Politics Nation, Transcript 6/18/2017
Show: POLITICS NATION
Date: June 18, 2017
Guest: Nicholas Burns, Yamiche Alcindor, Max Boot, Scott Stringer
AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Good morning, and welcome to “PoliticsNation.”
On Friday, a jury has acquitted a Minnesota police officer in the shooting
of Philando Castile. Once again, raising the national debate over police
conduct toward black people. I will address this painful issue later in the
But we start today with a White House under investigation. This week, one
thing stood out. For the first time since the Trump-Russia probe got under
way, President Trump himself acknowledged that he is under investigation
for possible obstruction of justice.
And after James Comey took center stage last week, now the president
directed his anger at Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. And at
Special Counsel Robert Mueller. We also know now that Vice President Mike
Pence has hired a lawyer to help him handle Russia-related questions.
Let`s put things in order with my panel. Joining me now is Ambassador
Nicholas Burns. He`s a former undersecretary of state for political
affairs. He is now a professor at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
Max Boot, a senior fellow for National Security Studies at the Council of
Foreign Relations. He is a former adviser for Mitt Romney`s 2012 campaign.
And “New York Times” reporter and MSNBC contributor Yamiche Alcindor.
Let me start with you, Yamiche. We finally get the president admitting he
is under investigation. We went for a long period of time with statements
and charges and rumors back and forward. And he kept really emphasizing,
I`ve been told I`m not under investigation. Now, it switches this week. He
admits or concedes he`s under investigation and then goes right after the
investigators, saying it`s a witch hunt.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR, REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, to me, it`s a
remarkable moment because now we have the president saying without – with
no questions that he is now under investigation. And that`s really
important because he fired James Comey for the main point that he wanted to
until somebody get rid of this quote/unquote Russia thing. As he told
So this idea that he now feels as though he`s going to be under attack and
his presidency is going to be questioned. And the fact he made the
statement, he finally acknowledged that he was under investigation while
then also attacking essentially the deputy attorney general is really
significant because at first, he was using the deputy attorney general to
justify this firing of James Comey, trying to say that this is the reason
why I did it. And then he quickly couldn`t stick to that story and change
so we now see somebody who I think is unraveling when it comes to his
presidency and really sealing backed into a corner. And we know when the
president is backed into a corner, that`s when he gets the most emotional,
that`s when gets most reckless, that`s what he tweets the most, and this is
really a problem for his legal team and aides in the White House.
SHARPTON: Max, talking about tweeting. The president tweeted this morning.
He goes through a series of tweets. The new poll he talks about, but then
he goes through, you know, his whole about what he`s got done and signs.
But then at the last tweet, he says the make America great again agenda is
doing very well despite the distraction of the witch hunt. Many new jobs,
high business enthusiasm. So it`s now gone from fake news to the witch hunt
is how we`re talking about all of these things.
MAX BOOT, SENIOR FELLOW, NATIONAL SECURITY STUDIES AT THE COUNCIL OF
FOREIGN RELATIONS: I mean, President Trump has clearly been in a major
meltdown the last several days. I mean, if you just see the number of
tweets on Thursday and Friday and now continuing on to Sunday morning where
he`s not tweeting about Father`s Day. He`s tweeting about his legal
problems and clearly he is feeling the heat.
And I think for good reason because he`s got this team of Bob Mueller and
the investigators that he is assembling, these guys are new untouchables.
They are beyond Trump`s influence. He`s used to pressuring people and
telling them what to do, and Mueller is somebody who`s impervious to that,
which is why you can see Trump is sweating. He`s really worried about what
Mueller is going to come up with.
SHARPTON: The new untouchables, quite a way referring to them. Ambassador
Burns, I think that often what is lost in this is the seriousness and the
gravity of what we`re talking about. We`re talking about a foreign power,
one that has historically been adversarial to this country being able to
interfere or influence a national election, which is the basis of what the
country was supposed to be established for in the first place. With all the
back and forth, this is as serious as it can get in a democracy.
NICHOLAS BURNS, PROFESSOR, HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL OF GOVERNMENT: That`s
exactly right. The real scandal here is that Russia assaulted our
democracy. What Russia did in interfering in a massive way in our
democratic elections in 2016, it might be the most significant intervention
by a foreign power in the history of the country in an election.
SHARPTON: That`s a big deal. That`s a big deal.
BURNS: It`s historic and it`s ominous and it`s dangerous. And as “The New
York Times” said yesterday, all throughout this crisis, the president`s
been asking one question. How does this affect me? How does it affect my
poll numbers? How does it affect my personal standing? He has not been
asking, he never asked Director Comey about the Russia intervention, what
we should do about it. The first job of any president is to protect this
country. He should be mounting the defenses. He should be warning Russia.
He should be encouraging sanctions on Russia. It took the senate this week
in a 98-2 vote to impose sanctions on Russia because President Trump
refuses to. I think this is the core of it, and we`ve got to keep focus on
this aspect of the issue. His dereliction of duty.
SHARPTON: Yamiche, isn`t it astounding that the president of the United
States in six to eight conversations are with the FBI director and other
reported conversations that no one has said that he has expressed even a
passing concern about whether there`s evidence of whether or not the
elections were hacked or influenced? I mean, isn`t it astounding for the
head of the free world not to question whether in fact it was the free
world was tainted with in terms of an election in the United States, and is
it also noteworthy that the congress which he has a majority, his party
does, anyway, would tighten up the sanctions in face of this would clearly
the White House expressing some amount of displeasure with that?
ALCINDOR: I think it`s very noteworthy, and I think it`s very noteworthy
because there`s really been a cloud of Russia over this campaign, over this
candidacy, and this presidency since he took office. And this idea that
while it`s multiple intelligence agencies were clearly saying that Russia
is to blame for meddling in our elections, we still have our president who
has wavered on this idea, who has said, well, maybe it`s not Russia. Maybe
it was someone else, maybe it was shadow people. And then you have Vladimir
Putin who essentially said maybe it wasn`t Russia, but if it was Russia, it
was very patriotic of them to meddle in this election.
So you really have a clear evidence that Russia was involved in our
elections. And the fact he`s really worried about his personal dealings
with Russia and he`s really worried about his associations how they might
be handled and whether or not they should get off on this Russia
investigation, that`s really noteworthy.
But I should also say when you talked about that idea of him tweeting to
make America great again, as a reporter will also covers policy, so of
course I cover politics, but the other great thing that politicians are
supposed to do is pass laws like the health care bill, like infrastructure,
like all these other bills that the president promised his base and
promised really the American people, all these different things that he was
going to do and really, none of that is happening. You have a congress that
is somewhat in standstill because they`re all shocked and enveloped by all
this Russian investigation stuff. So you also have a presidency that is
really not effective at all and a republican party that have so much power
and it`s not using it to do anything.
SHARPTON: Max, is that not the point? Even if he`s playing to his base with
rhetoric, make America great and fake news and witch hunt, the fact is that
he promised in the first 100 days to deal with things like health care,
like tax reform, like jobs. And it hasn`t happened. No major piece of
legislation has gone through at all. And he`s saying these – he`s signing
executive orders like someone doing their homework for class the next
morning, but they really have no substantive value, and it`s not really
moving the dial for his own base supporters who sooner or later are going
to have to deal with has my life changed the way he promised me it would.
BOOT: And you`re seeing that reflected in the poll numbers. You`re seeing
his support among the republican base going down. There is a poll that came
out this week showing that 25 percent of republicans are unhappy with the
job that he is doing. Now, if that continues and that intensifies, that is
a major threat to Trump because all along, he has relied on a base
strategy. He is not a guy who reaches out to democrats or independents. He
won by mobilizing the base and I would say by mobilizing the worst
instincts the republican base last year, and he is basically felt safe
despite the fact that he has lost all standing with the country at large,
35 percent approval rating in general, but he`s felt safe to continue the
path that he`s on because he`s had the support of the republican base.
But if he loses that, you know, watch out because there`s no love lost for
this guy among the republicans on Capitol Hill. If they think that it`s
their self-interest is going to lie in turning against Trump rather than
standing with Trump, they will turn against him in a second.
SHARPTON: Ambassador Burns, you deal from a global perspective as well as
domestic. How do we look to the world when we`re in the middle of the
president back and forth under investigation, not under investigation, all
of his key players, and we look as though at least from a White House point
of view, we`re not even concerned if the democratic process has been
tainted and interfered with?
BURNS: Well, it pains me to say this, but we look weak to the rest of the
world, and not very reliable. You know, the Russians have interfered in the
Dutch elections in March, in the French elections in April/May and they`re
now trying to interfere in the German elections coming up in September. And
what the European leaders want, they want some support from the United
States, and our presidents republican and democratic have been always been
seen to be leaders of the west, leaders of the European and the North
American democracies. That`s not the way that the European leaders see
You remember, Reverend Sharpton, he went to Brussels, failed to reaffirm
our commitment to NATO. He`s denigrated the European Union. He`s not been
what Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama were, leaders of
this community, because he doesn`t espouse the same concern for democracy
and for human rights. He doesn`t talk about those values. It`s a sad day
for America when our president is seen in this light.
SHARPTON: Yes, thank you so much, Ambassador Nicholas Burns. Max Boot, and
Coming up, Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants more private jails. And
I`ve got a problem with that.
And later, I do not personally consume marijuana, but that`s not going to
stop me from calling for more black representation in the white dominated
weed industry. This is “PoliticsNation” on MSNBC.
SHARPTON: Earlier this month, the city of New York announced that it would
divest nearly $50 million of investment in city pension funds from private
prisons. To break it down, the nation`s largest city will not support its
retirees with investment returns from private prisons. The Obama
administration was trying to phase out due to widespread issues.
The move comes As Attorney General Jeff Sessions in his beefed up war on
crime and increased detention of illegal immigrants has called for
increased use of private facilities. The bulk of which are operated by just
two companies that vigorously supported Sessions` boss.
Joining me now is Scott Stringer, the New York City controller who
previously served as the Borough president of Manhattan. Thank you,
Let me ask you a question. By divesting of this, you, of course, are giving
these retirees and others whose pension funds you handle notice that they
will not be making money there, which is one of your responsibilities, but
it also says that you are not going to have their money invested in
something that is unfair and has some record of some serious issues, so
much so the Obama administration said that we`re no longer going to use
them in terms of the federal government.
SCOTT STRINGER, NEW YORK CITY COMPTROLLER: So we came to two conclusions.
Investing in private prisons is morally bankrupt, but it`s also financially
risky. And we have taken the position that this divestment does not in any
way hurt or fiduciary responsibility as investors for our retirees.
SHARPTON: So they`re not losing anything.
STRINGER: They`re just fine.
STRINGER: But equally important, we are sending a message in this country
that private prisons should be repudiated because people are making money
off mass incarceration. These prisons are dangerous. In California, three
deaths in three months. When you look at the fact that 65 percent of I.CE.
detainees are being put in private prisons, little medical care, people in
solitary for nonviolent crimes committed. We are seeing mass incarceration
in its new form, which is the ability for speculators to buy these prisons,
operate them for a profit, and then create a pipeline of young people,
mostly black and brown kids, into the correctional institution because now
it`s about big money. It`s not about reducing crime. It`s not about keeping
people safe. Private prisons should be – should not be part of the United
SHARPTON: I mean, it is almost unthinkable that people are actually making
huge amounts of money off just locking people up. Not lock them up for
crimes, not lock them up because we`re protecting society. But I can make
money. And it`s almost like a hotel, I don`t need vacancies because it cuts
into my profit. So low-level nonviolent offenders, all of that, fills my
occupancy requirements to make money. I mean, that is as immoral as you can
STRINGER: And look, we saw this in New York State, right? Twenty years ago
when I was in the assembly when we were arguing that these legislators in
Upstate New York, they wanted a prison not to reduce crime. They wanted to
create a prison and build the economy around a prison. We saw how that
flopped in our state.
Now, this is a new form of profit. Mass incarceration equals private
prisons. Get more I.C.E detainees into the system, and then money is going
to be made.
But here`s what the pension system said around the world. We believe it`s a
risky business. Because when you have reputational harm and you have people
overcrowded in these prisons, these are not going to turn out as good
investments because prison expansion wasn`t a good investment for our state
20 years ago. So we`ve seen this before. But now, Trump and the republicans
think this is going to be a for-profit making institution. We in the
pension fund, the fourth largest in America, 14th largest in the world,
we`ve put our marker down and said this is financially risky, this is not
the right thing to do, so we`re out of here.
SHARPTON: Do you hope what you`ve done being in New York sends a signal
that could be copied or, in many ways, emulated by others, city
controllers, even state controllers, however the authority may lie to make
these decisions around the country?
STRINGER: Well, look, with the republicans in charge and Trump ruining the
country, it has been up to state attorney generals, treasurers, and
controllers to play a role in making sure this country is protected. So I
have every evidence that the working relationship I have with California
and controllers in New York State and around the country, we`ve worked on
our board room accountability plan to diversity corporate boards in this
country. You know of that work. And we`re now going to work together
because the controllers and treasurers can protect their retirement
security for their members and at the same time reject this very flawed way
of mass incarceration.
SHARPTON: Yes. I`m glad you alluded to that because one of the things that
is so troubling to me, obviously from a civil rights background, is that
the administration that`s saying we`re going to use these privatized
prisons, we`re going to do what we`ve got to do with the fact that, yes,
they`re making money, but we`re going back in there despite what the Obama
administration did. At the same time, we`re getting tougher on crime. Even
the weekend of Philando Castile, which I will address. He writes a
“Washington Post” piece, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, he personally
writes one, tough on crime. But then they also want to not deal with public
education, not deal with programs that would put young people on the right
So it`s almost like the prison pipeline they`re building. What are we doing
to the future of the country? And then you have in the financial industry
where they tell people, you can make money, lift yourself by your
bootstraps, the exclusion of blacks even managing pension funds in cities
where blacks and Latinos are majority or large part of the retirees or the
taxpayers. And you`ve worked with a lot of the groups like National Urban
League, National Action Network to kind of break through that. We can`t
manage our money, invest our money, I`m talking about money that comes from
our retirees and have education and they`re building more prisons. I mean,
it is absolutely horrendous.
STRINGER: So we`re sending a strong message. This is the first public
pension fund in the United States to divest from private prisons. Now, we
should call for investment in schools and day care centers. It`s Father`s
Day today. Let`s invest in parents and give them the resources to keep kids
away from the incarceration mob that wants to make money off the backs of
In terms of corporate board diversity, we do have corporate boards that are
– they look like me, better suits. They`re not reflective of the country,
and now we have to make sure that every child, women, African-American,
Latino, kids who get the best education they get to these corporate
companies, they get stuck on the eighth floor. We`ve to get them to the C-
suite and the corporate boards and that`s how you change America. And
you`ve been a leader in that.
SHARPTON: Thank you, Scott Stringer. Happy Father`s Day to you.
Later in the show, thousands of protesters gathered Friday night after jury
found a police officer not guilty in last year`s fatal shooting. A
motorist, Philando Castile. I have lot to say about that.
Up next, Donald Trump`s former Virginia campaign chairman has tried to copy
the playbook that worked for Trump. It didn`t work for him, for a very
specific reason. That`s coming up. Don`t go away.
SHARPTON: And now for this week`s gotcha. A real lost cause edition. On
Tuesday, Virginia republican primary voters tapped Ed Gillespie for
governor, giving him a narrow win over rival Cory Stewart. Stewart was
fired from his position as Virginia state chair of Donald Trump`s
presidential campaign, while protesting against the republican national
committee. Warning them not to drop then-candidate Trump after the Access
Holly Wood controversy. A controversy Stewart wrote off by saying Trump,
quote, acted like a frat boy, as a lot of guys do.
Like his hero, Stewart also ran a campaign of macho name calling, labeling
his opponent as Gilliespie cuckservative and former President Clinton a
rapist, all in the same town hall, but if there`s one thing that really
mattered to the Minnesota-born Stewart, near the end of his campaign, it
was the confederacy.
And in April, as several southern cities prepped to remove statues of
confederate leaders, he tweeted, quote, nothing is worse than a Yankee
telling a southerner that his monuments don`t matter. Alien invasions,
climate change, heck, paper cuts. Nope, nothing could be worse than
monuments to racist traitors being removed from public spaces. He followed
up, tweeting that statues of presidents, quote, Washington and Jefferson,
are next if we don`t stop this madness.
Guess he thought that was too subtle because he spelled it out a day later,
adding politicians who are for destroying the statues, monuments and other
artifacts of history, are just like ISIS. ISIS? A group of violent
terrorists using, among other things, religion as a cover for the
brutalization of millions. You mean, like the confederacy? Mr. Stewart, I
tried not to kick people when they`re down, but wow. The Trump era has
redefined what`s acceptable in our politics. Virginia republicans, this
week, could be bought with bigoted macho nostalgia, and I wouldn`t worry
about a statue of your own any time soon. Looks like even the south is done
building them for losers. So on behalf of progress and public spaces, I
AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Is done building them for losers. So on behalf of
progress and public spaces, I gotcha.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: I come today to say that we must decriminalize what they`re doing
in this industry. I don`t smoke weed. But those that have the medical need,
need to be able to fulfill that, and we are tired of seeing young people
disproportionately black and Latino, go to jail for weed in small amounts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: on Friday, I was the keynote speaker at the Cannabis World
Congress and Business Expo. Reaffirming my stance that the explosive growth
of the legal marijuana industry should not bypass minority communities. The
legal weed business made more than $4 billion last year. Eclipsing Viagra,
tequila, and Girl Scout cookies in sales. Yet, only about one percent, one
percent of the nearly 3,600 dispensaries in the country are black-owned,
according to reporting by BuzzFeed. I want to emphasize that as a minister,
part from an occasional cigar, I`m a nonsmoker, but I`m more interested in
justice than judgment.
And earlier this week, we learned that Attorney General Jeff Sessions now
wants to prosecute medical marijuana dispensaries in states where it has
been legalized. This at the same time he wants to reinstate mandatory
minimums for nonviolent drug offenders, harkening back to a pre-Obama drug
war that decimated black and Latino communities.
So whether it`s pot shops or prison sentences, people of color have to be a
part of the conversation about marijuana`s future instead of just targets
of the drug war`s past and present.
Joining me now is Wanda James, a former consultant to President Barack
Obama and the first African-American woman to own a legal marijuana
Wanda, let me begin by going to one of the issues that really got me
involved, because I`m not a weed smoker, not in that at all. Don`t preach
it, but I think that people should not be incarcerated for an inordinate
amount of time for nonviolent marijuana use. And President Obama talked
about it on this show at the end of his presidency, how he had commuted
more nonviolent drug related offenders than the last 11 presidents
I mean, I think people need to understand that when we talk about
decriminalization, people were doing 10, 15, 20 years for this kind of
stuff. Disproportionately in black and Latino communities.
WANDA JAMES, FORMER CONSULTANT TO PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Hey, Reverend Al.
How you doing? This is a real issue. My brother did 10 years in the prison
system for 4 1/2 ounces of cannabis, which was more or less cannabis than
we see on college campuses. Which is a tremendous al lot less amount of
cannabis than we sell in our dispensary on any given day or any given hour
for that matter.
And this is the crazy thing that we look at. Your ZIP code in America will
determine whether you are a millionaire or a felon based on cannabis and
cannabis sales. The arrest of black and brown people is one of the most,
because of cannabis, is the most racist law in American history. And it`s
time that we start to look at what the issues have been, how bad it`s
messed up our neighborhoods, what it`s doing to our communities, while at
the same time, there are a number of white entrepreneurs that are making
billions and billions of dollars and are on the cover of “Forbes” Magazine.
What sense does that make?
SHARPTON: And part of what I said to the congress is on one side, we get
locked up. Those that smoke weed at a disproportionate number. And then now
that the industry is legal in 23 states, we get locked out of going into
the business side. So either side, we`re dealing with racism, and we`ve got
to confront it. You`ve been able to be one of the few to really break
through that wall. But we`re talking about an industry that now is making
billions. They project going toward $30 billion, and there are those that
have medical use. We`re not just talking about people using it to get high
and have fun recreational drugs, but have medical use here from using
dispensaries like yours.
JAMES: There`s tremendous medical use. We`ve been taking care of babies,
people with epilepsy, people with cancer. And I hear you on that, but let
me also bring up the fact too, Al, we`ve got to change how we look at
cannabis. Because our communities now also stop many young people,
enterprising young people from wanting to join the industry and be a part
of this because of the negativity that we look down on this for.
And look, whether you use it for medicinal purposes or even if you choose a
safer way to recreate, to have recreation, cannabis is 100 times more safer
than alcohol. You can`t die from cannabis. You can`t overdose on cannabis,
and cannabis as a plant is not addictive in the same ways that alcohol is.
There are so many different avenues that we need to discuss this in our
community and better understand this. Because if we don`t get a handle on
this, we will continue to be at the mercy of crooked law enforcement and
For example, this morning, we have all been talking about Philando Castile.
Another horrible situation in American history. And what`s the first thing
the police came out and said about him? Oh, there was cannabis in his
SHARPTON: Oh, yes, that`s what they said.
JAMES: Michael Brown, cannabis in his system. Sandra –
JAMES: Sandra Bland, cannabis in her system. Trayvon Martin, cannabis in
his system. It becomes a part to make us criminals, to make us come off as
if we`re not in control of our lives when the white population smokes just
SHARPTON: The other part of that which I think people don`t understand, you
have cities including New York where they can deny you an apartment in
public housing if you have been arrested for smoking weed. You`re blocked
from getting certain jobs. You`re blocked from getting certain banking. I
mean, just if you were busted 10, 12 years ago for smoking weed, you
literally can become one who can`t use public housing, can`t go to certain
school for smoking a joint. And you`ve got people that have fleeced
millions of dollars, harmed people, who don`t have those kind of barriers.
JAMES: And this is what we have got to start to fight. We have got to
change our perspective on this plant. And then we`ve got to go with this
and stop the institutional racism that is used against us because of
cannabis. It is a tremendously large issue. And the fact that the Trump
administration and Sessions are now fighting to reverse medicinal
marijuana. Have you seen the babies we`ve been helping? This is nothing but
straight out unadulterated racism at its finest. To be able to lock people
up for simply having a plant in their position is the most ridiculous law
that we will ever see in this country. And it must end. And it must end
SHARPTON: Well, thank you, Wanda James. And that`s why I`m standing up on
this really not a lot of us in the civil rights community yet, but I hope
there`ll be more. I`m taking some flack for it, but I took flack when I
came out for same-sex marriage. I`m not gay, but I am pro-civil rights for
everybody. I don`t smoke weed, but I am for justice for everybody.
Coming up – I`ve got to go. Thank you, Wanda.
I`ve got to deal with another win for a democrat in a red state. I`ll
explain it next.
SHARPTON: This Tuesday, the voters of Georgia sixth congressional district
will cast ballots. And recent polling has democrat Jon Ossoff in a very
tight race with his republican opponent, Karen Handel. The close contest is
feeding democrat hopes that they can win in unfriendly territories, and
small victories are starting to appear.
Earlier this month, 34-year-old democrat Chokwe Antar Lumumba became mayor
elect of Jackson, Mississippi, following in the footsteps of his father, a
famed civil rights attorney. Lumumba won on a platform of economic
inclusion, and some are calling his victory a model for progressive success
in the post-Trump south. Turning to its cities to buck the increasing
repression in those states.
Joining me now from Jackson is Mayor-elect Chokwe Antar Lumumba. First of
all, Chokwe, thank you for being on. And you know I knew your father well.
In fact, I saw him. He introduced me to speak in Jackson about a month
before his passing. So, I take this as a Father`s Day gift to my beloved
friend, your father, former mayor, Chokwe Lumumba who`s got to be proud
that you are now sitting in that seat.
CHOKWE A. LUMUMBA, MAYOR-ELECT OF JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI: Well, thank you,
Reverend Sharpton. I appreciate your recollection of my father and your
friendship. I`d be honored if my father were here today to see what we`ve
done. I`m proud of him, and I`m proud of my mother.
SHARPTON: Your mother has certainly been there every step of the way for
him and you. And what you`ve done has raised national attention on how it`s
done. Because as people look at the midterm election, you become a shining
light in Jackson, Mississippi, of being an openly progressive, the second
generation of that, and won in a resounding victory.
What are the elements that led to your victory, and what does that say as
we look at a model going forward around the country as we get ready to face
LUMUMBA: Well, Reverend Sharpton, I would be remiss if I didn`t acknowledge
that this was been – this has been a work of a collective work. I have a
very strong team. And it was the work of my parents being activists in this
community and activists around the country that led to this moment. It was
the collective work over years and years of struggle, of identifying issues
and communities and joining those things together in order to develop a
people`s platform that people responded to. We believe that once you
identify and execute the plan of collective genius and working with people,
people respond to that. And that was demonstrated in this election.
We won with, in a general election with 93 percent of the votes. So we`re
excited about that. But we`re more excited about the opportunity that we
have in Jackson, Mississippi. A place where some of the most horrible
suffering has gone on in history. Has to be the example for change for the
SHARPTON: Now, certainly, it was a selective, and certainly a people`s
agenda emanating from the bottom up. And you being and remaining as part of
that bottom rather than this top down kind of politics, both on the
republican and democratic side. The kind of things that you want to do as
mayor are the kinds of things I think people around the country want to
respond to, regardless of their political affiliation. What are the things
that you most are determined to see done in Jackson and would hope is
replicated around the country?
LUMUMBA: Absolutely. So we want to see circumstances where we can create
more self-determination for people, giving them more control of their
lives. We want to institute a solidarity economy, one that is just. We want
to see the end of worker oppression. All of those things are key and vital
to Jackson, Mississippi, but they`re important to our country.
As we look and consider what it means to be in Trump times, I explain to
people as they ask me what it felt like in Jackson, Mississippi, after the
November election, I said, well, the Wednesday after the election, I woke
up in Mississippi. And what that means is no matter whether our country has
experienced great booms or busts, we`ve always been at the bottom. And so
it`s incumbent upon us to be the change we wish to see. And it`s going to
require that we take this voyage from a grassroots level, and so we need to
start working collectively and institute the idea of collective work and
responsibility and shared sacrifice in order to accomplish our ends.
SHARPTON: Now, when we also look at the fact that in areas of education and
health care there are particular challenges in Mississippi and throughout
the south, how do you see grappling with that?
LUMUMBA: Well, you know, we have to have progressive thought and vision in
terms of how we affect those areas. We need to have a student-centered
pedagogy and student-centered curriculum which has the ability to capture
young people where they are. And that`s where our challenge is to this day,
and looking for those individuals who have progressive vision of how they
attract young people to the process of learning.
SHARPTON: Well, thank you for being on and thank you for continuing from
generation to generation to move toward progress in this country. Mayor-
LUMUMBA: Thank you.
SHARPTON: When we come back, my message for Father`s Day in the aftermath
of Friday`s heart-breaking decision in the Philando Castile case. We`ll be
SHARPTON: It`s Father`s Day and I`m going to preach at Metropolitan Baptist
Church in Newark when I get off the air and I was going to end the show
today talking about how I`m glad I reconciled with my father after many
years of division. I spoke with him this morning and my father is in the
movement of civil rights like Reverend Joe Lowry and Wyatt Walker.
But then Friday happened. Another jury, another verdict. The policeman that
killed Philando Castile killed live, on Facebook live, as his girlfriend
filmed it. Not guilty. Did nothing wrong.
Well, Reverend, you`ve seen this before. You`ve fought on these. In some
cases you won, many you didn`t. But what really got to me about Father`s
Day, what is not being told is, yes, his girlfriend filmed it, yes, it was
on Facebook live, but her little daughter was sitting in the back of that
car. And her little daughter saw this man that goes with her mother riddle
riddled with bullets and a jury said there`s nothing wrong.
Even though they said he`s going for his I.D., license gun, nothing wrong.
It brought me back to when I was around five or six years old, my father
and mother used to drive us down south, my sister and I, to visit their
parents for the holiday. I was born in New York but they were respectively
from Alabama. My father had been an amateur boxer. He said when he was an
amateur, he even sparred with Sugar Ray Robinson. Nobody could beat my
But I remember we pulled into a diner in North Carolina while driving down
to spend Christmas with his family. He went to give us some hamburgers and
milkshakes out the diner. He came back empty-handed. We said, what happened
to the hamburgers? He said, they don`t serve blacks here. They told me to
get out. My father, who nobody could beat, never had the same image in my
young eyes again. Because somebody beat my father. How do you think that
little girl looks at men, looks at father, looks at this nation when the
verdict told her that her mother`s boyfriend could be killed and nothing
there`s nothing wrong with it?
What we do to young kids looking up for manhood and fatherhood and
protection and security is what I`m thinking about on Father`s Day. Some of
us have to be fathers despite the fact that it seems like society sometimes
is stacked against us, but we`ve got to not surrender and succumb. We`ve
got to fight for the little girls in the back of the car.
That does it for me. Thanks for watching. Happy Father`s Day. I`ll see you
back here next Sunday.
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