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Politics Nation with Al Sharpton, Transcript 3/20/2016

Guests: Douglas Brinkley; Matt Welch; Kim Foxx; Ted Strickland; Valerie Jarrett

Show: POLITICS NATION Date: March 20, 2016 Guest: Douglas Brinkley; Matt Welch; Kim Foxx; Ted Strickland; Valerie Jarrett



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Extremism and obstruction, the GOP facing double jeopardy over Donald Trump.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are going to win, win, win, and we are not stopping.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the Supreme Court.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I simply ask Republicans in the Senate to give him a fair hearing and then an up or down vote.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could the GOP lose both the White House and the Senate? We`ll talk about it with senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett.

Also, the plot to stop Trump at the convention. Could Paul Ryan be the savior?

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: It`s not going to be me. It should be somebody running for president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And our gotcha. Why is the right so upset over the president`s trip to Cuba?

All that, plus a special interview, the prosecutor who wants to move Chicago forward after the Laquan McDonald tragedy.

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

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

We start with double trouble for the GOP facing no good options for both Donald Trump and the Supreme Court. On Tuesday, Republicans turn out to vote in Arizona and Utah. Trump is expected to do very well. Even though Mitt Romney says he is voting for Ted Cruz, and wants others to do the same. So now Trump is becoming the face of the Republican Party. Do they accept it? Fight it? Ignore it? The GOP`s identity crisis is playing out on live TV.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The presidential race is being dominated by the so- called stop Trump movement.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There`s time to still, you know, prevent a Trump nomination, which I think would fracture the party.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Want to call for unity ticket within the Republican Party now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If that doesn`t work, plot out strategy for a contested convention.

RYAN: We`re getting our minds around the idea that this could very well become a reality.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The essential weakness of the stop Trump movement is it never had a horse, it never had a strategy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think people can`t just sit on the sidelines now and then complain that the house has burned down in July.


SHARPTON: Lots of talk, but no solutions. And GOP leaders are facing a candidate who`s talking about riots if he`s denied the nomination.


TRUMP: We`re way ahead of everybody. I don`t think you can say that we don`t get it automatically. I think it would be -- I think you`d have riots. I think you`d have riots.


SHARPTON: Meantime, in the battle over the Supreme Court, President Obama is ramping up the pressure on Republicans who refuse to even consider his nominee.


OBAMA: One of the most puzzling arguments that I`ve heard from Mitch McConnell and some other Republicans is this notion that the American people should decide. We should let the American people decide as part of this election who gets to fill this seat. Well, in fact, the American people did decide. Back in 2012, when they elected me president of the United States with sufficient electoral votes.


SHARPTON: Polls show 61 percent of Americans think the Senate should hold a vote now. Just 36 percent want to delay until we have a new president. I talked about the nomination with White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett. We began by talking about the pressure on Republicans to hold hearings.


VALERIE JARETT, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISER: Now, as members are going back to their states and their districts, I think they`re going to hear loudly and clearly from the American people, two-thirds of whom believe that the president`s nominee deserves a hearing. The president had a call last Friday with well over 15,000 people all who are interested in forming a grassroots effort to get out around the country and explain why this particular chief judge is so qualified, and why the Republicans should not deny him even a hearing. I mean that`s just simply not fair at all, Reverend Sharpton --

SHARPTON: And the other thing that I found interesting, is in 2010, GOP senator Orrin Hatch said this judge, this judge Garland, your nominee, was, quote, "terrific." And could be confirmed to the Supreme Court. His quote, he said, was "virtually unanimously" he could be confirmed.

JARETT: Yes --

SHARPTON: -Did that factor into the president`s thinking when he made this choice?

JARETT: Well what he wanted to make sure is that he picked somebody who is absolutely exemplary qualified, and who should be confirmed. The president said from the beginning he was going to play this straight, he was going to look for the best person on the job, and the person who he thought Democrats and Republicans alike would have no ability to criticize. And as we`ve seen in the first several days since his nomination, just unbelievable support. He`s gotten great publicity. Because his track record is so exemplary. And so the president wanted that nominee, because he`s been listening, obviously, to what the Republicans have been saying about not wanting to grant him a hearing, give him a fair chance, and he wanted to make sure that he picked somebody who was absolutely someone who should be confirmed, and that`s what he`s calling on the Senate to do. The president did his job, and he wants them to do theirs.

SHARPTON: Some GOP senators said they could hold lame duck hearings after the election if Hillary Clinton wins. Because they`re afraid she would name someone more liberal. What`s your response to that?

My response to that, Reverend Sharpton, is the election that mattered was the last election, when President Obama was elected for a four-year term. He still has over 300 days left in that four-year term. There`s nothing in the constitution that says his term is three-and-a-half years or, you know, three years and three months. The fact of the matter is he has a four-year term as long as he is president of the United States he is going to fulfill his constitutional duties, a very important one of which is to nominate to the Supreme Court. So next election should not be relevant. The relevant election was the last election. It`s the one the Republicans say they want the American people to speak. Well they did speak. Not once, but twice. In 2008, and 2012.

SHARPTON: Let me ask you this, Donald Trump, he said his ideal nominee would be, quote, "Scalia reincarnated." Does that show the stakes of this election?

JARETT: Well, that`s just one of many troubling things that I heard over the last several months, right? And so -- and I say something on that. Because I don`t really comment on the election politics here from the White House. But what I can say, having traveled across this great country for several years now, in the 2008 election and 2012 and in between, is where the American people are, I think, is they want someone who unifies our country. Someone who sees what we have in common, not our differences. Someone who can disagree without being disagreeable. And I believe that`s why president Obama was elected twice.

SHARPTON: Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to President Obama. Thanks for your time.

JARETT: You`re welcome. Have a happy Sunday.


SHARPTON: Now let`s bring in E.J. Dionne of "the Washington Post." His new book is called "where the right went wrong." Thank you for being here.

E.J. DIONNE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Great to be with you Reverend. Thank you very much.

SHARPTON: So E.J., what are these two issues, Trump and the Supreme Court? What do they reveal about the GOP right now?

DIONNE: Well, you know, there have been a lot of people, when you say, as I say, that the Republican Party has veered far to the right, people say the Democrats have moved far to the left. Well, I think we got some evidence. We have a lot of evidence that that`s not true. They`re not equally extreme in any way.

First you had the results of these primaries last week. And except in Ohio, Donald Trump, whom I think everyone, including a lot of Republicans as you showed at the beginning of the show, views as extreme, swept those primaries. At the same time here you had Barack Obama going out of his way to choose the most moderate nominee he could possibly put up for the court in Merrick Garland. And just to be straight with your viewers, I`ve known Merrick Garland for over 40 years. He`s a friend. And he`s a wonderful, wonderful human being.

But that`s not just me talking. That Orrin Hatch quote you showed shows that Garland has respect across the political spectrum for people who work with him, and people who work for him. And the Republicans couldn`t have asked President Obama to nominate a more moderate person. And yet here they are saying, well we don`t care who the president nominates. We`re just not going to confirm that person.

SHARPTON: Won`t even meet with him. I mean, confirm him? Many of them wouldn`t even sit down and talk to the man this week.

DIONNE: And I loved what Senator Angus King, the independent of Maine said, he said, what are you afraid of? That you might like him too much?


DIONNE: I mean it really is an astonishing kind of barricade that they have put up.

SHARPTON: But on the other side of that, E.J., you have this week the speaker of the house, Paul Ryan, having to talk about how the leading Republican presidential candidate had talked about riots if he wasn`t given the nomination, if he was denied the nomination. I mean, let me show you what Paul Ryan had to deal with.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you agree with Donald Trump`s statement that there would be riots?

RYAN: I think if -- if someone with a clear lead in delegates were denied the nomination --

Nobody should say such things in my opinion, because to even address, or hint to violence is unacceptable.


SHARPTON: So you have the Supreme Court at one issue. But now you have Donald Trump saying about riots. He said other things. Is this the next six months that the GOP`s going to have to live through, having to deal with things that Donald Trump says, and trying to walk back or respond to what is being said by their leading candidate and possibly their nominee?

DIONNE: Well, I think the answer to that is, yes. Which is why they`re so petrified of this nomination. Because, the fear that Republicans have is not just that they`re going to have a nominee who overwhelmingly turns off middle of the road voters, women voters in a "Washington Post" poll, ABC poll were for Hillary Clinton by 21 points over Trump. And the Republicans are worried this -- that this won`t just be about the presidential campaign. This could take the Senate away from them. There are a lot of vulnerable Republicans in Democratic or purple states. And they might even lose the house. With the gerrymandering the Democrats need a huge lead in popular votes for the house and yet Trump could do that. So when you see all these petrified Republicans running around, it`s precisely those kind of extreme, provocative, statements by Trump, and provocative is a very gentle word for some of the stuff he said, like punch that guy in the nose. You know.

SHARPTON: Well, you also have seen, talking about polls, 37 percent of those that voted talked about they would even consider a third party candidate. Would the GOP establishment be better off running an independent candidate? Or just accepting Trump as their nominee, E.J.?

DIONNE: Well, think the establishment, such as it is, is divided on that question. There are a lot of conservatives who want to run a third party candidate, because they don`t know what Trump really believes, and suspects he`s not one of them. In 1912 the Republican Party split and the establishment supported William Howard Taft and in that case they preferred to lose the election than to let somebody they disagreed with takeover. So I think the Republicans are stuck either way. If they nominate Trump they probably get a split and a lot of defections. If they don`t nominate Trump, they turn off 35, 40 percent of their primary voters. It`s a real mess that they`re in.

SHARPTON: E.J. Dionne, thanks for your time this morning.

DIONNE: Great to be with you. Thanks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coming up, could Republicans really stop Donald Trump at the convention? A reality check.

Also our interview with the prosecutor who wants to clean up the Chicago police after the Laquan McDonald tragedy.



OBAMA: I simply ask Republicans in the Senate to give him a fair hearing. And then an up or down vote.


The president calling on Senate Republicans to give judge Garland a fair hearing for the Supreme Court. And that battle could determine whether Democrats take back the Senate in the fall. Democrats are now targeting a handful of Republican senators up for re-election in states won by President Obama. And it looks like some are feeling the pressure.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just man up and cast a vote. The tough thing about the senatorial jobs is you get yes or no votes. Your whole job is to either say yes or no and explain why.


SHARPTON: The Senate is now in recess for two weeks. With everyone back in their home districts, hearing from voters. Ohio`s Rob Portman is breaking with his party`s leadership, by agreeing to meet with judge Garland. He is facing a tough challenge in November from the state`s former governor Ted Strickland.

Joining me now is Ted Strickland, who just last week won the Democratic primary to face-off against Senator Portman. Thanks for being here.

TED STRICKLAND, FORMER OHIO GOVERNOR: It`s great to be with you, Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: Governor, is the -- is the Supreme Court fight part of your campaign in Ohio?

STRICKLAND: absolutely. And I want to tell you, the people of Ohio, according to the polling, even the independents believe, 60 percent of the independents believe that Rob Portman is taking a wrong position, and that the Republicans are absolutely wrong in their attitude toward the Supreme Court office that`s now open.

Listen, this is an insult to the president of the United States. They never have recognized him as -- some of them, as a legitimate president. And now they`re saying that he doesn`t have a right to fill this seat. And the people of Ohio, I believe, are going to hold Rob Portman responsible. I can tell you that just today, the Toledo blade had an editorial saying that Rob Portman, if he does not change his position, will have to answer to the people at the polls in November. And I think that`s going to happen to senators across the country who are being so obstructionistic in their attitude toward the president`s right to appoint a member to the court.

SHARPTON: Now, as I stated, they`re on a two-week recess in the Senate.

STRICKLAND: That`s right.

SHARPTON: And you were talking about the polls. The Ohio voters alone, 56 percent, say they want the nominee considered and only 41 percent say delay action. Is that what Senator Portman is hearing from voters as he`s back in the state for the next two weeks?

STRICKLAND: Well, you know, initially Senator Portman said that he would not even grant the nominee a meeting with him, a courtesy visit with him. I think public pressure has gotten to him. And he now indicates that he will at least have a meeting with this nominee.

But Senator Portman and all the other senators are absolutely wrong in refusing to consider this man seriously, to provide advice and consent. We`re saying, do your job, Rob. Do your job, Rob. We want people to get on the Internet, to get on the telephone, to absolutely make their voices heard, and to let Rob Portman know that he`s being paid to do a job and Ohioans expect him to fulfill his obligation as a United States senator.

SHARPTON: Let me ask you about Donald Trump. Donald Trump claims that he`s speaking for the working-class American, that he`s also speaking for working Democrats. Listen to this.


TRUMP: We`re taking from the Democrats. Remember, the Democrats for Reagan? We have it bigger. It`s Democrats for Trump. It`s a bigger number.


SHARPTON: Can Donald Trump -- can he relate and can he resonate with so- called Reagan Democrats and get their support, Governor?

STRICKLAND: Well, Reverend Al, I heard Donald Trump say that wages are too high. That wages are so high in this country that we are becoming noncompetitive. I don`t know of a single Reagan Democrat that would accept that as a fact. The fact is, wages are too low. Wages have been flat for many people for the last several decades while they`ve worked hard, created wealth and that wealth has been concentrated among the richest one percent of the people in America. So when people understand that Donald Trump is not on their side, for any working person, certainly for any working Democrat to consider Donald Trump to be their friend, they aren`t paying attention. When a man says the wages in this country are too high, then he`s speaking like the millionaire or the billionaire that he is. Not like a working person.

SHARPTON: Ted Strickland I`m going to have to leave it there.

Ted, thank you for being with us. Former Ohio governor, and now candidate for Senate. Thanks again for your time this morning.

SHARPTON: Thank you, Reverend.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Still ahead, has the bubble burst on the stop Trump movement?

But first, we talk to the prosecutor who wants a fresh start for police in Chicago.



KIM FOXX, COOK COUNTY STATES ATTORNEY CANDIDATE: -- shelter and bathtubs anymore. There should be no people afraid to walk to and from. That that`s a common goal whether you`re a community member or law enforcement. We share a common goal, a quality of life that is free from harm.


SHARPTON: That was Kim Foxx, who this week won her first political campaign. A primary race for state`s attorney in Cook County, Illinois. Foxx beat Anita Alvarez, who was under fire for her handling of the shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald by a Chicago police officer. That officer is now facing a murder trial and has pleaded not guilty. But he wasn`t charged until nearly a year after the shooting. And it was only after a judge ordered the release of video that showed McDonald being shot 16 times, including after he was already down. The public anger that followed has divided the city of Chicago, and the country. Foxx is running on a platform of reform to restore trust between prosecutors and the police. She joins me now from Chicago.

Kim, first of all, welcome.

FOXX: Thank you. Good morning.

SHARPTON: Tell me, Kim, what does your primary victory say about what voters expect in cases like Laquan McDonald`s tragedy?

FOXX: I think the victory shows that the county is the consensus belief that we needed to change. We needed more transparency and accountability from the prosecutors when we handle cases like these. That you can`t handle these cases in the dark. You can`t handle these cases without explaining to the public what`s going on. And certainly you have to do them far more swiftly than the 400 days that Anita Alvarez waited to charge in this case.

SHARPTON: Now, how do you plan to move the prosecutor`s office forward toward trying to restore this confidence between prosecutors and the people, and the citizens?

FOXX: I think first and foremost, Reverend, we have to be transparent in what we do. The prosecutor`s office has a tremendous amount of discretion. It`s the prosecutor who decides whether or not we`re going to charge a case at all, what you`re going to charge someone with. And it`s done outside of the view of the public. And so one of the things that I proposed that I think is absolutely necessary is more transparency. The ability to look at the data in terms of who are we charging and what are we charging them with, to make sure that we`re consistent and fair across the board.

SHARPTON: Now, I know from my work in civil rights that people in Chicago are worried about police accountability. In fact, between 2011 and 2015 there were 28,500 citizen complaints. But in 97 percent of those cases, no officer was punished. Do you think that needs to be addressed?

FOXX: Absolutely. I mean, in addition to that fact, there was a period of time between 2004 and 2014 where the city of Chicago alone paid almost a half a balance dollars in settlements, court settlements for police misconduct cases. And we haven`t seen a correlation between accountability from the prosecutor`s side to go with those settlements. And so, there`s a lot of work that needs to be done to make sure that our communities are kept safe. But that when doing so, that they`re done in a professional way, and that police officers who go afoul of that are held accountable so that the good officers are not caught up in the chaos when we don`t have accountability.

SHARPTON: Now you also have another major problem. I remember a couple of years ago I took an apartment on the west side, we were dealing with gun violence, the enormous problems of gun violence, of shootings, in the community, so you have police accountability on one side, you have the gun violence on another side. How are you as state`s attorney if you beat your Republican opponent in November, how are you going to deal with that problem while you also deal with the transparency needed with police accountability?

So we need to make sure that we`re dealing with the gun violence, not just in the aftermath. There`s a lot of movement once we have a chalk outline on the ground, or once someone`s been shot. We`ve not been strategic in all in the state`s attorney`s office in dealing with the gun trafficking issue. For every one gun that we take off the street here in Chicago, there are six more coming in. So as state`s attorney I`m going to open a gun trafficking unit within the state`s attorney`s office that deals with trafficking. Who is bringing these guns into our communities and arming our neighborhoods to the teeth?

One sad fact in Chicago is that last year there were only three arrests, just three arrests for gun straw purchases in the state of Chicago. Just three. Which just is not proportionate to what we`re seeing as a crisis here in Chicago. And we have to be pro-active. We have to be deliberate in dealing with who`s arming our communities as well as dealing with the aftermath of that violence.

SHARPTON: Kim Foxx, congratulations on your primary win. Thank you for your time this morning.

FOXX: Thank you so much, Reverend.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Up next, President Obama`s historic trip to Cuba. The right is wrong on that. And it`s today`s gotcha.



OBAMA: Today, the United States of America is changing its relationship with the people of Cuba. And the most significant changes in our policy in more than 50 years.


SHARPTON: President Obama in 2014, announcing a new, historic chapter, restoring diplomatic ties with Cuba, after five decades of cold war policy. And in a few hours, He will become the first U.S. president to visit Havana in almost 90 years. He says he will pressure Cuba`s leaders on human rights.


OBAMA: During my visit, I intend to meet with dissidents, critics of the Cuban government. We continue to press to make sure that over time we are widening more and more freedom for speech, assembly, religion, inside of Cuba.


SHARPTON: Yet, Republicans like Ted Cruz say the trip is nothing more than appeasement.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What President Obama has shown to our enemies is weakness and appeasement. I think it`s a real mistake. Its 90 miles off the coast of America. And to go there and essentially act as an apologist --


SHARPTON: It`s ugly stuff. And it`s a pattern. Listen to John McCain in 2013 after president Obama shook hands with Cuban President Raul Castro.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Just gives -- gives Raul some propaganda to continue to prop up of his dictatorial, brutal regime. That`s all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should he not have done it?

MCCAIN: Of course not. What`s the point? Neville chamberlain shook hands with Hitler.


SHARPTON: He invoked Hitler? Republicans have selective outrage when it comes to relations with foreign dictators. Donald Rumsfeld shook hands with Saddam Hussein. Here`s Ronald Reagan with Gorbachev. And don`t forget this one. John McCain shaking hands with Gadhafi.

For Ted Cruz and other Republicans, this isn`t about getting Cuba policy right. It`s about political attacks that are out of date, and they`re out of date like the cold war. Nice try. But light up a cigar and feel the Havana breeze. Because, we gotcha.



SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: The best alternative to Donald Trump to stop him from getting 1237 is Ted Cruz.


SHARPTON: If you can`t beat him, join him. That was Lindsey Graham doing an about-face on his support for Ted Cruz. Remember this?


GRAHAM: If you kill Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody could convict you.


SHARPTON: Apparently, that`s what happens to a party flailing around for a way to stop Donald Trump from becoming their nominee. One strategy is to unify around a single candidate. Though there hasn`t been an agreement on exactly who that is. Another suggests a contested GOP convention.

On Friday Mitt Romney said quote "I will vote for Senator Cruz, and I encourage others to do so, as well. So that we can have an open convention, and nominate a Republican."

Joining me now is Matt Welch, editor in chief of "Reason" magazine and Maria Teresa Kumar, president of vote Latino and an MSNBC contributor. Thank you both for being here.



SHARPTON: Matt is a contested convention a real possibility?

WELCH: Of course it`s a real possibility. If Donald Trump doesn`t get to the 1237 votes -- if California and Utah stand up to Donald Trump, and vote instead for Ted Cruz, then he`s not going to get to that threshold and you`ll have a contested convention.

The thing is, it`s a pipe dream, I think, among the establishment, which has been busy with a most incredible nine-month circular firing squad I think anyone has ever really seen. It`s a pipe dream to think that they can get anyone who is not named Ted Cruz through on a second ballot at the convention. If they try to get in John Kasich or Paul Ryan or whatever the fever dream is, they`re going to have chaos on their hands. It`s not going to be seen as legitimate.

SHARPTON: So how can this play out, Maria? If Trump doesn`t get the necessary votes to clinch it, they`re going to have an open convention, I mean, how do they try in some smooth way make a transition into another candidate if Trump has the majority of the votes, even if it lacks the magic number that qualifies him as the nominee?

KUMAR: Well, they definitely are going to have to say a little more than just a few Hail Marys. I think that right now the fact that Trump is obfuscating the election, saying if I`m not the nominee there`s going to be riots. He`s actually confusing the rules of the game. And the Republican Party, instead of actually clarifying what those rules are the game are, that there are actual rules that basically they`re considering the candidates that the majority of the Republican Party want but at the end of the day they actually decide is actually telling.

The fact that even Romney said I will support Ted Cruz but at the end of the day we need a Republican, he doesn`t even want Ted Cruz. So there`s a real problem right now, and people keep saying that at the end of the day, the convention`s going to break the Republican Party. I actually venture to say that it`s broken. And until they basically identify how they`re going to fix it, they`re coming in a little too late to this party.

SHARPTON: You know, Matt, you mention among others Paul Ryan, and there`s been speculation that he could be the Republican nominee in a contested convention. But here`s his response.


RYAN: I saw Boehner last night and I told him to knock it off. It`s not going to be me. It should be somebody running for president. But let`s just put this thing to rest and move on.


SHARPTON: But I`m reminded that he said the same thing when they were talking about him running for speaker then of course he`s the speaker. And then, of course, we see change his mind and he is the speaker. What do you think would make him change his mind about being the potential nominee in a contested convention?

WELCH: I think in one sense Paul Ryan`s going to be Elizabeth Warren here like you ask him over and over again and don`t ever get the thing you want. The problem is this election season has been so crazy. I mean seriously, when you say this week he has crossed a threshold for crazy, the next week it gets much crazier. So I can imagine that something that we currently can`t imagine would take place. That is the only thing that I think would get Paul Ryan in there. I mean, if you saw actual riots and violence and paramilitary -- but I don`t really think we`re going to get that far. So I don`t think there`s any real chance of Paul Ryan or any other kind of, you know, knight in shining armor to come and rescue the Republicans.

And Maria is totally right about something here. The damage is already done to the Republicans. There is no current scenario where there isn`t a significant group of Republicans who will either stay home, if they don`t get the result that they want in the primary, or they`re going to vote for someone competing with the Republican nominee. That`s the reality we`re in right now.

SHARPTON: But it`s because in many people`s opinion, including mine, that Donald Trump has tapped in to some anger, and some real sense that the Republican establishment is not even spoken up for them. He`s not come with policy. I mean, Maria I watched Jimmy Fallon do a takeoff on Donald Trump`s foreign policy. Watch this.


JIMMY FALLON, COMEDIAN: As it becomes more and more inevitable that Trump will be the Republican nominee, people have been wondering who Donald Trump`s foreign policy advisers are going to be. Well he finally told us where he`s getting his information from. Yesterday. Take a look.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who are you consulting with consistently so that you`re ready on day one?

TRUMP: I`m speaking with myself. Number one. Because I have a very good brain, and I`ve said a lot of things.

FALLON: This is pretty crazy but we actually have the technology to actually look inside his brain. It`s fascinating to see how it works. Take a look at this.

TRUMP: He referred to my hands. They`re small. Something else must be small. I guarantee you there`s no problem. I guarantee you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why isn`t it working?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. That`s perfect.


SHARPTON: Now Maria, it`s funny. But when you think about it, I mean we`re talking about a potential Republican nominee to lead the free world. This is serious stuff.

Well, it`s less funny when what you said, Reverend, is the fact that he might actually have his finger on the nuclear button, right? He is not someone that is not only not fit to be president but I actually do think that he has tapped into something that has been brewing in the Republican Party that basically that they helped communicate, right? For the last 15 years you have FOX News telling people that their government is broken, that you cannot trust politicians, you can`t trust anybody in the establishment.

What happens 15 years if people keep hearing that is that they actually internalize it and see someone like Donald Trump and say wait a second he absolutely is right and at the same time, I still have yet to cover from the recession. I have yet still to recuperate my job and you get someone that is actually paying attention to them in a way that is at least listening to their grievances. But then let`s look at number two. Ted Cruz is just as anti-immigrant, just as anti-Muslim, as --

SHARPTON: Isn`t that the point, because they, Krugman and others are writing, they created this climate that --

KUMAR: That`s right --

SHARPTON: -- that Trump kind of seized and rolls from. But the party was talking all of this themselves.

WELCH: Yes. And let`s also remember that there`s been bad governance from both parties. For the last 15 years I don`t think there`s been particularly good governance. We might quibble on this show about the current president but in general the Republicans who voted in huge numbers in 2014 to get the Senate back in Republican hands, what did they do? Nothing. They haven`t even passed a basic budget. They crammed everything in at the last minute like they always do. So they have a really (INAUDIBLE).

SHARPTON: Well, they tried to obstruct this president every way they could.

KUMAR: That`s right.

SHARPTON: Matt Welch and Maria Teresa Kumar, thank you both for your time. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.



TRUMP: They`re bringing drugs. They`re bringing crime. They`re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.

We do have to look at the mosques very carefully. The mosques, a lot of things are happening in there, folks. I don`t know what`s wrong with Obama. There`s something we don`t know about. Total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.


SHARPTON: That was just some of the divisive rhetoric we`ve heard from Donald Trump in this campaign. And it`s triggering comparisons to demagogues from the past. Like the 1930s populist Hughie Long who cast himself as an outsider. Opposed to both Republicans and Democrats.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only difference that I have found between the Democratic leadership, and the Republican leadership, was that one of them was skinning from the ankle up and the other from the ear down.

TRUMP: I`m a Republican. I`m more disappointed in them because you know what? We know where the Democrats are coming from. But the Republicans are supposed to be fighting for us. And they`re not.


SHARPTON: Or Senator Joe McCarthy, who warned communists were taking over the government 60 years before Trump would claim Bernie Sanders is a communist.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Communists in our own government, who gave American dollars, and American support to the communists.

I never thought we`d see the day in our country when a communist, because that`s really, you think about it, when a communist is the leading Democrat -- we`re going to have a communist --


SHARPTON: Or the segregationist governor George Wallace who responded to protesters at his rallies with Trump-like insults.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know what you are? You`re a little punk, that`s all you are. You haven`t got any guts. You got too much hair on your head, partner. You got a load on your mind. That`s right.

TRUMP: What a bunch of losers, I`ll tell you. You are a loser. You really are a loser. All right get him out.


SHARPTON: Joining me now is presidential historian and rice university professor Douglas Brinkley. His new book is "rightful heritage: Franklin d. Roosevelt and the land of America." thanks for being here.


SHARPTON: Let me ask you this. Where does Trump fit in the historical context of demagogues in American politics?

BRINKLEY: Well, somebody did a good job putting up that footage, because when you look at Hughie Long, and in that story in the FDR era, he was very much like Donald Trump in the sense that he is trying to be funny with his demagoguery. Try to, you know, not just a chicken in every pot, promising everybody everything, and lambasting FDR like it`s nobody`s business. But he did it with a kind of humor. Then he went to Joe McCarthy and he was darker, and more introverted. And then George Wallace playing the race card. Trump is a combo of all three of those. You could not have three better clips than those.

I would add to it, however, now that Trump may get the Republican nomination, Richard Nixon. That idea of enemies listed. Want to know who slights me. The way that Trump has gone out after the press. You didn`t really see those three just lambaste the press like Trump did. But Nixon when he hired Spiro Agnew as his pit bull just realized he could score some points by just calling the press trash.

SHARPTON: You also said that demagogues tend to be entertaining. How big of a factor is that?

BRINKLEY: I think it`s huge. I think people watch Trump to laugh. To be reassured. I think the -- he`s figured out that people are tired of political correctness. But you know, here I am writing on FDR. And FDR`s view was we`ve got to unify America. Trump view is divide and then conquer. You couldn`t have two different styles. In the end, the great presidents are people that can project a deep optimism. He`s trying to do that with the page of its morning again from America with Reagan. But the comments he makes about Latinos, and African-Americans, and women, and gay Americans, it`s just -- he`s brutalizing the landscape of America with his rhetoric.

SHARPTON: He compares his call for banning Muslims with the Japanese internment camps. Fair?

BRINKLEY: I could see why some people would make that, Reverend, connection, but the difference is, the Japanese internment was the worse things I think FDR did in terms as president. It was an overreaction to Pearl Harbor. It was a fear that we were going to get all of the Japanese to firebomb the pacific coast. The worst thing FDR did. Trump was championing it as why he likes FDR. And he did that with Dwight Eisenhower, saying all the things that like did, some civil rights.


BRINKLEY: Interstate highways. He picked out operation wetback, deportations is what he liked about Ike. I find that warped.

SHARPTON: Let me ask you about your new book, because a lot of us, I certainly have been very, very concerned about flint, Michigan, and other things, and you`re hearing people, I was at the house hearings this week, some are suggesting get rid of EPA, and you have written a book about a time where it was the opposite. They wanted to deal with under President Roosevelt conservation. And it was a different attitude about observing the trees, preserving nature, and very much pro-environment, and environmental concerns. Tell us about the book, and compare the time that you write about here with FDR, the spirit of what we`re hearing now.

BRINKLEY: Flint is an example of what happens when you turn your back on communities. So I think that`s something FDR would never do. Turn your back on an American community? Never, ever like we`ve turned our back on Flint. And now Newark is starting to get problems in schools.

All of those places where kids are going and you`re having poisoned water. Franklin Roosevelt would have thrown the law book out the window and immediately got federal funds, immediately started re -- fixing these schools. Because he built schools in the `30s when we were in the midst of the great depression. So the idea we don`t have enough money for the kids of America is bogus. If FDR were president he`d be all over getting the Flint situation solved quickly.

SHARPTON: Douglas Brinkley. Thank you for your time this morning. Again, his new book, it is called "the Rightful Heritage." Thank you so much this morning

BRINKLEY: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Well, that does it for me. Thanks for watching. I`ll see you back here next Sunday.