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Politics Nation with Al Sharpton, Transcript 3/27/2016

Guests: Susan del Percio; Chris van Hollen; Donna Edwards; Andre Carson; Wesley Clark

Show: POLITICS NATION Date: March 27, 2016 Guest: Susan del Percio; Chris van Hollen; Donna Edwards; Andre Carson; Wesley Clark

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DARA BROWN, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Dara Brown with the hour`s top stories.

A big night for Bernie Sanders in three states holding Democratic caucuses Saturday. NBC News projects the Vermont senator will claim victory over Hillary Clinton in Alaska by a large margin and the same in Washington state, which has 118 delegates up for grabs.

An NBC News now projects Bernie Sanders the winner of Hawaii`s caucus with 71 percent of the vote.

A quick look now where both candidates stand with delegates. Hillary Clinton still holding a sizable lead over Sanders. Sanders is calling his wins the western comeback. He says he expects to close the delegate gap with Clinton as the campaign moves to the more liberal northeastern states including her home state of New York.

"Politics Nation with Al Sharpton" starts right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lose with Cruz. GOP elites have a new plan to stop Donald Trump.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: We can lose in 2016. We probably will.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will they lose the White House to save the party?

Also, playing to fear with terror overseas, pundits sink to a new low here at home.

NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Obama is a radical left, in many ways the first anti-American president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hillary Clinton could be considered a founding member of ISIS.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And showdown for the Senate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fighting against people like Mr. Van Hollen who want to trade job.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Miss Edwards was dead last among Democrats.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ll talk to both candidates in the toughest primary race in Congress.

All that, plus a very personal week of attacks in the GOP. And a big apology from Speaker Ryan.

POLITICS NATION with Al Sharpton starts right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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

On this Easter morning, just days after bombings in Europe, fears of terror are dividing America along religious and political lines. Many think 2016 will be a national security election. With voters looking first at who they want to be commander in-chief. And this week Americans learned a great deal about the candidates. Ted Cruz called for increased police patrols in what he described as quote "Muslim neighborhoods."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is standard, good policing to direct your resources to where the threat is coming from. We should do the exact same thing with radical Islamic terrorism.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Also this week, Donald Trump says it was time to bring back torture.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think we have to change our law on, you know, the waterboarding thing, where they could chop off heads, and they can drown people, being in cages and heavy steel cages, and we can`t waterboard.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Hillary Clinton denounced the policies from both Republican candidates.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We can`t throw out everything we know about what works and what doesn`t and start torturing people. What Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and others are suggesting is not only wrong, it`s dangerous.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And the current commander in chief, President Obama, did the same.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: One of the great strengths of the United States, and part of the reason why we have not seen more attacks in the United States, is we have an extraordinarily successful, patriotic, integrated Muslim American community. They do not feel ghettoized. They do not feel isolated.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: A crisis can bring out the best in some people, and the worst in others. This week, some right wing pundits sunk to a new low.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GINGRICH: Obama is a radical left, in many ways, the first anti-American president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She had her chance to do it. She helped create is. I mean Hillary Clinton could be considered a founding member of is.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And look at the FOX News banner on Friday morning. Saying there are questions about whether President Obama is quote "taking ISIS threat seriously."

Just minutes earlier, NBC`s Richard Engel had reported breaking news on MSNBC that the group`s number two had been killed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARD ENGEL, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: This was a bold operation with U.S. special operations force dropping in with a helicopter assault. This is considered an enormous coup, an enormous blow to the group both practically and psychologically, because he was the number two person in ISIS in many ways the leader of the group.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: At times like this, we need serious debates about solutions not partisan talk made for political gain.

Joining me now, Congressman Andre Carson, the first Muslim American to serve on the intelligence committee and General Wesley Clark, the former NATO supreme allied commander. Thank you both for being here.

REP. ANDRE CARSON (D), INDIANA: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Congressman, let me start with you. What`s your reaction when you hear talk about torture, patrolling Muslim neighborhoods calling people members of ISIS? What`s your reaction to this?

CARSON: Well, you know, Reverend, studies have found, and it`s very clear that torture is not only immoral, it is inhumane. We don`t extract the information we need in many cases. Folks, in fact, feed us false information to make the pain stop. I think whenever you have presidential candidates, those who are seeking the highest office in the land suggest that we should patrol Muslim neighborhoods, there are areas where Muslims live closely near one another.

But what is a Muslim neighborhood? We have Muslims who are physicians, who live in suburbia, next to Jewish brothers and sisters, catholic brothers and sisters, non-theists. We have Muslims in urban centers. We have Muslims in rural communities. You know, it is asinine and unacceptable for these candidates to posture in this kind of way. We have seen this same kind of rhetoric in the `50s and `60s and even before that against African- Americans. We have seen it against Latinos, Jewish brothers and sisters, Irish-Americans and so on and so forth.

I think anyone who purports to want to be commander in-chief should be pushed back. Because we will not bow down and we will not back up and allow these demagogues to rule our country.

SHARPTON: General Clark, what do you think when you hear this rhetoric? Does it make America safer?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK FORMER NATO SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER: I think it makes America more at risk, honestly. You know, we have got a great process in America for assimilation. No other country does it as well. And we want to keep pulling the country together. For generations people have come here from other countries, and they are proud of their ethnic national heritage but, they become Americans. They`re all the same. They have many different faiths. We have many different backgrounds. We`re all bonded by our patriotic belief in the United States of America. And that`s what gives America unique strength in the world.

So, when I hear candidates disparaging particular groups, and calling for certain actions against certain groups, they don`t -- they don`t get it. And I feel even worse when I think about the men and women in the armed forces. And we have got great Muslim Americans serving in the United States armed forces. What are they going to think when a candidate says that their security risks or something just because of their background. That doesn`t make sense. So, it`s destructive, self-destructive rhetoric.

SHARPTON: Congressman, I mentioned in the setup about the calling for patrolling Muslim neighborhoods, and you repeated it. Let me show you what President Obama said about Senator Cruz`s statement about patrolling Muslim neighborhoods.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Any approach that would single them out, or target them for discrimination is not only wrong, and un-American, but it also would be counterproductive. Because it would reduce the strength, the antibodies that we have to resist terrorism.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: With history as a guide, congressman, is the Ted Cruz`s plan leading us toward what could be a slippery slope?

CARSON: Without question. I think that if you look at history, Reverend, and you know this very well from your early work, Muslims have, in fact, had to patrol the communities where law enforcement did not meet needs, and push back on criminal activity. And so I think that Mr. Cruz, one who is a son of immigrants, to speak in this kind of way, to attempt to posture to a part of society who holds deeply held views that they are somehow getting a smaller piece of the American pie, for him to eschew these kinds of hateful statements concern me, and it should concern most Americans. It is certainly a slippery slope. But it is a path as us, as Americans, unified, we will not accept.

SHARPTON: General Clark, you were the allied commander of NATO. Here`s what Donald Trump said about NATO this week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: They are costing us too much money. And frankly, they have to put up more money. They`re going to have to put some up there also. We`re paying disproportionately. It`s too much, and frankly it`s a different world than it was when we originally conceived of the idea and everybody got together.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, general, with so many threats around the world, and so many things happening, is this the time to talk about getting rid of NATO?

CLARK: Well, it certainly is not. But I would say this, this burden sharing argument that the Europeans haven`t done enough, it`s as old as NATO itself. And it comes up every two, three, five years, somebody brings it up. The truth is that NATO serves American interests. We fought two world wars to make sure that powers hostile to us would not dominate Europe. We`re over there not only to help the Europeans protect their interests, we`re protecting our own interests, using their terrain, their forces, their resources, and when you put all those NATO commitments together they`re spending one heck of a lot of money. It may not be as much as the United States is, but it is real money and they`ve agreed to spend more.

So, I think the point is that NATO is as essential today as it ever was. Circumstances are changing, that`s right. Russia is much more assertive today. They`ve rebuilt their armed forces. I was just in Eastern Europe over the last couple of months talking with governments there, and military leaders, and they are very, very concerned about what the future is. They want NATO there to protect them. So they can build democratic societies and encourage investment.

They don`t want something like a threat to NATO coming from the United States. They couldn`t possibly understand it. They`re counting on us to help them build free, democratic societies. And that`s in our interest to do so.

SHARPTON: I`m out of time. But congressman, I need to ask you this. I notice from your twitter page you posted earlier this year, a picture of you praying about with some Christians.

CARSON: Yes, sir.

SHARPTON: Praying with some Baptist parishioners to be exact. Isn`t this the time for Americans to unite across all faith lines, and try to come together, not a time of division in the face of the things that occurring?

CARSON: Absolutely. You know, I think those Baptist pastors who brought some prayer warriors into the office, and prayed for me and the entire staff, and not even surprisingly so, a lot of Christian pastors, and Jewish rabbis, particularly Christian pastors like yourself and others have been at the forefront of pushing back on this bigotry. The founding fathers, though imperfect, they were at least brilliant in not wanting to have a theocracy or religion to cause an imbalance in the society. Because at some point, you`re going to have to decide which denomination or school of thought takes the forefront.

So Christian pastors have been extremely supportive of our work, and we hope to unify as Muslims, Christians, Jewish brothers and Christians, Sikhs, Hindus, non-theists, as coming to the as one pluralistic society and pushing back on demagoguery because it`s unpatriotic and even un-American.

SHARPTON: Well, I`m going to have to leave it there. Congressman Carson, General Clark, thank you both for your insights today.

CARSON: Thank you, Reverend.

CLARK: Thank you, Reverend.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coming up from the stop Trump movement to lose with Cruz. What`s left for Republican voters?

And the Democrats, we`ll talk to the two candidates shaping one of the biggest 2016 fights in the Democratic Party and they aren`t Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Lose with Cruz. That`s the new phrase kicking around the stop Trump movement these days. Some Republicans saying it`s better to lose the election with Ted Cruz than to hand over the keys to the party to Donald Trump. Check out Senator Lindsey Graham on "Morning Joe."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GRAHAM: Here`s my concern. We can lose in 2016 and we probably will. Trump gets wiped out, ted makes it competitive. I don`t know if he can beat her or not, but at least we`ve got a fighting chance. If Trump is the standard-bearer, it`s not about 2016. It`s about losing the heart and soul of the conservative movement.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But, these GOP elites have a problem, the base. A new Bloomberg poll showed that 63 percent of GOP voters think whoever has the most delegates should get the nomination. Right now, that`s Trump. Just 33 percent think the issue should be decided at the convention. So the party leaders may want to lose with Cruz, but the base doesn`t feel that way.

Let`s bring in our panel. MSNBC political analyst and national affairs correspondent for "the Nation," Joan Walsh. And Republican strategist Susan del Percio.

Susan, is lose with Cruz a winning strategy or the GOP?

SUSAN DEL PERCIO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: It actually will end up probably being the best strategy for the GOP because when you look at --.

SHARPTON: Really?

DEL PERCIO: When you look at the -- if you look at Cruz and you look at Mr. Trump, what you see is a Republican that may have a very difficult time winning a general election and an opportunist who is simply using the Republican line as a means in Mr. Trump. If he thought it was easier to get elected as a Democrat he would have run as a Democrat. He`s just an opportunist. He`s using the line. He has no loyalty to the line or to the party for that matter. So it would be really hard for the party to survive with the -- with the unofficial head, meaning Donald Trump, as the -- because he won`t do anything for it. Plus we`ll probably lose the states - - the Senate, and maybe some real critical seats in the House.

SHARPTON: Well, let`s look at it this way also, Joan, when you look at recent polls, Donald Trump loses to both democratic candidates by a lot.

JOAN WALSH, THE NATION: Right.

SHARPTON: I mean, Hillary Clinton, 54, Donald Trump only 36. Bernie Sanders, 58 percent, Donald Trump 34. Is that part of what`s driving this lose with Cruz drive?

WALSH: I think it is. But I think that there`s something really problematic about the idea of just trying to dump the guy. First of all, I take issue with the notion that he might have run as a democrat if he could have won. I think Donald Trump, although he did hold some more liberal positions a while ago, definitely did, I`ll give you that --

DEL PERCIO: And he was a registered Democrat.

WALSH: Right. And was a registered Democrat. I think Donald Trump has a kind of revulsion against what the party has become, the party of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, for quite frankly. I think that he has become much more of a nationalist. I think he`s become let`s say a borderline racist in the age of President Obama. So I think he has very little in common with the Democratic Party.

And unfortunately, he is talking to a segment, it`s just a segment, it`s ray minority, of the Republican base, but it`s a noisy minority and if they try to push him back, I don`t know what happens --

SHARPTON: Let me press you on that, because this week, speaker Paul Ryan gave a speech, in which he implicitly was criticizing Donald Trump. Let me play this for you.

WALSH: Sure.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), HOUSE SPEAKER: Our political discourse, both the kind that we see on TV, and the kind that we experience among each other, it did not used to be this bad. And it does not have to be this way. If someone has a bad idea, well, why don`t we tell them why our idea is better? We don`t insult them into agreeing with us. We try to persuade them. Politics can be a battle of ideas, not a battle of insults.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Is that enough, Joan, or do we need GOP leaders to be more explicit in denouncing Trump?

WALSH: I think they`re going to have to get more explicit in denouncing Trump. And I think that is what we`re seeing happening.

SHARPTON: Can they do that, Susan?

DEL PERCIO: I don`t know how much more explicit we need to see --

WALSH: Well, Speaker Ryan still has not said he won`t vote for him. I mean --

DEL PERCIO: That is true. And he should definitely wait until off the nominee is selected because he is, in fact, the speaker of the house and will have to work with the next president, whether it`s Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, or Hillary Clinton. So he does have to do that.

But most -- you saw the clip from Lindsey Graham. You saw Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina. We`ve seen lots of people go with Ted Cruz and certainly take the shot at Donald Trump because they`re going with Ted Cruz again, not because they think so fondly of him but because it`s not Donald Trump.

WALSH: But I mean, poor Jeb. He did it on his Facebook post, I mean.

SHARPTON: But Susan, you know, this week "the Washington Post" reported that big GOP funders were kind of backing away, and, and they were in many ways scrambling to insulate Congress from Trump, Republicans apparently are. They are -- the question is, if Trump is the nominee, and this goes to what you were beginning to say before, how do Republicans avoid a democratic wave on Election Day in the Senate and Congress?

DEL PERCIO: They`re going to have to break away from him. And the chances are they`ll be able to do it early. You`re not going to see it in the last two or three weeks of the campaign. We`re going to see Donald Trump`s numbers against the Democrat most likely Hillary Clinton, you`re going to see -- if that`s the case, it`s going to be a head-to-head. We`re going to see it in July and August, and by September, Senate candidates will know what they have to do to insulate themselves from a loss. And if it means dumping Trump that`s exactly what they will do.

SHARPTON: So they don`t --

DEL PERCIO: The interesting part about this, by the way, there won`t be any pushback. Typically there`s a lot of pushback by the establishment.

SHARPTON: Right.

DEL PERCIO: And the party elders. There will be zero pushback and they will probably be encouraged to do so.

SHARPTON: The Democrats may actually pick up Senate seats which is something that was not as predictable months ago.

WALSH: Right.

DEL PERCIO: Well, it was hard-

WALSH: The numbers were good for Democrats. But they weren`t going to pick up the number of seats that they will likely pick up with a Trump at the top of the ticket.

SHARPTON: Well, Susan, it`s going to be interesting to see how they do that in the base not push back. That`s going to be the question.

Joan and Susan stay with me. Lots more ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coming up, Paul Ryan slams ugliness in the Republican Party. But his apology for that ugly rhetoric landed him in our gotcha.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN: Higher tax rates will decrease the number of makers in society and increase the number of takers.

You are getting more and more takers than makers in America.

We can become a society where the net majority of Americans are takers, not makers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Makers and takers, it`s a line Republicans have been using for years. And perhaps nobody used it more than Paul Ryan. Before he ever became house speaker, he was a champion of right-wing economics embracing its ideas, and its language. Language taken from the same dictionary his 2012 running mate used in those 47 percent comments.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: 47 percent of the people who vote for the president -- the 47 percent who are with him are dependent upon government who believe that they`re victims, who believe that the government has the responsibility to care for them, who believe that they`re entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Mitt Romney later said his comments were wrong. And this week speaker Ryan renounced his comments about makers and takers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN: There was a time that I would talk about a difference between makers and takers in our country referring to people who accepted government benefits. But as I spent more time listening, really learning the root causes of poverty, I realized something. I realized that I was wrong. Takers wasn`t how to refer to a single mom stuck in a poverty trap, trying to take care of her own family. Most people don`t want to be dependent. And to label a whole group of Americans that way was wrong. I shouldn`t castigate a large group of Americans just to make a point.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Let`s be clear. Speaker Ryan deserves some credit. Nobody wins when political leaders use offensive language. And yet, Ryan isn`t backing away from his policies. Like the tax cut he proposed in 2014 for the top one percent, an average of $227,000. Or the cuts he proposed that year to programs like SNAP, head start, Medicare.

Paul Ryan can soften his rhetoric. He can even go to soup kitchens for photo-ops. But he needs to take real action. Nice try. But until Republicans like Paul Ryan back up their words with deeds, all I have to say is, we "gotcha."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Sometimes the toughest fights are in the family. And right now, one of the toughest political races in the country is between two Democrats in Maryland. Two members of congress, Donna Edwards, and Chris Van Hollen, are duking it out to become Maryland`s next United States senator. A recent poll shows Edwards leading Van Hollen by ten points. The primary set for April 26th. Just four weeks away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D), MARYLAND: It`s interesting that Ms. Edwards is not running on her record. A lot of rhetoric, but no results, no record.

REP. DONNA EDWARDS (D), MARYLAND: I`m sorry, but Mr. Van Hollen touts every time at the 30,000 foot level. This is about the way people live their lives on the ground.

VAN HOLLEN: We hear from Ms. Edwards` constituents that she has not been there for them.

EDWARDS: I was really deeply disturbed when the president of our Senate endorsed Mr. Van Hollen saying that he was born to the job. Well in the United States of America, no one is anointed and born to any job.

VAN HOLLEN: Once again Miss Edwards is just misleading Maryland voters.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Passions are high but so are the stakes, especially in the state`s marquee city of Baltimore. The primary will come almost exactly a year after Freddy Gray died, after being arrested by Baltimore police a year after riots engulfed the city. A tragedy which is still generating criticisms from the likes of Donald Trump just last week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: You look at our inner cities. Our inner cities are a horrible mess. I mean I watched Baltimore. I have many, many friends in Baltimore. We watched what happened. And St. Louis, Ferguson, Oakland, I mean, it could have been much worse over the summer. And it will probably be worse this summer. When you look at the Ferguson problems, and the Baltimore problems and the Detroit problems, you know, there`s a lack of spirit.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The next United States senator from Maryland will have to work against views like that possibly in a new majority by the Democrats in the Senate created by Donald Trump, as the Republican nominee. It`s time to meet the candidates.

Joining me now is congresswoman Donna Edwards, Democratic candidate for Senate in Maryland. Thanks for being here, congresswoman.

EDWARDS: Thank you, Reverend Al. Good to be with you.

SHARPTON: Let`s start with Baltimore. It`s the key to this race, as senator what would you do to address the crime, the poverty, and policing issues in that city?

EDWARDS: Well, let me just first say, Al, I think it`s really important for us to deal with a number of these issues simultaneously and not sequentially. Law enforcement that is accountable. That has citizen accountability and transparency. Economic development that goes targeted to the neighborhoods and even the census tracts where we know the communities are most vulnerable. An education system that doesn`t just work for some of our students either in Baltimore or in Maryland, but really works to rebuild community schools. And then lastly, I think we really have to invest in rebuilding a manufacturing sector so that people have jobs, and opportunity throughout the city of Baltimore. And I think when we hit those four prongs we will get -- we will be at a place where we`re creating economic opportunity throughout the city, educating our young people, and making sure that we have a law enforcement and criminal justice system that really works for the city.

SHARPTON: Because, you know, congresswoman, Donald Trump says that inner cities like Baltimore are quote "horrible mess." Says Baltimore has a quote "lack of spirit." What`s your response to that?

EDWARDS: Well, I`ve been in communities on streets meeting with faith leaders, talking to neighborhood leaders. There is not a lack of spirit in Baltimore. And, in fact, we have not invested in our urban core in this country in decades. And so, the challenges facing Baltimore are faced by a lot of cities all across the country. But there is not a lack of spirit, and not a lack of willingness to really work hard. What I sense is a lack of leadership, definitely not a lack of spirit.

SHARPTON: Now your opponent, congressman van Hollen, has said and I`m quoting here, "Miss Edwards has not been telling Maryland voters the truth." He also said that you had quote "a lot of rhetoric, but no results. No record." Now do you respond to that?

EDWARDS: Well, I think that`s just baseless. Let me talk about my record. I added provisions in to the affordable care act that have accountability for insurance companies so they don`t just jack the insurance rates up. So, you know, Mr. Van Hollen talked about a lot of things but he doesn`t know my record. And the problem with politicians, establishment politicians like Mr. Van Hollen, is that they think that they can just put their name out there for a head line.

I`m not interested in headlines. I`m interested in being on the ground where people live their lives and making a change and an opportunity for them.

SHARPTON: If you`re successful, what is the one most important thing you would look forward to doing as a U.S. senator next year?

EDWARDS: Well, you know, that`s a really tough question, Al, because we face a lot of challenges that I have to say, we have to have an education system that works no matter what zip code you live in. I have walked in the shoes of middle class families and people struggling to enter the middle class. That is a voice that is missing from the Senate, and it is a voice that I`ll provide.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman Donna Edwards, thank you for your time today. Have a nice holiday.

EDWARDS: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Now, let`s bring in Congressman Chris van Hollen, Democratic candidate for Senate in Maryland. Thank you for joining me, congressman.

VAN HOLLEN: Reverend Al, always good to be with you.

SHARPTON: Now this race could hinge on Baltimore. I`ll put the same question to you that I did congresswoman Edwards. As senator, how would you address the city`s issue of crime, poverty, and policing?

VAN HOLLEN: Well, we need all hands on deck, Reverend Al, to address the very deep issues and challenges in Baltimore beginning with police accountability, and adopting many of the recommendations that have been put forward to address that issue, to increase transparency. We need to massively incentivize new businesses to invest and build in those areas. We need to really focus on jobs, and skills training in those areas. This needs to be a top priority, the health of Baltimore city is essential for the health of the whole state of Maryland.

SHARPTON: What role would you like to play in the Senate play if the president is Donald Trump, or if the president is a Hillary Clinton?

VAN HOLLEN: Well, God help us if it`s Donald Trump. I don`t think that`s going to happen. But, as you know, as the senior Democrat on the house budget committee I`ve had two roles. One has been to lead the effort against the Paul Ryan tea party budget that would disinvest in America, it would cut our investment in education, and lead the effort against their efforts to roll back Social Security and Medicare. So I`m fully prepared to deal with a worst case scenario of a Donald Trump. I don`t think that`s going to happen.

My other role has been to put forward a positive vision for Democrats, and I`ve put forth a plan to build an economy that works for everybody. We need to get back to the days where hard work translates into higher pay and higher benefits.

SHARPTON: Now, Congresswoman Edwards has painted you as a, quote "career politician who is willing to trade away our values, just to get a deal." What`s your response to that?

VAN HOLLEN: Well, Reverend Al, I have been on this show a lot of times, and I think everybody who knows me knows that, in fact, I have been leading the fight in the House of Representatives to uphold Democratic principles and values. It is important to be able to work across the aisle for the benefit of Marylanders. And I think if you look at my record, compared to that of congresswoman Edwards, mine is one of trying to find common ground where possible for the good of the people of Maryland.

SHARPTON: One of the things that has attracted voters to your opponent is she has a very compelling story. What has happened in your life that has really voters ought to know about you that makes you, you?

VAN HOLLEN: Well, Reverend Al, I respect Congresswoman Edwards` story. But you know, this election is about the stories of people across the state of Maryland. My approach has always been to listen to the stories of others. And act on those stories to both help them in their daily lives, but also to help others, as well.

SHARPTON: Congressman Chris van Hollen, thank you for joining us today. Have a nice Easter day.

VAN HOLLEN: Thank you. And you, too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Up next, can you win the White House if you`re losing with women?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CRUZ: I don`t get angry often. But you mess with my wife, you mess with my kids, that will do it every time. Donald, you`re a sniffling coward and leave Heidi the hell alone.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Senator Cruz this week, firing back at Donald Trump, after a twitter feud that included Trump retweeting this less than flattering picture of Cruz`s wife Heidi. It`s not the first time Trump has faced heat from his treatment of women. There`s this ongoing feud with FOX News anchor Megyn Kelly and his even longer-lasting feud with Rosie O`Donnell, who he called dumb and a loser.

More than half of U.S. women have a very unfavorable view of Trump. And if you can`t win with women, can you win at all? Especially when you`re potentially running against the first woman presidential nominee in American history.

Back with me now are Joan Walsh and Susan del Percio.

Our NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" poll, Joan, showed nearly half women, half of women polled say they can`t see themselves voting for Trump, 51 percent of voters are women.

WALSH: Right.

SHARPTON: Can Trump win if he can`t win over women?

WALSH: No. He`s going to be slaughtered. I think that`s why Susan is here telling us that there`s such desperation in the party to figure out a way to stop him. I mean I think this is just the beginning.

Let`s remember, the party has just started campaigning against him. This series of ads that shows ordinary women mouthing the disgusting things he`s said over the years it`s a really affecting ad. I mean, I know about all of these things. I`m going to say my friend Anna Holmes back in 2011 laid out this whole picture when he was talking about running for president the first time. So it`s not brand-new. And somebody could have taken it early, and they could have run with it. But listening to that ad I found it shocking myself.

SHARPTON: Well, Susan, you are very good at politics. You`re very good at what you do. Let me show the ad she`s referring to. Tell me how you would fight this?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bimbo.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dog.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fat pig.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Real quotes from Donald Trump about women.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A person who is very flat-chested is very hard to be a ten.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I looked her right in that fat, ugly face of hers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look at that face. Would anyone vote for that?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: How would you combat that?

DEL PERCIO: Well, there`s only one way you could actually try to and that would be on a very serious policy debate. You would have to change the whole conversation into be doing some really tough economic foreign policy debates which Donald Trump is not prepared to do, because he hasn`t given any real substantial --.

SHARPTON: He has a great foreign affairs expert that advises him -- himself.

DEL PERCIO: Well that being said, you can`t -- it`s -- in defense we`re going to see more and more of it. And just to add to the numbers that you spoke of, don`t forget generic Republican, generic Democrat, not male, female, just generic. A Republican is going in eight to eleven points with a deficit with women. They`re already down. They`re already down. So forget the 51 percent being women, that`s -- Republicans already in the hole.

Although you have to work to get them and Donald Trump is not a candidate with his unfavorable numbers, and his untrustworthiness numbers, he is not in a position to get women, nor independents. He also does horribly with independents and that`s the big fundamental problem.

SHARPTON: Well he`s been offending people from the beginning. This is nothing new.

WALSH: Right.

SHARPTON: And no mystery as to why he has problems with independents and women. I mean he`s worked overtime offending people, it seems.

WALSH: Right. Although Ted Cruz, I was almost surprised to see about a third of people -- excuse me, women, had an unfavorable opinion of Ted Cruz, as well. I mean the party has not distinguished itself with its positions on women`s issues. Donald Trump takes it to a really kind of crude, misogynistic level. But the party, I mean, this was true in 2012. This is not, as Susan says, it`s not a brand-new Donald Trump-ian issue.

But Trump takes it to a place where I think a majority of women would have a very hard time respecting themselves. You know, looking in the mirror and saying yes, today I want to go to the polls and vote for Donald Trump. Even if you`re a lifelong Republican I don`t know how you do that as a woman.

SHARPTON: Now going back to that ad, Hillary Clinton had some problems with women voters, in Iowa, and New Hampshire. But does this kind of ad really help Hillary Clinton, who`s had problems with some women voters in those two states, particularly younger women?

DEL PERCIO: She did have that problem in younger. And you`re right, it was with, especially with younger women. And that was I think more of the millennial phenomenon going to Bernie Sanders. I don`t think those same voters who those women who went to Bernie Sanders are going to look at Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and say Donald is my guy. I think even if they stay home what you`re probably going to see is if it turns out to be a Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, you`re going to see high turnout. Whether it be women -- you`re going to see a much higher turnout which is not good for the Republicans, especially for the U.S. Senate. If you see a Ted Cruz-little Clinton you`re going to see a lower turnout most likely which is actually more beneficial.

SHARPTON: Well, let me throw a current ball, suppose Donald Trump is the nominee and selects a woman as his running mate.

DEL PERCIO: It won`t make a difference, no -- Donald Trump --

WALSH: But it didn`t work for John McCain.

DEL PERCIO: Well, not only that, Donald Trump may name a running mate. I don`t think we`ll ever see that running mate. He likes all the attention onto himself. There`s no way he`s going to give up something unless it`s to throw him under the bus.

WALSH: I have to push back a little on the notion that Hillary`s having a hard time with women. Because in the later primaries she`s been killing it. I mean, she won Florida and Virginia 70-30 over senator Sanders, Ohio 63.

SHARPTON: 70-30 women votes. OK.

WALSH: Women voters. I mean, she has really finished strong. Those first two states, very white small states were kind of an anomaly when it comes to the women`s votes. There`s been a huge gender gap in all the subsequent states.

SHARPTON: Quickly is there a risk in any of the Senate races that if they push back and separate themselves from Trump, if he`s the nominee, that they will have a backlash from the base, Republican base in their states?

DEL PERCIO: Well, because the nature of their -- the -- their races which are toss-up districts, so it means it`s pretty moderate, probably not. Because it would mean that the base is going to come out, they`re certainly not going to vote for the Democrat in the race. They may skip it but that wouldn`t be problematic.

SHARPTON: Joan Walsh, Susan del Percio, thanks for being here this morning.

WALSH: Thanks, Rev.

DEL PERCIO: Thank you. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The week in politics nation. We saw turmoil, tragedy, and the true human spirit. Our thoughts after a quick break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We close this morning with the terror in Brussels, and the perils of giving in to fear.

This week Ted Cruz made headlines by calling for patrol of Muslim neighborhoods. It`s a shocking idea. Profiling Americans based on religion, this country has profiled people before, like in World War II, when Japanese-Americans were held in internment camps. Congressman Mark Takano whose parents were put in camps stood up to remind America of this injustice.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MARK TAKANO (D), CALIFORNIA: I cannot be silenced. Seventy years ago, my parents and grandparents were held prisoner during World War II without trial and without a reason other than their Japanese heritage. Responding to Brussels by advocating for patrols of Muslim neighborhoods or suggesting that we torture our enemies is not only counterproductive, it violates the moral code that separates us from our enemies. It is my duty, it is every American`s duty to reject discrimination, and upheld our values.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: We all should be concerned. We all should be outraged when we see terrorism whether it`s in Brussels or Paris, or Nigeria, when Boko Haram hard up takes young girls that have still not been returned. We cannot respond to the scapegoating and by going after groups of people. We must unite and fight for the sanctity of human life together.

That does it for me. Have a Happy Easter. Thanks for watching. And keep the conversation going. Like us on facebook.com/politicsnation. And follow us on twitter @politicsnation.

I`ll see you back here next Sunday.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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