Appalachia.  We`re not going to wipe out ISIS in 60 days

with no cost to the United States.  It`s going to take time.

 

Unfortunately, I think for this president, the people are going to start

realizing that right around the time of next year`s midterms.

 

SHARPTON:  Any republicans – everybody`s talking about who`s going to run

in the democratic side.  Do you think a republican will give this president

a primary if he`s there in 2020?

 

TYLER:  Quite possibly, yes.  It depends how bad it gets.  Look, if it gets

to the point where we`re doing so much losing and we`re tired of losing,

he`ll get a primary challenger.

 

SHARPTON:  From the right?

 

TYLER:  Yeah.

 

SHARPTON:  Or from the moderates?

 

TYLER:  I don`t know.

 

SHARPTON:  How about somebody that`s competent and makes sense?

 

TYLER:  Because sort of alienated both those sides.  A lot of conservatives

like me are not always with him.  Right?  And a lot of moderates aren`t

with him always.  But we got a long way to go.  But one of the things is if

you look at employment, we have a lot of employment.  So it`s going to be

wage increase.  And that`s going to be much tougher to get.  And he

promised three percent plus GDP growth.  At that rate –

 

SHARPTON:  We saw only 0.7 percent growth.  But I`ve to go.  Thank you Judy

Kurtz, Dana Milbank, and Rick Tyler.

 

Yeah, we do have a lot of employment thanks to Barack Obama. 

 

Later on this show, Spike Lee has a very unique nickname for the President

Trump.

 

But coming up first, my exclusive interview with former attorney general

Eric Holder.  I sat down with him at the National Action Network Convention

in New York at a moment when so many of the gains we fought for are at

risk.  We`ll be right back.  This is POLITICS NATION on MSNBC.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

SHARPTON:  Welcome back to POLITICS NATION.

 

“Everything is at Stake” was the title of the National Action Network

Convention that wrapped up yesterday after four amazing days in New York. 

When everything from voting rights and police accountability to health

care, worker`s rights and a woman`s right to choose are under attack.

 

We gathered the best and the brightest to figure out how to preserve the

progress and ensure that we continue to move forward.  Especially now under

a new administration that`s trying to turn the clock back on civil rights

advances.

 

A key notable at the convention was former attorney general Eric Holder.  I

sat down with him after his address.

 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

 

SHARPTON:  Thanks again for doing this.  You spoke this week at the

National Action Network`s convention very passionately about voting.  About

the schemes to undermine voting and suggestion that a lot of what you

fought for as attorney general in terms of protecting the vote, you seem to

be disappointed that that`s not being followed up by your successor.

 

HOLDER:  No.  I think that`s exactly right.  We made a central part of the

Obama justice department protection of the right to vote.  I think you see

the Trump justice department pulling back on that in ways that I think are

unprincipled, unconscionable and inconsistently with the long conditions of

the department.  And inconsistency with who we say we are as a nation.

 

SHARPTON:  When you heard that Attorney General Sessions said he was not

going to continue with the justice department participating as part of the

Plano and the Texas border I.D. case, what was your reaction?

 

HOLDER:  Well, I was trying to give him the benefit of the doubt.  I think

that was one of those first actions that made me understand we`re dealing

with a fundamentally different justice department.  It means we would have

to rely on organizations like the National Action Network NAACP legal

defense fund to do the kinds of work that the justice department tried to

do while I was attorney general.

 

That`s a very troubling thing.  That`s a very troubling thing.  To see the

justice department pull back on something that is a core tenet of what this

nation is all about.  This simple right to vote.  Every citizens, it`s not

a privilege.  Not a privilege.  This is a right of every American citizen.

 

SHARPTON:  You`ve said you`re going to commit a lot of your time to touring

the country, dealing with gerrymandering and voting rights.  How are you

going to do that?

 

HOLDER:  I have been going all around the country.  I flew in from San

Francisco the night before the National Action Network Convention trying to

raise the consciousness of the American people trying to make them

understand that the way which lines are drawn fully affects their ability

to have their voices heard.

 

We have a system now where politicians are picking their voters instead of

voters picking their representatives.  It`s something that Republican Party

did pretty well after this census in 2010.  It`s the democrats have to do

much better after the census in 2020.  But we`re starting right now with

making sure that we elect people in the states that have the power to deal

with the redistricting questions.  The governor in Virginia in 2017.  The

governor in New Jersey in 2017 and then obviously the midterm elections in

2018.

 

SHARPTON:  Sunday morning, it will be the 101st day of the Trump

administration.  How do you as one who worked for several administrations

ultimately became attorney general?  How do you assess his first 100 days?

 

HOLDER:  Chaos.  Carnage on basic American rights.  No sense of direction. 

I think that what was said during the campaign was proved to be true. 

President Trump is a person I think who`s experientially and

temperamentally not suited to be president.  And you have seen the chaos,

and lack of accomplishment in these 100 days.  Things that gives me great

pause, and I think it`s the basis for a renaissance of the Democratic

Party.  And I think it also calls for activism by the American people to

make sure that the basic things that we`ve always fought for, the progress

that we have made is not turned back by this unaccomplished administration.

 

SHARPTON:  Thank you, Attorney General Holder.

 

HOLDER:  OK.  Always good to see you.

 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

 

SHARPTON:  Attorney General Holder was one of many who participated in the

four-day event.  Through panels and plenary sessions.  We discussed

policing, mental health, the importance of media, women`s empowerment,

reducing gun violence, corporate diversity, immigration, social activism

and much, much more.

 

Here`s just a sample of this year`s convention.

 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

 

SHARPTON:  No justice.

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  No peace.

 

SHARPTON:  No justice.

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  No peace.

 

SHARPTON:  No justice.

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  No peace.

 

SHANE HARRIS, SAN DIEGO CHAPTER PRESIDENT:  Our theme this year is

everything is at stake.  And I`m here because everything is at stake from

police reform to voting rights to education.  And we need to be prepared

for the fight.  I think in my generation, it`s easy to go out and march and

rally, but there`s no preparation and strategy.  So we need to be prepared. 

That`s why I`m here because I`m here to prepare myself.

 

ELIJAH COLES-BROWN, MIDDLE-SCHOOL MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER:  I am here today to

support the cause of social justice.  We are here to honor the legacy of

Dr. King and what he`s done for our community and what he`s done and we`re

also here to honor everyone who has continued his work from beyond the

graves like Reverend Al Sharpton.

 

IRA ROSEN, PRODUCER:  I know reverend Sharpton for a long time.  I did a

profile on Reverend Sharpton on 60 Minutes with Lesley Stahl and we got to

know each other little bit and we smoked cigars in the cigar club together

and we trade stories with each other.  And I have the utmost respect for

that man.  He`s a good guy.  He does a lot of really great work here.

 

TODD JOHNSON:  All of the conversations that we`re having are important.  I

think they`re critical to have.  We have to talk about this administration. 

We have to talk about what the Trump presidency means for minority

communities.  We need to talk about what it means for future elections,

midterm elections in 2018.  So all of the conversations that we`re having

now at this convention are, I think are critical.  Now, seemingly more than

ever, we just need to tell the truth.

 

KELI GOFF, JOURNALIST:  We have a lot more power than we sometimes remember

that we do, and I wasn`t born rich.  I don`t have a trust fund.  I`m not a

man.  The one place where I have totally an equal playing field with people

who were born with more privilege than me is in the voting booth.  So

people need to vote, not just in presidential and state and local and

people need to run for office.  And if there`s a kid out there who sees

this, I hope you`ll run for city council.  I hope you`ll run for state

senate.  I hope you`ll run for president, but I also hope some of you will

become judges.  Because we need a lot more women and people of color

serving in the judiciary because that`s where a lot of our laws are

determined.

 

COLES-BROWN:  In order to increase social justice on a national level, we

first have to increase social justice on local level.  You have difference

because you have to go out and vote.  You have to campaign.  Go door to

door.  You can`t just do that just for the federal.  You can`t do that for

just national election.  It starts at the local level.  Politics is at the

local level.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I`m always supporting what Reverend Al Sharpton is

doing bringing the people together and figuring out how we can just form

actions to better our situation.  But more importantly, the woman`s

empowerment luncheon is important.  Especially for my daughter –

 

TAYLOR:  My name is Taylor.  I`m nine years old.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It`s important to show her early women of power who

look like her.  And so that`s one of the main reasons that we`re here, to

make sure that my daughter at an early age sees and knows that she is

powerful beyond belief.

 

HARRIS:  I got to have strategies to implement.  And so that`s why I`m

here, to gain those strategies and implement them in local community.

 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

 

SHARPTON:  And later in the show, director, producer, actor, and writer

Spike Lee.  You`ll never guess what his nickname for President Trump is.

 

But up next, Alabama has passed an offensive bill that helps preserve

confederate monuments.  Are you surprised?  I`m not.  That`s next.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

SHARPTON:  I want to tell you something about Alabama.  I love that state. 

It symbolizes the tenacity and determination of the civil rights movement. 

It`s a state where I often go to and have my fights for the poor and the

needy.  It`s the state where I buried my mother.  The problem with Alabama? 

It seems to be taking one step forward toward progress but then two steps

backward.

 

This week Alabama lawmakers passed a bill that makes it almost impossible

to remove monuments and historically significant structures from public

property. Yeah.  All those confederate monuments spread across the state

that offend so many people.  You can`t get rid of them.

 

Critics see this bill as an offensive effort to preserve monuments with

links to the confederacy and slavery.  Supporters, on the other hand, say

they just want to maintain the history of the state.  But that history

includes racial oppression and buying and selling people like property. 

And while we cannot run from our past, we should not celebrate hate and

division.  Confederate monuments should be housed in a museum, not on

public spaces.

 

So to the person who wrote the bill, republican congressman Mack Butler, I

say if you want to be reminded every day of the atrocities committed by

Americans against other Americans, go to a museum, because the removal of

these monuments is not about erasing history.  It`s about understanding our

history.  And addressing the injustices of the past.

 

And when we come back, one city that decided to remove confederate

monuments from the streets.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

SHARPTON:  This week, the mayor of New Orleans, Mitch Landrieu took the

bold and necessary step to write a historical wrong.  When he ordered the

city to begin the removal of the first of four monuments dedicated to the,

quote, lost cause of the confederacy.  The champions of white supremacy.

 

According to the mayor`s office his actions have been met with death

threats and intimidation.  Should other southern leaders follow soon?  And

are they prepared to fight Jeff Sessions and his justice department in case

they intervene?

 

Joining me now is Tegan Wendland, radio reporter of WWNO in New Orleans. 

And Sharlene Sinegal-Decuir, an assistant professor of history at Xavier

university of Louisiana.

 

Let me start with you, Tegan.  The fact that Mayor Landrieu did this and

received threats, in fact, I understand that he had some kind of challenge

in even getting contractors that would take the contract to remove these

objects.  It shows there is really a lot of support for maintaining this

celebration of white supremacy and confederacy. 

 

TEGAN WENDLAND, RADION REPORTER, WWNO:  There`s a lot of support for the

monuments themselves.  People see these as relics of history.  They`ve been

gathering at the remaining three monuments over the past week to show their

support for them.  And particular the monuments of confederate Jefferson

Davis.  There were about 30 supporters there again last night.  Waving

confederate flags and there were about 30 folks who were there in support

of the monuments being removed.  And they were sort of facing off with each

other for some time.  It got a little tense.  But it was interesting to see

them engage in conversations about this topic.

 

And I heard from the supporters of the monuments that these are kind of –

they see them as part of their personal history.  A lot of these folks

drove past these statues every day on their way to school as kids, and they

talked about their personal connection to the civil war with their parents

around the dinner table when they were growing up.  So it`s not just about

collective history but personal history for some.

 

SHARPTON:  But that personal history, Sharlene, is personal to those who

were the heirs of slaves.  You can`t act like the civil war was not about

slavery.  You cannot act like the confederacy was not about returning

blacks to being property.  So they talk about their personal story like the

personal stories of blacks don`t matter.

 

WENDLAND:  Are you addressing, Sharlene?

 

SHARPTON:  Sharlene, I`m talking to, yes.

 

WENDLAND:  OK.

 

SHARLENE SINEGAL-DECUIR, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, XAVIER UNIVERSITY OF

LOUISIANA:  Yes.  Exactly.  And that is absolutely not the case.  It`s

history.  It belongs in museums.  And the thing is, frankly, Reverend Al

Sharpton, for many years we as African-Americans, African-American

community, we`ve been asked to get over things, to move past history.  And

if we think about it, it`s been 152 years since the passage of the 13th

amendment that freed slaves on American soil. 

 

From that time, we have been asked to move past it.  We`ve been asked to

move past 246 years of enslavement on North American soil.  We`ve been

asked to move past several things from the early 1900s through 2017.  We`ve

been asked to move past lynchings.  We`ve been asked to move past

disfranchisement, police brutality, all those things, and to an extent we

have, but we have not forgotten history, and we`re not asking these

confederate extremists to forget about history.  We`re only asking that

they move on like we have been asked to do for so many years.

 

SHARPTON:  But let me ask you this, Tegan.  As you say they start talking

to one another, do you get a sense that some are that are supporters of the

confederate and the other symbols that remain, do they even understand how

offensive that is?

 

I mean, we would not have Nazi monuments up in this country.  We would not

allow that in other areas.  And you are talking about public property that

the taxpayers in New Orleans mostly whom are black, are paying for.  I

mean, don`t they even understand that people in the public have a right to

say I don`t want my tax dollars celebrating making me and making my

forefathers property?

 

WENDLAND:  Sure.  I think there`s a wide range of historical knowledge

represented in the folks who show up to support these monuments.  And I

think largely for them it`s not about race, and they`ve been careful to

keep that out of the conversation in most cases.  But they feel like they

wanted a voice that should have been up for a public vote.  We vote on

taxes and water fees here.  They feel that we should have had a public vote

on these monument removals rather than city council having voted to have

them removed.

 

SHARPTON:  Let me ask you, Sharlene.  I`m out of time but – out of town. 

But can you have these discussions without talking about race?  She said

they don`t bring up race.  How do you talk about the confederacy?  How do

you talk about the civil war when I`m talking about race?

 

SINEGAL-DECUIR:  It`s definitely something that you cannot put out of this

discussion.  Because the civil was fought because of the institution of

slavery.  It will fought because of race.  So that is definitely something

that cannot be left out.  I mean, these monuments promote division, hate,

and racial strike.  This is something that America does not stand for.  I

mean, in the words of the 45 president, he`s trying to make America great

again.  So guess what, let`s make America great again and take down these

monuments and promote diversity and acceptance and inclusions.

 

SHARPTON:  Thank you, Tegan Wendland and Sharlene Sinegal-Decuir.

 

Up next, he`s outspoken, sometimes provocative.  But always doing the right

thing, director and writer, Spike Lee will tell us what he things of the

first 100 days of President “Agent Orange.”  His words not mine.  We`ll be

right back.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

SHARPTON:  During this week`s National Action Network Convention, I had the

honor to meet wonderful, talented, and passionate delegates, speakers and

activists.  One of them was none other than producer and actor Spike Lee. 

Spike came to talk on a panel on how to deal with gun crime in our

community.  But when I sat down with him, we talked about much more, and

specifically about someone he calls “Agent Orange.”

 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

 

SPIKE LEE, FILM DIRECTOR:  How are you doing, sir?

 

SHARPTON:  I`m good.  Thank you for being here at National Action Network. 

You`ve been around us from the beginning.

 

LEE:  Back in the day.

 

SHARPTON:  That`s right.  What do you think is the challenge of civil

rights organizations like National Action Network and NAACP today?

 

LEE:  Number one, it would be less than intelligent to tell you what you

should be doing because you`re been on the forefront – I mean, there was a

time where you were not the most popular man.

 

SHARPTON:  I heard.

 

LEE:  Since last night`s other thing, what they did to Ali?  At the end,

they forgot it one time he was the most despised person.  The narratives

get changed.  But right now I think it`s a very important time for any

organization.  It`s about humanity, about being progressive.  Agent Orange

has nuclear code.  It`s scary.  There`s this whole method about the

football.  The football is real.  It`s real.  President Obama`s first term,

my wife and I, Tonya, we gave a benefit at our house.  Packed.  Everybody

is there.  I go outside because I`m going to get out of here.  I`m going

outside, and there`s a car in front of my house.  East 63rd Street.

 

Two weeks before, they started going on the roof.  You couldn`t get around

the block.  Insane.  I go outside.  In front of my townhouse, and I see

this thing.  And this guy is sitting next to it, like a briefcase.  I look

to him.  He looked at me, and then he nodded.  I had nightmares that night.

 

SHARPTON:  Really?

 

LEE:  Yes.  Because certain numbers boom, boom, boom, boom.

 

SHARPTON:  So he`s sitting there with it because the president is there?

 

LEE:  The president has to be 100 feet.  He can`t go anywhere without that

thing, the football being next to him.

 

SHARPTON:  So you`re fear is now the other guy has the football?

 

LEE:  You got the crazy guy in North Korea, the crazy guy in Russia, Agent

Orange in the white house.  We`re on the brink.

 

SHARPTON:  And for our viewers that don`t know, Agent Orange is President

Trump?  Would you say that?

 

LEE:  I don`t want to say his name, but that`s the guy.

 

SHARPTON:  I want my viewers to be on the same rhythm.

 

LEE:  Yes.  That`s Agent Orange.

 

SHARPTON:  Let me ask you about Agent Orange, as you call him.  His 101st

day of his presidency.  How do you asses?

 

LEE:  Disaster.  Because, for me, from Brooklyn, this is some – he sold a

bill of goods, and the – it was a Three-Card Monte.  I`m going to do this,

do this, do this, and then I`m not doing that.  I`m doing this.  The same

thing that people thought they`re going to get when they elect you in

office, it`s a total switch.  And I`m talking about the people who voted

for him.  So we are in a very, very strange time.  And it`s sad.

 

SHARPTON:  We got to do – we got to protect the things we fought for.

 

LEE:  We don`t want to roll back the clock.

 

SHARPTON:  That`s right.

 

LEE:  Jeff sessions, let`s not go in his closet, because you might see

something that`s white way back in the closet.  This guy is attorney

general?  And we just – I just came from a panel about guns, and the

police.

 

SHARPTON:  Right.

 

LEE:  Do you think the stuff that Eric Holder did in the department of

justice in Ferguson unless the police departments that Jeff Sessions is

going to do that?

 

SHARPTON:  No.  He said he`s not.

 

LEE:  He said it himself.  And then they try to take back the stuff that`s

been in place already.

 

SHARPTON:  Yeah.  That`s why we`re here.  I have to ask you about this.  25

years after L.A., you`ve done something around Rodney King.  Tell us about

it.

 

LEE:  Well, it`s a one-man play by a brilliant actor, Roger Guenveur Smith. 

He`s done a lot of research, and he made – wrote, a one-man play that is

phenomenal.  It`s coming on Netflix.  And also I`d like to say there`s many

different things.  Right now, the 10th anniversary.  There`s documentaries

left and right, and I think the more, the better.  But what we did is

different.  It`s not a documentary.  It`s not a narrative.  It`s Roger

Smith one man on a stage giving a whole history of who Rodney King was. 

Because a lot of people don`t know who he was.  He got beat up and along. 

That`s it.  But he has a whole life.

 

SHARPTON:  That`s right.

 

LEE:  And that`s what Roger`s piece gets to.  It informs us who this

individual was.

 

SHARPTON:  And it`s coming on Netflix next week.

 

LEE:  Yes, this week.

 

SHARPTON:  OK.  Well, thank you, spike.

 

LEE:  Anytime.  Is Brooklyn in the house?

 

SHARPTON:  We here.  We here.  Brooklyn, do or die.

 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

 

SHARPTON:  Up next, for my final thoughts.  The line that connects the

National Action Network.  President Trump`s first 100 days in office and

the 25th anniversary of the Los Angeles riots.  Stay with us.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

SHARPTON:  As I sat and watched the thousands come to the National Action

Network Convention this week, largest turnout in our 26-year history.  I

looked among them, at the families, the victims of police brutality, racial

violence, job discrimination, many who have gone from being on the

headlines but we are still committed to standing for them.  And

representing permanent solutions to them and to what they were victimized

by.

 

And I thought about how just last month I and several other leaders of

national civil rights groups met with Attorney General Jeff Sessions who in

the first 100 days of President Trump has made it clear that he is going to

review police reform.  He is not going to go forward with the progressive

steps that President Obama made and Attorney Generals Eric Holder and his

successor, Mrs. Lynch, Loretta Lynch had made in terms of policing.  He`s

not going fight about discrimination.  He`s even withdrawn on voting

rights.

 

These first 100 days have been a disaster for those that believe in voting

rights and civil rights.  It is sent every tangible signal that we`re going

to turn the page back.

 

And as I look at those victims, Mrs. Diallo, Amadou Diallo`s mother, killed

in `99, Shawn Belle`s mother and father.  People who are no longer in the

headlines but we were then and we would them now.  I thought about Rodney

King.  I thought about 25 years ago.  I thought about how when a jury in

Simi Valley acquitted police that were on tape beating him over and over

again, and I remembered that many of us went to L.A.  There were riots. 

There were violence.  We don`t condone violence in any circumstances, but I

remember the apostle of nonviolence himself, Dr. Martin Luther King said

violence, these riots are the voice of the unheard trying to be heard.

 

People explode when they don`t feel they aren`t being heard.  When people

like those of us that raise it nonviolently are attacked.  You tell people,

well, if that doesn`t work, we have nothing to do but explode.  But

exploding doesn`t solve the problem.  It won`t help and didn`t help those

victims that we look at.  We kept going and we got the Rodney King case in

federal court.  We have to keep going now.  100 days of action must follow

100 days of disaster.

 

That does it for me.  Thanks for watching.  To keep the conversation going,

like us on facebook.com/politicsnation.  Follow us on Twitter

@politicsnation.  I`ll see you back here next Sunday.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

 

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

BE UPDATED.

END

 

Copyright 2017 ASC Services II Media, LLC.  All materials herein are

protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,

distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the

prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter

or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the

content.>