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PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton, Transcript 12/20/2015

Guests: April Ryan; Nick Berardini; Joe Arpaio; Joann Woodson; Linda Hervieux

Show: POLITICS NATION Date: December 20, 2015 Guest: April Ryan; Nick Berardini; Joe Arpaio; Joann Woodson; Linda Hervieux



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fight night for the Democrats, squaring off the just their third presidential debate.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I worry too much that secretary Clinton is too much into regime change.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: With all due respect, senator, you vote forward regime change with respect to Libya.

MARTIN O`MALLEY (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We need common sense gun --

SANDER: Let`s calm down a little, Martin.

CLINTON: Yes, let`s tell the truth, Martin.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can Bernie Sanders get a second win?

Also, battle lines in the GOP. The politics is getting personal.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If I lost the nomination, yes, I guess I`d call myself a loser. I`ve never said that about myself before.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we talk to controversial sheriff Joe Arpaio about whether his views on immigrants are now mainstream in the GOP.

All that plus a look at whether tasers are really safe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was pretty clear to me that this was taser induced cardiac arrest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody told us these were going to kill people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And a widow`s mission to honor a hero 60 years in the making.

From Rockefeller Center in New York City, this is "Politics Nation with Al Sharpton."


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

The Democratic presidential candidates held just their third debate last night. Late on a Saturday night right before Christmas. And it came after days of controversy over the Bernie Sanders campaign improperly accessing Hillary Clinton`s voter data. He apologized for that right at the start.


SANDERS: Not only do I apologize to Secretary Clinton, and I hope we can work together on an independent investigation from day one, I want to apologize to my supporters. This is not the type of campaign that we run.

CLINTON: I very much appreciate that comment, Bernie. It really is important. We should move on because I don`t think the American people are all that interested.


SHARPTON: The debate was in New Hampshire, a state where Sanders is actually leading Clinton in the polls. And he was eager to highlight their differences, especially when it comes to Wall Street and big corporations.


DAVID MUIR, WORLD NEWS ANCHOR: Should corporate America love Hillary Clinton?

CLINTON: Everybody should. I have said I want to be the president for the struggling, the striving and the successful.

SANDERS: Hillary and I have a difference. CEOs of large multinationals may like Hillary. They aren`t going to like me, and Wall Street is going to like me even less.


SHARPTON: But Clinton repeatedly looked past her Democratic rivals to focus instead on Donald Trump.


CLINTON: The rhetoric coming from the Republicans, particularly Donald Trump, is sending a message to Muslims here in the United States and literally around the world that there is a clash of civilizations. Mr. Trump has a great capacity to use bluster and bigotry to inflame people. He is becoming is` best recruiter. They are going to people, showing videos of Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslims.


SHARPTON: There were a few light moments like when Clinton came back late after a commercial break and when she wrapped up her closing remarks by seeming to admit that a good chunk of the country was probably watching the new "Star Wars" movie instead of the debate.


CLINTON: Thank you. Good night. And may the force be with you.


SHARPTON: Joining me now is April Ryan, Washington bureau chief for American Urban Radio Networks, Dana Milbank of "the Washington Post," and Republican strategist Adolfo Franco. Thank you all for being here.



SHARPTON: So April, Sanders is down 30 points to Clinton nationwide. Did he do anything to regain momentum last night?

APRIL RYAN, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: We know last night, Reverend Al, he was a different Bernie Sanders, in my opinion. He was not at passionate, but he was still forceful. I guess with all of this hanging over his head with this new scandal about the list that his staffers were able to look at or, you know, at least one we know of for sure that was fired that looked at Hillary Clinton`s list. But he was someone I think tonight that -- last night, who really wanted to show the American public that he`s still there. We saw Bernie Sanders who was still very presidential. But yet someone who was very real. He apologized but came out still forceful, challenging Martin O`Malley, challenging Hillary Clinton, and tried to set his record straight.

But he also, and I was really shocked still to this point, after he apologized to Hillary Clinton at the begin, he came back later on and said we have to give her credit for being one of the most transformative first ladies ever. So he really still was forceful, challenging her at point and Martin O`Malley, but yet still paying homage to Hillary Clinton.

SHARPTON: Dana, how do you read that? I mean, apology came back and kind of paid homage. We had all of these forecasts of maybe this would be a very confrontational kind of night. It seemed the opposite from the strategy of Bernie Sanders side at least what we saw on the debate stage.

MILBANK: Right. I think that was Bernie Sanders being Bernie Sanders. I mean, his policies are very clear. But he`s not, you know, a rude confrontational kind of guy. And you know, he has been fighting the good fight for this campaign and representing his position, the populist left. He has done it very forcefully. He has been I think succeeded beyond expectations of many.

Look. He is not going to get the nomination. We all know that. He knows that. And I think he is continuing to represent what he stands for in a way that`s benefitting the party, that`s is benefiting his cause. So yes, he was definitely strong in representing himself. Politely challenging the front-runner, but I think not doing the sort of bridge burning that we`ve seen on the Republicans.

SHARPTON: And that was forecast.

You know, Adolfo, one of the things that was interesting is Hillary Clinton seemed to go past her Democratic opponents and was going after the Republicans, most notably Donald Trump last night. It seemed like she was content I have got this wrapped up in terms of the Democratic nomination, and she really was going after Republican opponents. In fact, on "SNL" last night, I thought it was interesting, they went back and brought the 2008 Hillary and the president -- let me show you what they did last night.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hillary from 2008.






UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You changed your hair.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, yes, well, people said I should, so I did.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Even if you beat Bernie, aren`t you worried about the Republicans? Who is their front-runner?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I will tell you but only if you grab on to something to brace yourself because you`re going to hit the efen (ph) floor.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I will be fine. Just tell me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. You need to hold on to something.





UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I told you. Oh, my God, we`re going to be president.



SHARPTON: Is it any surprise that Mrs. Clinton seemed eager last night to attack Donald Trump?

FRANCO: It`s not a surprise at all. This contest on the Democratic side in my opinion has been over for some time. Last night sure lie confirmed it for me. The fact of the matter is that these debates are actually taking place on Saturday night. Not just this Saturday night but the remaining debates are Saturdays and Sundays. These are dress rehearsals. This contest is over. Bernie Sanders will, of course, not be the nominee. Hillary Clinton is taking every precaution, even having these debates, really, the campaigns or the DNC on Saturday nights to make sure that if any mistakes are made, that they are minimized. So that`s very clear to me.

I really think that Bernie Sanders has even failed in moving Hillary Clinton much to the left, despite all that`s been said about this. And last night I think we saw that, Al, when she didn`t take the bait on the issues of the bank and said I`m a candidate for every American, and everyone including banks and corporations.

She`s always been a careful candidate. And I think she demonstrated it last night. She is absolutely focused, as she should be on the Republican field. I know she knows Donald Trump is not going to be our candidate for president. I can assure you of that, but he makes nice foil and can -- he will not be the nominee. It`s a nice way to brand the Republicans at Trump supporters when that won`t be the case in the long run.

SHARPTON: But let me go to there in a minute, April, because --

RYAN: Is he sure about that? Is Donald Trump not --

FRANCO: I`m sure about that.

SHARPTON: He`s saying he`s sure about that. We heard that from --

RYAN: I`m going to hold him to it.

SHARPTON: And the fact that he has become the front-runner so long, April, and now the Republican party has got to deal with what he represents, it almost is getting to the point whether if he`s ultimately the nominee or not, he`s become the symbol of that party and what it stands for.

RYAN: Yes. He`s changed the dynamic in the Republican Party. He has change dynamic on the political landscape whether it`s Democrat or Republican. The issues that he is putting out there are important issues but how he comes about to the end result is the problem.

But Donald Trump has put the issues out there, yes. We give him that. But the tactics, the divisiveness is a problem. I mean, Reverend Al, I was at a party last night. There was an ambassador there. I asked them, you know, what are you hearing around the world globally when it comes to what`s happening here? Ultimately the conversations come about to Donald Trump. And around the world, globally, people are upset.

SHARPTON: Yes. We are going to talk a lot more about the Republicans debate this week.

But, Dana, I think that the other concern is, is Mrs. Clinton and as Adolfo said, being a safe candidate? Is she doing enough to drive out her base vote she will need in a general election against the Republican? Because the danger is that at one level you avoid a lot of problems, and at another level, are you giving a base you need the reasons to come out and vote and maybe have to stand in line with new voting laws in some spots?

We`ll talk about all of that. Everybody, stay with me. Lots more ahead.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coming up, the controversial figure at Donald Trump`s rallies. It`s the "Politics Nation" interview with Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Plus, the new film that asks, are tasers really safe?



SHARPTON: When Donald Trump was back in Phoenix this week, he was introduced by another controversial figure, Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County. He has been a polarizing figure for decades, known for aggressive immigration policies.

The sheriff set up an open air jail that he called a quote "concentration camp," where the heat climbs to over 110 degrees. He forced prisoners to wear pink underwear. And in 2013, a federal judge found his office guilty of violating the constitution by racially profiling Latinos. I, myself, have had public battles with the sheriff over the issue. But now he is sharing the spotlight with the GOP front-runner, singing Trump`s praises.


SHERIFF JOE ARPAIO, MARICOPA COUNTY: He gets the message across. Think of that. He says things that a lot of people would like to say, but they don`t have the guts politically to say it. So -- and that`s sad.


SHARPTON: The sheriff also revived one of Trump`s signature issues, birther conspiracy theories about President Obama.


ARPAIO: If you recall five months ago, I introduced Donald Trump. At that time I said a few things. We have something in common. The birth certificate investigation. Which is still going on.


SHARPTON: Joining me now is Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona. Thanks for being here, sheriff.

Does Donald Trump`s surge mean that your immigration views are the mainstream now in the GOP?

ARPAIO: You know, Al, one thing I did say five months ago that he opened the door for illegal immigration. You do know that everybody wanted to keep this quiet. But since he brought it up, all the candidates are talking about it. Regardless of what the final results are, at least he opened the door. Maybe Congress will finally do something now, or the next president will do something, except that all they do is talk.

SHARPTON: Now, I mean, we had our battles. We had our debates but we always talk. It`s unbelievable to go from the things you were talking about, talking about people, prisoners walking down the street, immigrants being paraded around in underwear and all and now this is the mainstream of the Republican Party? Do you feel like you`re accepted now and that you are -- have arrived as one of the leaders of the party as far as bringing your ideology front and center?

ARPAIO: Well, I didn`t plan it that way. I was a regional director in Mexico City, South America. And can go on and on. Texas, Arizona, so I think I know something about the border. Mainly it was because of the drug trafficking. And by the way, I`m glad that some politicians, instead of standing in front of a fence talking about illegal immigration, now they`re starting to talk about the heroin traffic coming across. That`s a good thing.

But I don`t know. I didn`t do this. I had the authority, my deputies under ICE. We were acting as immigration officers for two years. And so I`m not going to take credit for the illegal immigration situation. We had to do a lot of other things, Al. But now everybody is talking about it.

SHARPTON: Let`s talk about something else you brought up. You said that the birther conspiracy research that you were doing and that Trump was doing or supporting is still going on. Are you and Trump still on this birther thing? Do you really believe the president of the United States was not born in Hawaii?

ARPAIO: I don`t care where he was born. I said that from day one. I said that it`s a fraudulent document, government document. That`s all I have been saying. I don`t care where he was born. That`s not my trust. It`s a fake document, which if you had a fake document, you would be in jail tomorrow. That`s all.

SHARPTON: But why hasn`t anybody been able to establish it`s a fake document?

ARPAIO: We establish it but nobody wants to look at it. They avoid it. And I have had two major press conferences, two, three years ago. Nobody will look at it. They don`t even want to hear about it. The only reason I mentioned Trump is the fact he brought this out a long time ago. He was the only one that talked about it. Nobody wants to talk about it, al.

SHARPTON: Let me ask you this, sheriff Arpaio. How important in your judgment will the immigration issue that you have championed on the other side from us. How is this going to rank in the Republican primaries and in the general election? How important will it be? Will it be at the top of the list?

SHARPTON: Well, Al, we have another caveat in this because of what is going on with the terrorism. You know the controversy going on now are about people coming into our country to do harm. So I think that`s another element that connects with border security and people coming into this country illegally. So just by chance, it`s too bad it happened in California, but just by chance now we have the different element and all it does pertain to immigration situation. So that`s not going to go away now.

SHARPTON: Sheriff Joe Arpaio, thank you for your time this morning.

ARPAIO: Thank you. Happy holidays, Al.

SHARPTON: Thank you. Same to you.

ARPAIO: Thank you.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ahead, are tasers really safe? We talk to the director of an explosive new film that could help change how police treat the public.

Also, new feuds in the GOP presidential race.

And a widow`s fight to honor a World War II hero.



SHARPTON: Today, there`s a new focus on a tool that police departments have used for years -- tasers. They have been embraced by law enforcement agencies as a nonlethal method of subduing suspects. Today, they are used by 97 percent of law enforcement agencies in the U.S. That`s nearly 18,000 police departments. Tasers carry 50,000 volts of electricity.

The company that makes them, Taser International, says they are designed to temporarily immobilize suspects. Marketing tasers as a safe alternative to guns.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our long-term mission is we want to make the bullet obsolete. We`re going to give people choices so good that you don`t have to kill people to protect yourself.


SHARPTON: But "the Guardian" reports there have been 48 deaths following the use of a taser. Though establishing a direct link in these kinds of cases is difficult. And a new documentary "killing them safely" looks at whether tasers are really safe.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is what the tobacco industry relied on for decades. You can`t prove tobacco causes cancer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was clear this was taser induced cardiac arrest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody told us this was going to kill people.


SHARPTON: Joining me Nick Berardini is the filmmaker behind the new documentary "Killing Them Safely." Thank you for being here, nick.

NICK BERARDINI, FILMMAKER, KILLING THEM SAFELY: Thanks for having me, Reverend Sharpton.

SHARPTON: Nick, are tasers more dangerous than people generally realize?

BERARDINI: Yes, without question. The public understanding and where the company was so smart was that the public understanding would be that these were weapons that were alternatives to deadly force which means they would be used in high-risk scenarios. Now, the police understanding, this goes back from the very early stages when they were being told in mass was they were 100 percent safe. They could not cause death. And so, police officers began using these weapons at lower levels of force because they do end any confrontation so effectively. Because there`s a risk of death or serious injury, a lot of the people who end up being killed or injured should never have had their lives put in jeopardy. And that`s the disconnection that taser international, the sole manufacturer of these weapons has been able to play on for years.

SHARPTON: You actually spoke to a vice president of Taser International. Let me play that.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To the outside observer, we`re using electricity. That scares people. We`re shocking somebody in the minds of people. We`re using something that`s foreign. We`ve been trained as kids to be afraid of electricity and yet medical science has used electricity for benefits from physical therapy to cardiac defibrillators to pacemakers to him in the brain. There is also some things electricity can be used safely every day. It can also be used to cause great harm when it`s used at great levels of power that we`re nowhere near.


SHARPTON: Does taser international recognize the dangers that risk here?

BERARDINI: Internally, yes. Very much so. Their own research has born- out these risks.

SHARPTON: Are there national standards on police and how they use or not use tasers, when and under what circumstances does it become necessary or even justified use?

BERARDINI: The scary thing about this is that just like a lot of use of force, you know, police departments are autonomous. So no one is really keeping track of use of force. No one is keeping track of exactly how many people are dying except for estimates because the electrical current doesn`t leave traditional biomarkers with a blunt force object like a baton or a gunshot. It can be difficult to determine the cause of death for a medical examiner.

SHARPTON: But one thing that I gathered from the documentary that is pretty well established is that using tasers does, in many ways, interfere with police that might normally engage in dialogue or talking down a suspect.

BERARDINI: Yes, absolutely.

SHARPTON: It kind of encourages officers to just go for the taser rather than engage in things that could not have any risk of life at all, like talking to the suspect.

BERARDINI: Absolutely. You have to understand what the public doesn`t understand is that, you know, only two percent of arrests in general by best estimates will use some kind of weapon to effect the arrest. The weapons are so expensive, that if they couldn`t be used as low levels of force. It will be hard for departments to justify buying them in mass. So maybe you would buy some for some SWAT officers or crisis intervention trainers.

But most every street officer in a lot of departments is carrying these things, and they`ve been trained to use force, to use this weapon to use violence to control any situation, not just dangerous ones. And then essentially figure out what happens next because there really are no serious risks.

SHARPTON: Nick Berardini, I thank you for your time. It`s very important subject. And his documentary "Killing Them Safely" is in theaters now.

BERARDINI: Thanks very much, Mr. Sharpton.

SHARPTON: We reached out to taser for comment about the film. The company said in part quote "we are disappointed about this highly biased documentary. And that quote "our technology has made communities significantly safer and has saved many lives." For more information, you can visit their Web site at


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Next, the Republican primary. Cruz versus Rubio. Bush versus Trump. Battle lines form in the fight for the GOP nomination.



SHARPTON: Battle lines are forming in the GOP nomination fight, and not even the holiday spirit can soften things. Ted Cruz with Santa Claus at a campaign stop. But Cruz wasn`t so jolly when he attacked Marco Rubio who responded in kind.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Senator Rubio still supports amnesty and a pathway to citizenship today. For the millions of people who are here illegally. Senator Rubio`s campaign is desperately now trying to muddy the waters on immigration.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Highs going to have a hard time because he`s not told the truth about his position in the past on legalization. I think Ted Cruz needs to be clear about what his stance is today.


SHARPTON: We`re also seeing Jeb Bush trying to jump-start his campaign by reigniting his feud with Donald Trump.


JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Just one other thing I`ve got to get this off my chest. Donald Trump say jerk. You cannot insult your way to the presidency. You cannot disparage women, Hispanics, disabled people. Who is he kidding? A guy like that should not be the front-running candidate of our great party. That is not how we win. I gave myself therapy there. Thank you for allowing myself to do it.


SHARPTON: Things are certainly getting frosty in the GOP. Donald Trump had to look overseas for some warmth to Vladimir Putin who called Trump quote "colorful and talented." And Trump is running with it.


TRUMP: Look, we`re all tough guys. But wouldn`t it be nice if like Russia and us could knock out an enemy together? Not us bare the full cost sometimes like. And they have problems. We all have problems. Rush has got plenty of problems. But I will tell you what. If Putin likes me and if he thinks I`m a good, smart person, which I hope he believes I am. Actually, he`s right. I am brilliant. You know that.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ll be right back with a "Politics Nation" panel looking at new attack strategies in the GOP race.


SHARPTON: It`s the "Star Wars" of politics, the Republican primary. The biggest fight in the galaxy.

We are back with our panel, April Ryan, Dana Milbank and Adolfo Franco.

Dana, can Jeb Bush find his inner Jedi master and successfully take on Donald Trump?

MILBANK: The force does not seem to have been with Jeb for very many months now. I see very little evidence he`s going to get his act back together. Look, I mean, if we look at the Republican primaries in the past, everybody sort of has his or her moment in the sun and will have a little rally. But it`s starting to look like the Jeb Bush rally goes from, you know, three percent to five percent.

What really needs to happen if they want to stop Trump, and I think that`s an absolute imperative, is the reasonable candidates in the race, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Jon Kasich, others need to get together and say, alright, you know, we all got to get behind somebody. The rest of us have ti exercise out patriotic duty to get out of this race so that we can make sure that Trump is not representing this party and conservatism.

SHARPTON: But you know, Adolfo, even last night, "SNL" had fun with the Trump/Bush kind of feud. Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump, I mean, this guy is the chaos candidate. Am I right? Chaos? Is he for real? No, man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jeb, you`re a very nice man, but you`re basically a little girl. Folks, this is true. I got hold of Jeb`s birth certificate and full disclose his real name is Jebrah.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is not true.


SHARPTON: I mean, and Bush call Donald Trump a jerk in real life, Adolfo. I mean, is this going to be helpful?

FRANCO: Well, let me say something, if I can, Al. I just want, as the Republican on here on MSNBC, I want to say something about the Democratic debate and then I`ll answer the question quickly.

I hope that the press, we have Dana here from "the Washington Post" and MSNBC, press Hillary Clinton on the supposedly ISIS tapes and so forth or videos that picture Donald Trump. I haven`t seen any evidence of that. I think that may be a little exaggerated. So I think I hope that happens.

Secondly, she pressed Bernie Sanders on regime changes, you voted for that in Libya. Is that a success what has happened in Libya? I think that will be something for Republicans to talk about. So I hope these things are brought up during the course of the next few weeks.

On the Republican front, we had a little mini Bush bounce. I agree with Dana on that. I think unfortunately for Governor Bush, it might be too little, too late. I would have hoped that would have happened much earlier in the process. It`s a little late in the game to do that. That patriotic duty, Dana, that you referred to, the voters will take care of that.

MILBANK: I hope you`re right.

FRANCO: Very, very quickly.

SHARPTON: Well, let me ask you. I see you shaking your head on that, April, after Adolfo reprimanded us about what we ought to be --

MILBANK: He is suggesting.

SHARPTON: It`s Sunday before Christmas. I`ll let that go. But, April, you are nodding there.

RYAN: Well, there are issues out there. I mean, you know, in whether you support one candidate or the other, you have to understand that the issues out there, particularly when it comes to ISIS. ISIS is a huge threat. And you need to find out more. You really need to find out where folks stand. He is right about that now. If there`s an agenda behind what he`s asking, that`s another thing, but there are legitimate issues out there. You want to find out more about where Hillary Clinton stands. You know, she said some things last night that you can dig into.

But also what about the Republican side? You want to hear more about them? I mean, there was something that was blaring last night that -- well, this week, that was missing on the Republican side at the debate. They didn`t talk about black lives matter. They didn`t talk about urban issues, and that`s been missing on the Republican side. And I think you should go and have them pressed about that as well. If you want to --


FRANCO: April, there`s a difference between an omission, I take your point, and a commission. When Donald Trump said that people were cheering after 9/11, he got enormous, well deserved scrutiny from MSNBC, "the Washington Post," every news media. When Mrs. Clinton made this comment, maybe I missed it, I have seen very little reaction, clearly from the moderators on ABC yesterday and from anybody else to say Mrs. Clinton, where is the evidence of that?

RYAN: We`re not even 24 hours.

SHARPTON: We`re not even barely 12 hours.

RYAN: Right.

SHARPTON: Let me ask you something else, Adolfo.


SHARPTON: When you see Donald Trump embracing the compliments of Putin, I don`t know any Democratic can survive that. I mean, couldn`t this backfire?

FRANCO: Well, I keep thinking something is going to backfire. I think that is so outrageous to suggest we would have a partnership with Russia on -- when we have such stark differences in terms of values, principles and real geopolitical objectives. That doesn`t mean we`re looking for a confrontation with Russia. We need to cooperate with China and Russia when we can. Those are societies that are completely different than ours.

But, obviously, Donald Trump is completely unqualified to be president. Even in the Republican debate when he was asked about the nuclear iPod strategy, he had no idea what the question was because he doesn`t know what that was. So I think he has demonstrated again he is unqualified. For some reason the American people seem to look beyond that.

SHARPTON: And you`re the Republican saying that.

But Dana, George Bush, "The New York Times" reports that his brother, former president George Bush, is now reassuring donors about Jeb Bush telling them he is quote "upbeat about Jeb`s chances and now considering going on the campaign trail to help him out." Is this a shift in strategy or a sign of desperation, Dana?

MILBANK: Well, I mean it would be a shift in strategy but they`ve tried everything else, and it hasn`t worked. So I suspect this one either. And George W. also said his brother is peaking at just the right moment. So he hit that crucial five percent just in time.

I hope Adolfo is right that Republican voters will take care of that and get rid of Trump on their own. I am optimistic but it would be clear if they had a clear alternative and it wasn`t a bunch of these guys with four or five or six percent. And there was - if there is -- I think of Republican voters are better than Donald Trump and if they have a serious alternative, they`ll go with that guy.

RYAN: Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: Well, we will see what happens. Got go.

April Ryan and Dana Milbank and Adolfo Franco. Thanks for being here. Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

RYAN: Merry Christmas.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Still ahead, a widow`s effort to honor a World War II hero.



SHARPTON: We close this morning with a simple question. Is it ever too late to honor a hero? Waverly Woodson fought in World War II as part of the only black combat unit at D-day. Now a new book is telling his story, and his widow is fighting to make sure his legacy is not forgotten.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: June 6th, 1944, dark. Jerry`s steel pill boxes on the cliff sliced us in two like a butcher`s knife.


SHARPTON: The fight is on to honor a forgotten part of American history. Waverly Woodson was a medic in World War II. A member of the only black combat unit at D-day. Woodson took fire that day and was hit with shrapnel. It didn`t stop him. For 30 straight hours on Omaha beach, he pulled out bullets, he amputated a foot, he resuscitated four drowning men. He treated hundreds of American troops, black and white.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The number of casualties on Omaha beach was phenomenal. We`d never seen that many or even thought that there would be that many casualties. The guy was with my who was a tank man, he was standing beside me and said what is that over there? I said it looks like a ship. Are they dead or alive? They`re dead. Oh, my God.


SHARPTON: Later a commander would recommend Woodson for the Medal of Honor. He didn`t receive it. In fact, for 50 years, not a single African- American who served in World War II received the award. Waverly Woodson died in 2005. But his story is getting new attention. His widow is leading the charge for a posthumous medal of honor. A new book tells his story and that of his battalion. "Forgotten -- the untold story of D-day`s black heroes at home and at war."

Joining me now is Joann Woodson, the widow of Waverly Woodson and Linda Hervieux who writes about Waverly Woodson in her new book "Forgotten."

First of all, thank you both for being here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you for having us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s my pleasure.

SHARPTON: Joann, your husband`s actions were truly heroic. I mean truly. What do you want people to know about what Waverly Woodson did that day?

JOANN WOODSON, WIDOW OD WAVERLY WOODSON: I really would like the world to know what a great man he was. He was a very generous man, and he really was dedicated to anything that he wanted to do. And he was always giving a helping hand to something. And to think he interrupted his education in early part of his life to get in the army and do the things that he did.

SHARPTON: Linda, you`ve written in this book, and it`s very, very graphically written about how these men, Waverly and those that were in his unit, were absolutely heroes, but you say forgotten.

LINDA HERVIEUX, AUTHOR, FORGOTTEN: What happened over time because these men were well known in their day, was somehow they got dropped from the story of D-day and most history books don`t mention them, movies don`t show them. And I felt that it was time to look into this because I was curious as to why I had never heard about them.

SHARPTON: I think there was a letter found by you, Linda, recommending him for Medal of Honor. What happened to that?

HERVIEUX: That`s buried in the archives in the Truman library. There had been at the time, Waverly Woodson was a big star in his day. Newspapers wrote about him. He was dubbed number one invasion hero by a local newspaper in Pennsylvania. And he was known coast to coast. He was on radio shows, he was interviewed, and then somehow a recommendation to be nominated for the Medal of Honor went missing. And a piece of paper, a sole piece of paper exists that shows he was a candidate. And, you know, it`s not too late. I mean, we give posthumous medals in this country.

SHARPTON: Joann, your husband a few years ago, as she was saying, did do some interviews. He talked on camera about the events that day at Omaha beach. With your permission, I want to play to you what he said.


SHARPTON: Let me show you.


WAVERLY WOODSON, WORLD WAR II HERO: The mortar landed on the other side of that truck and the shrapnel and stuff from the mortar shell hit me in the left leg, as well as the right leg. Being in a segregated army at that time, when we actually combined our resources with the white troops there was no such thing as segregated because the people who were wounded, and if you were a medic, they don`t care exactly who -- what the color of the person was or his skin or anything like that. Only thing they wanted was aid.


SHARPTON: And you know, what was amazing to me about listening to that, Joann, he is in a segregated army. They couldn`t use the same barracks, facilities and all. But yet, when they were wounded, there was no segregation. And there was no bitterness by your husband. There was no resenting their different standing in terms of a -- having the same rights or access as others. They said all people wanted was help. And it seemed like all he wanted to do was serve and provide that help.

WOODSON: That`s correct. That`s the type of person he was.

SHARPTON: I think that`s why this is so compelling that they get a Medal of Honor. They were dealing with the enemy abroad and those that really discriminated blatantly against them at home.

HERVIEUX: Right. That`s exactly what happened. Waverly Woodson said that, you know, on Omaha beach they didn`t care about the color of my skin. And he was haunted by the cries of men calling doc, doc, can you help me? And you know, we don`t hear often about what happened on June 7th on Omaha beach. But on June 7th where Waverly Woodson was still working, he was still working to save men.

SHARPTON: Joann Woodson and Linda Hervieux, thank you both for your time.

And again, Linda Hervieux`s book is "Forgotten, the untold story of D-day`s black heroes at home and at war."

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