Show: POLITICS NATION Date: January 22, 2017 Guest: Hakeem Jeffries, Yvette Clark, Gregory Meeks, Judith Browne Dianis, Mark Thompson, Aisha Moodie-Mills, Katon Dawson
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We had, it looked, honestly, it looked like 1.5 million people. Whatever it was, it was, but it went all the way back to the Washington Monument. And I turn on -- and by mistake, I get this network, and it shows an empty field, and it said we drew 250,000 people. Now, that`s not bad, but it`s a lie.
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: These attempts to lessen the enthusiasm of the inauguration are shameful and wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Hello. I`m Al Sharpton, and welcome to "PoliticsNation."
Donald Trump`s administration obviously needs a reality check. Compare the pictures of Trump`s inaugural crowd to the 2009 inauguration of President Barack Obama when the city estimated that 1.8 million people came to witness history.
Meanwhile, Saturday`s Women`s March on Washington had an estimated 500,000 participants, according to a D.C. official and organizers. Well over one million people demonstrated at Sister Marches nationwide. Civil rights hero representative John Lewis addressed marchers in Atlanta.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA: When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have a moral obligation, a mission and a mandate to say something, to do something. We cannot afford to be silent. We`re going to send a message. I know something about marching.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Joining me now, three members of New York`s Congressional delegation. Hakeem Jeffries, Gregory Meeks, and Yvette Clarke. Thank you all for being here this morning.
REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D), NEW YORK: Thanks for having us, Reverend.
SHARPTON: Congresswoman Clarke, it comes after several things this week as the administration came in that I don`t think I`ve ever seen, and I`ve not been able to research an administration coming in with this kind of controversy.
The historic gathering of women all over the country, mostly organic, some organized. The boycott of 60 members, over 60 members of Congress from the inauguration, the gatherings all week long, the civil rights March last weekend.
I mean, it`s like every day something going on. How does this translate into a real change as we go through the confirmation hearings?
REP. YVETTE CLARKE (D), NEW YORK: Well, I think that we need to mobilize all of these folks who are very clear-eyed about this administration. And I think we have the tools in which to do that.
These folks are very in tuned with all that has taken place with respect to the election of Donald Trump, and they`re very clear that their existence is at risk under his administration. Folks have been organizing organically, and I think social media has lent us a really effective tool at getting information out and mobilizing people, so I`m encouraged, quite frankly, by what we`ve seen across this nation.
SHARPTON: What can the Congress, though, do, Congressman Jefferies, when you`re in a minority with the Republicans? What actually can be done? Or should we be just moving toward the midterm elections next year in terms of organizing local areas?
JEFFRIES: The midterm elections are going to be important, but Abraham Lincoln once made the observation when it comes to public policy-making that public sentiment is everything. With it, nothing can fail, without it, nothing can succeed.
And so our job, particularly Congressional Democrats, is to help shape public sentiment as it relates to the types of things that Donald Trump would like to do to undermine the ability of all Americans to really pursue the American dream.
He comes in with a cloud of illegitimacy. Some people want to bury their head in the sands, but the reality is that the Russians interfered with the election, the FBI director interfered with the election, the fake news industry interfered with the election. And as the marches this weekend showed, he didn`t win the popular vote, he lost it. A majority of Americans didn`t vote for him, they voted against him.
So the opportunity to help shape public sentiment is going to be on our side, and we`ve got to harness that energy that we saw this weekend into real opposition. And that may cause some of his co-conspirators in the House of Representatives or in the Senate to press the pause button to back down on some of his more controversial things, like the religious registry, like building a wall, like tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, if they see there`s a populist uprising.
SHARPTON: Congressman Meeks, you deal in a lot of foreign affairs in Congress. How is the world looking at this? I mean, you see all of this, the things I outlined at the beginning, that -- because it`s not just one thing, and then this historic, epic day yesterday of women marching all over. How is the world looking at incoming president, hasn`t been there but, what, two or three days, and all of this has converged in the last nine or ten days?
REP. GREGORY MEEKS (D), NEW YORK: Well, the world is very concerned. If you just listen to what he said during his inaugural speech, where virtually he`s talking about putting a wall around America and forgetting our allies and working collectively together in the world.
SHARPTON: An isolationist speech if I`ve ever heard.
MEEKS: That`s right. And so in a world where there`s more interconnectedness, the outside world is very concerned. That`s why you also saw marches not only in the United States but all over the world, whether it was Germany or whether it was London or whether it was in Austria.
So there`s places all over the world. And as I talk to world leaders, they are calling and they are very nervous. They`re asking, how did the United States allow this to happen in the first place, and they`re looking for some reassurances.
And I think that what it`s going to lead to is even some of our Republican colleagues, they`re going to have to put country first as opposed to just the Trump message that`s going through. Because clearly, Trump is going against everything that we have done known as far as foreign policy for the last three or four decades.
And so, they are looking at this and asking the United States Congress to step up because there`s more than one branch of government. There`s an executive branch and there`s a legislative branch, and the legislative branches have to do their part.
SHARPTON: Can the legislative branch stop blocking and do their part, as Congressman Meeks says, Congresswoman?
CLARKE: Well, we can definitely gum up the works. We can definitely push back. There`s a supermajority of Republicans in the house, and so -- in the Senate as well. We`re going to have to pick off members one by one.
We have to make the argument and we have to mobilize the American people. That is our job at this stage. We have to make sure that the interests that our communities are looking for us to protect, that we`re doing that each and every day, and every moment of every day, because the pushback from the Republicans are coming fast and furious, and there`s a major distraction operation going on as well. When you look at the executive orders, for instance, that were signed by the president.
We heard about the Affordable Care Act, but we didn`t hear about the Texas voting rights act. We didn`t hear about the housing mortgage piece. We didn`t hear about the fact that the consent decree for Baltimore was delayed, its implementation.
SHARPTON: By these executive orders.
CLARKE: By these executive orders.
SHARPTON: That`s where, again, the mobilization that we need to do comes together. Michael Moore and others say joining organizations, because you`ve got to be able to really bring in some of the points that people are missing while we`re dealing with the headline stuff. He delayed the consent decree in Baltimore.
CLARKE: That`s right.
SHARPTON: He dealt with Texas in terms of voting rights, something that all of us have been about. And I think there`s the challenge, because as we went through marches throughout the weekend, and everybody`s involved yesterday in support of them, whether it was organic or organized. I thought about the `97 Million Women`s March. We had a million in one place.
I mean, you talk about, there was two or three million all over the country, but in one place. And in the `95 Million Man March. And I thought the challenge coming out of there was how do you organize and make this more than a day. And I think that all of this has to translate into that. When you see this man is signing executive orders reversing stuff while he has us debating on numbers, he`s executing as the chief executive of the country.
JEFFRIES: That`s correct. Donald Trump, he`s a master of distraction, so he floods the zone and causes misdirection. And so, we`re debating numbers, as you`ve indicated. And yes, it`s clear, Washington, D.C., his inauguration was a ghost town when you compare it to Barack Obama`s two inaugurations.
SHARPTON: Absolutely. But his executive orders are not ghost towns.
JEFFRIES: Absolutely. And he`s already beginning to undermine the things that Barack Obama was successfully able to do on justice and equality and turn back the clock. And so, we`ve got to turn up the temperature on him beginning on Monday when we get back to Congress, utilize the floor of the House of Representatives, speak directly to the American people about what is at stake, their very well-being.
Donald Trump has talked the talk as it relates to hard-working Americans, but he`s put forth a cabinet filled with people who have done their very best to enrich themselves throughout their entire lives and undermine everyday Americans. We`re going to have to continue to raise those issues. And if we do, we can turn the tide in advance of the 2018 midterms.
SHARPTON: Congressman Meeks, the voting rights is one of the things that`s been very much a concern, was a concern all throughout a lot of the rallies and the marches, even to even the women raised it yesterday.
Can this Congress be challenged to come up with a map? Because the Supreme Court said that the map is outdated. Didn`t say you couldn`t have a map. Can this Congress say the map should be all 50 states and begin drumming up now and make that the litmus test for the 2018 midterm elections on those that would support a 50-state map and those wouldn`t?
I mean, when do we start directing some specifics in front of a lot of this energy?
MEEKS: Well, I think that`s exactly what should take place and will take place. You know, the Congressional Black Caucus, for example, under the leadership of our interior secretary Richmond, we`ve already developed a letter that we are talking about we`re going to send out to all of America so they can follow, and voting rights is number one on that list.
MEEKS: Because that`s how you do make the difference. Some of my concern with Donald Trump right now is that, you know, as President Obama said, let`s not clap him, let`s vote him out. And we`ve got to have a strategy.
When we look at the DNC moving forward, it`s got to be a strategy on all 50 states to make sure that we make voting absolutely accessible and easy for people to do it.
SHARPTON: Congresswoman, I`m out of time, but I must ask you, he`s had these selective meetings. It`s almost like he`s doing the red carpet on a show, rather than operating as president-elect and president.
Is he going to meet with the Congressional Black Caucus? Is he going to meet with leaders of civil rights organizations? Or is he only meeting with people that basically agree with him and does the red carpet?
CLARKE: Well, Rev, that remains to be seen.
SHARPTON: I`ll have to leave it there. Thank you Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, Congressman Gregory Meeks and Congresswoman Yvette Clarke.
Coming up, Senator Jeff Sessions could be confirmed as attorney general any day now. Why should that scare you? That`s next.
SHARPTON: This was the scene on Thursday when I was joined by celebrity activists and thousands of other New Yorkers at the United We Stand protest rally outside Donald Trump`s New York hotel.
We were there to send a message to our new president that any agenda that advances injustice will be met with vocal and unyielding resistance. That includes one of the first items on the Trump administration`s agenda, the confirmation of Jeff Sessions as attorney general.
Joining me now is Judith Browne Dianis, executive director of the Advancement Project, and Mark Thompson, host of Sirius XM "Make it Plain with Mark Thompson." Thank you both for being with me this morning.
JUDITH BROWNE DIANIS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ADVANCEMENT PROJECT: Thanks, Rev.
MARK THOMPSON, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Thank you, Rev.
SHARPTON: Judith, let me ask you, people watching have heard many of us raise questions about Senator Sessions being the attorney general. Specifically tell the viewing audience why you feel they ought to be concerned, if not frightened, about Jeff Sessions becoming attorney general.
DIANIS: Well, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions is a person who is no friend of civil rights. He is going to take a sledgehammer to our federal protections.
I mean, his role is going to be just like the others who are being appointed by Trump, which is really to diminish the role of the federal government.
Historically, we know that civil rights has been enforced by the federal government. We`ve had to turn to the federal government because the states were not protecting us. I mean, when you think about voting rights in particular, he has lauded the Shelby County case, which actually a sledgehammer to the Voting Rights Act, saying it was good for the south.
So, here is someone who wants to take us back to the southern way, is still kind of thinking about the war of northern aggression.
And secondly, he is someone who has used racist comments. He`s referred to one of his past employees as boy, and then this is the person that we`re supposed to expect is going to protect black people from the police when he actually thinks of a black man as a boy.
And so, we`ve got to be very concerned. His record shows that she is not the appropriate choice, and that, in fact, he is not only going to undermine civil rights laws but also the constitution.
SHARPTON: Now, Mark, it is clear that there is concern among the civil rights community, the black community, but you`ve been involved last week with the civil rights march, yesterday with the historic Women`s March.
Why should women be concerned? Where`s the connection with these millions of women marching and their concerns about a Jeff Sessions?
THOMPSON: Well, you know, as a matter of fact, Jeff Sessions is someone who may very well not uphold the law when it comes to protecting women and their rights. And we also know women vote as well. And when it comes to issues even like voter I.D.s, many times that affects many, many women.
Jeff Sessions is someone who`s in favor of voter I.D. and has minimized the impact of voter I.D. when it comes to voter suppression. That`s one area.
He said in his hearing that he was put on the spot. He said he respects the law of the land when it comes to Roe v. wade. But we know that women`s reproductive rights have been under attack at the state level, a great deal more than anywhere else.
Is this an attorney general that is going to vigorously defend women`s reproductive rights at the federal level and before the Supreme Court? I don`t think we have any reason to trust him. I don`t think we have any reason to believe Jeff Sessions.
He`s living up to his name. He`s named after Jefferson Davis, the president of the confederacy and a confederate general by the name of Beauregard.
THOMPSON: And I think everyone should all be very, very concerned about him and his behavior.
SHARPTON: Another part of this, Judith, was that when they started the voter I.D. laws in Alabama, right after the Supreme Court decision in terms of the voting rights act and section five was in many ways neutralized, the local Department of Motor Vehicles in several counties, which was where you could go and try to get your I.D. that you could use for voting, closed down.
In the 10 large black counties, eight of those counties closed down, that never even was questioned by Senator Sessions, who was the Senator of Alabama at that time and still is. And why didn`t he do something to protect or to verbally come out?
So, the question, as Mark raises it about Roe versus Wade, him saying he would protect -- he would respect, rather, the law, but enforcing the law and making sure that people are protected under the law -- the DMV issue in Alabama is very telling.
DIANIS: Right. Oh, definitely. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions in fact, has called the Voting Rights Act, an intrusive piece of legislation. The Voting Rights Act that protects us from discrimination.
So, we should not expect that someone who believes that something, a law that was hard fought for, where people died for that right, that was established actually and comes out of the fight in Alabama and in Selma and crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge, and he is from Alabama, and he could not stand up and be on the side of voting rights.
And instead calls it intrusive, we should not expect that he is going to enforce the law. And that`s what this role is. The attorney general is supposed to be the one who looks to the federal law, who looks to the constitution to protect the people of the United States, and he is not going to do that, especially when it comes to voting rights and civil rights issues.
SHARPTON: Mark, they have the majority of the house. The Republicans have the majority of the Senate. How are people going to press to block any confirmation when the majority is absolutely with the party that seems to be rallying around both Sessions to be attorney general as well as rallying around the other confirmations that President Trump has made?
THOMPSON: It`s going to be very different when it comes to confirmations, Rev, because it is about a majority vote. The Senate -- Democrats in the Senate will have an easier time believing in blocking his Supreme Court nominations, and I hope they do that.
Every single one of them they should block. But when it comes to cabinet confirmations, it`s a little bit more difficult. They may be able to delay, but that is why what you did on Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, January 14th, what the women did all over the country and all over the world just yesterday is very, very important.
And I know you recall this, Rev. In 1968, Dr. King created an atmosphere with all these diverse groups, with the beloved community, to push back. I mean, technically, there were no confirmations on the table, there was nothing that could be done necessarily on Capitol Hill.
But there was so many people in the streets, so many people mobilized and activated, that it changed the country and ultimately changed the tide of the Vietnam War, forced President Johnson to no longer run for election. Everything changed.
THOMPSON: We`re going to have to replicate what you did Martin Luther King Kr. weekend, what women all over the country and the world did yesterday, and keep it going consistently. That`s going to be our pushback, because this president after such a dignified presidency with Barack Obama and Michelle Obama and all they represent, this president with the nomination of Jeff Sessions along with this president`s own behavior would basically take us back to the time of Andrew Johnson and turning back the clock from reconstruction.
SHARPTON: I`m going to have to leave it there. Thanks to you, Judith Browne Dianis and of course Mark Thompson.
THOMPSON: Thank you, Rev.
DIANIS: Thank you, Rev.
SHARPTON: Up next, one of Donald Trump`s cabinet nominees faces a key test on Monday. Will Rex Tillerson lead the state department? Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: This started out tonight being a small, little concert, and then we had the idea maybe we`ll do it in front of the Lincoln Memorial. I don`t know if it`s ever been done before, but if it has, very seldom. We didn`t know if anybody would even come tonight. This hasn`t been done before. And you look.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Donald Trump gave himself a hardy pat on the back for his groundbreaking idea of having a pre-inaugural concert at Lincoln Memorial. It`s never been done before, he says. Oh, really? So, what was this in 2009? If I`m not mistaken, that`s a concert at the Lincoln Memorial before President Obama`s first inauguration, a concert starring Beyonce, Stevie Wonder, Usher, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Mary J. Blige. I could go on and on. And the biggest star of the night --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Barack Obama.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
BARACK OBAMA, 44TH U.S. PRESIDENT: Hello, America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The "Washington Post" reported that by some estimates, 400,000 people went to that concert. It was bigger than the turnout for Trump`s concert. It was even bigger than the estimated crowd for Trump`s actual inauguration.
So, Mr. Trump, your Lincoln Memorial concert that`s never been done before, it`s been done before, and it`s been done better. Do the math. We got you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We have a cabinet, I believe, the likes of which has never been appointed. There`s never been a cabinet like this. I will say, the other side is going absolutely crazy. They`re going crazy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Tomorrow will be a critical day for one of Donald Trump`s cabinet nominees. The Senate foreign relations committee is set to vote on Rex Tillerson`s nomination for secretary of state, but his ties with Russia may be a sticking point.
Joining me now, MSNBC anchor Ali Velshi and Malcolm Nance, MSNBC contributor and author of the book "The Plot to Hack America."
Ali, in the questioning of Rex Tillerson, even some Republicans, notably Marco Rubio, seem to be concerned about his ties to Russia. If one of them would vote against him, that might be enough to really throw the Senate foreign committee, the vote the other way tomorrow.
ALI VELSHI, MSNBC ANCHOR: Yes, in fact, because they`ve only got a majority of one on the committee --
VELSHI: Marco Rubio has not said whether he`s comfortable with Rex Tillerson. He really grilled him on his views on Russia and Cuba in particular and involvement in Syria and things like that. Now, what happens is if he doesn`t get approved by the committee, it still goes to the Senate for a complete vote, but there you`ve got --
SHARPTON: Where they have a majority for the entire Senate.
VELSHI: Right, but you`ve got Marco Rubio, John McCain and Lindsey Graham, all of whom have expressed concerns about Rex Tillerson, so it is not smooth sailing for him, regardless of what happens on the committee.
Rex Tillerson has not convinced all of the Republicans on the committee and certainly most of the Democrats that he has really well-thought-out views when it comes to America`s relationships with Russia, Cuba, and with some others.
SHARPTON: Now, Malcolm, what are the concerns about Tillerson`s connections and views to Russia that would be even a matter of major concern to people on the right?
Clearly, people on the left are questioning many of the president`s nominations, but what are the concerns that even people on the right would have about Tillerson`s positions and connections in Russia?
MALCOLM NANCE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it`s very easy to criticize Tillerson on the foreign policy platform. He actually has no experience, other than running Exxon operations in Russia.
But let`s look at the reporting we`ve recently seen out of the "The New York Times" this weekend, which shows that the FBI and the National Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Treasury Financial Crimes Unit actually have a FISA warrant out on members of the Trump administration team, where right now we know that it`s possibly Carter Page, Paul Manafort and possibly Roger Stone.
But Rex Tillerson`s connections are so deep into Russia. He was a friend of Vladimir Putin. He was given an award by Russia, the friendship award by Russia. It would be very, very hard for me to believe that they will not find something in this investigation that would link him to the kremlin.
The question is whether those links will be criminal, whether those links will be just innocent as part of regular business, that remains to be seen.
But as we go deeper into this, down this rabbit hole of whether there is someone who is in the employ of the kremlin, then it`s quite possible that it could get more difficult for him, but he`ll probably be secretary of state by then.
SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you, Ali, if you`ve got these Republicans -- you named three -- that are not committed, may go another way, how do you deal with the fact that many of them have been committed to dealing and raising the issues of keeping this country in a strong position against Russia?
SHARPTON: And now they`re asked with some evidence coming forward to confirm a secretary of state who has been awarded by the Russian dictator- leader, who has befriended him, and who has possible connections there with the company that he was the CEO of? How do they do that?
VELSHI: Right. So, this is not just a matter of having three Republicans who aren`t interested in you. This is three Republicans that you`re in a bad position to pick a fight with, right? Whatever you think of Marco Rubio. He was a contender in the presidential race and maybe one in the future. He is certainly a man of convictions, whether you agree with those convictions or not, and he`s got very strong convictions both about Cuba, from where his family originated, and the idea of human rights in America, being a projector of human rights around the world, which is something that Donald Trump indicated in his inaugural speech will not be a priority for him.
The second problem is you`ve got Lindsey Graham and John McCain. These are two Republicans that Republicans shouldn`t pick fights with. They are military men. So when it comes to military matters, these are men who speak with authority because they`ve been to war.
And secondly, over Christmas, while Donald Trump was celebrating Christmas and New Year`s, they were in Eastern Europe on the frontline states -- Latvia, Lithuania, with those leaders saying NATO is strong and we will stand with you. So, these are men who put their money where their mouth is. This isn`t a bunch of Republicans who don`t like Donald Trump and don`t like his people. They are that, too, but they are really relevant, clear thinkers when it comes to foreign policy.
And if they butt up against the secretary of state and the administration, that is going to portend a rocky relationship for the next four years.
SHARPTON: Malcolm, when you look at that reality about those three Republicans, when you look at the fact that you have a lot that is weighing here, and when you look at the fact that Putin is dealing with a very shaky economy -- I mean, the ruble is certainly being devalued substantially because of the sanctions and other things.
Is there a real point of concern by Putin and them that they`re getting a friend and they`re getting someone that could move toward lifting these sanctions? And is that the kind of thing that would really horrify people like a John McCain and a Lindsey Graham and a Marco Rubio?
NANCE: Well, I think it`s already horrified those three. The question is, will it horrify anybody that voted for Donald Trump and the rest of the Republican Party who as of right now appear to have a loyalty strictly to the letter "R."
They do not appear to have any concerns about this national security of the United States, that whether a foreign intelligence agency via a former director of Russian intelligence has actually put his hand on the thumb of democracy, and they don`t even particularly care that what we`re seeing here is an axis aligning with the fall of western democracy --
NANCE: Putin, Marine Le Pen in France, knocking down Angela Merkel in Germany, allowing the Brexit vote to happen in England, which could economically cripple it, and breaking up with the European Union.
This is the plan of Donald Trump. And it works solely to Vladimir Putin`s benefit and to the detriment of everything that`s existed since World War II.
SHARPTON: And, Ali, how come the Democrats have not been able to get this message out? Clearly, what Malcolm just said is the plan.
SHARPTON: Clearly, what I was laying out is Putin`s challenge, which is why he has a motive beyond what has been really expressed a lot by Democrats. He has a motive on why he needs a friend to help them as secretary of state.
VELSHI: Sure. Reverend, I have watched all of these nominations, hours and hours and hours of them. Rex Tillerson and Steve Mnuchin and Rick Perry. And the Democrats have tried but the bottom line is the number speaks for themselves.
The Democrats generally speaking, unless they can drop a bombshell which will cause Republicans to think twice about this, they`re not going to, because Republicans in the Senate understand who voted for Donald Trump and that they voted for Donald Trump for particular reasons and they don`t care about the salacious gossip, they don`t care about his values and morals. They care about him increasing jobs and wages in the United States. And if he can do that, he can be in bed with Russia all he wants.
I mean, it`s unfortunate, Reverend -- you`ve run for president, so you know what this is like. I used to watch Lindsey Graham on that, you know, that second card debate at every debate for the Republican nomination, and he really had remarkably interesting things to say about foreign policy in the world. John McCain has remarkably interesting things to say about foreign policy and the world.
That is not a place that Donald Trump generally went, and it`s not a place he`s going to go now. He picked Rex Tillerson because Tillerson has remarkable relationships around the world as a CEO, not as a secretary of state.
SHARPTON: Thank you both for being with me. MSNBC`s Ali Velshi and Malcolm Nance.
After the break, Trump has already gotten to work. What he did on day one, next.
SHARPTON: The new president got started on his agenda right away. Within an hour of the inauguration, his housing department made a move that will raise mortgage rates for first-time home buyers. He also signed an executive order giving federal agencies permission to scale back parts of the Affordable Care Act they consider too costly.
Joining me now, Aisha Moodie-Mills, the president and CEO of the Victory Fund, and Katon Dawson, a national Republican consultant. Thank you both for being here.
AISHA MOODIE-MILLS, PRESIDENT, VICTORY FUND: Thanks, Rev, for having us.
KATON DAWSON, NATIONAL REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: Good morning, Al.
SHARPTON: Aisha, what are the implications of the housing as well as the Affordable Care Act-connected executive orders that the president sent -- or signed, rather?
MOODIE-MILLS: Look, I think that Trump is doing exactly what he said he was going to do. My grandmother always said, when people show you who they are, believe them.
And what we`re seeing is really a playing out of what he said his first 100-day strategy was going to be, which was ultimately to repeal all of the things that, frankly, are helping regular Americans. And this is what has us so gravely concerned. This is why yesterday was such an amazing demonstration. I was out at the march in Washington, D.C., with so many people who were as optimistic as they were in opposition to the policies that have been not only threatened but are clearly on the docket from this administration.
But also yesterday was about something that`s bigger than this administration, and I think that people need to understand this as we watch what`s coming out of the White House and we watch what Congress may or may not do, for that matter. All politics right now are local.
MOODIE-MILLS: We have an opportunity in the states to elect people up and down the ballot, especially in the state legislatures, who are going to be doing the work to mitigate this fallout from the federal level and drive policies that affect our day-to-day lives, so I think that we do need to focus on there.
SHARPTON: Let me bring Katon in here. Katon, when you hear that, is it not of concern to Republicans that when some of these policies, when the rubber meet the road, when new home buyers can have mortgages that are higher, when you start disassembling or attempt to, the Affordable Care Act, that some of the very people that Donald Trump appealed to and voted for him will start saying, wait a minute, I didn`t know that this was going to affect my kid`s first home, or wait a minute, I didn`t know it was going to affect the cost of health care or even dealing with health care for pre- existing conditions and all that would start raising that beyond my reach? Isn`t that a concern to Republicans?
DAWSON: Al, they`re all kind of legislative political landmines out there for the next four years. And you and I come from different places, but we understand organizing and understand politics.
And as our other guest just said, all politics are local. Here are the facts. And one of the reasons why everybody that Donald Trump`s nominating is going to be approved is there`s about 3,200 counties in America, and all politics are local. And of those counties, Donald Trump won about 2,600 of them and Hillary Clinton won less than 500 of them.
So, when you start breaking down this last election and you start looking at politics, and I`m paid to elect people and move public policy, so that`s what I do.
And I watched the protest over the weekend and I applaud the people who organized it and did it, but I would tell you, it probably didn`t help the Democratic Party at all with the visions of breaking windows and lighting fires and civil unrest, which is unusual and sometimes frightening. So what I would tell you is that there are policies -- Donald Trump`s going to do what he said he`s going to do. I`ve said it on numerous times, this is a very unconventional president --
SHARPTON: Let me jump in here, Katon, because first of all, all politics is local, but this show is national. You had one day, a small group that engaged in some kind of violence. There was none, not one iota of violence that anyone reported yesterday when millions of women marched. There was none at the civil rights march. There was none in many of the protests throughout the week, including the celebrity protest in New York. So I understand your spin, but let`s not act like all of the protesters all week were doing what a small group did --
MOODIE-MILLS: Thank you, Rev.
SHARPTON: I think that that is something that I can`t let you just put out there without challenging you.
DAWSON: I understand, and I didn`t want to represent it that way, Al. I`m just telling you the way that it was seen on TV as in this morning and yesterday and reported.
MOODIE-MILLS: Well, that`s not true at all.
SHARPTON: Jump in here, because you and I were at marches.
MOODIE-MILLS: Yes, let me jump in there. I was physically there. Yes, sir.
SHARPTON: That`s not what happened.
MOODIE-MILLS: Yes, Rev. I was here in the District of Columbia at the march. First of all, this is the largest demonstration globally, globally, we`ve seen yesterday happen. More than two million women and allies marched.
And what`s most profound is that we talk about what America looks like. If you look at all of the people who were marching, it was the most intersectional crowd, folks from all faiths, folks from all ethnicities, LGBT people were centered in the narrative and conversations coming out of there around civil rights. This was about women and having a control over our health care. We had more types of Americans. We actually had the most robust diversity on display at this march that we`ve ever seen.
SHARPTON: And it was totally peaceful and nonviolent.
MILLS: Totally peaceful.
SHARPTON: And I know that people were going to try to get the photos of some that everyone has denounced from all of the gatherings, all of the marches all over the world yesterday and those that preceded, but that did not represent not a fraction of one percent, Katon, of what was expressed. And I think to minimize the outrage does not do a service, even to Republicans.
MILLS: Facts only. Thank you so much, Rev, for sharing facts only.
SHARPTON: I`ll have to let it go there. Thank you for your time this morning, Aisha Moodie Mills and Katon Dawson.
MILLS: Thank you.
SHARPTON: After the break, my thoughts on the inauguration of Donald Trump. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: For too many of our citizens, a different reality exists. Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities, rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation, and the crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: As I watched President Donald Trump`s inaugural address and he talked about mothers trapped in poverty, he talked about people in the Rust Belt, he talked about crime in the inner cities, and then I matched it where he brought his address and where he`s already brought some of his policies, and I can`t see how he conceivably can say that giving corporate tax cuts and tax cuts to the wealthiest is going to address any of the things he laid out. How do you solve poverty by giving tax breaks to billionaires?
How do you deal with bad schools by putting someone who believes in privatization over the department of education? How do you, Mr. Trump, deal with inner city crime without dealing with your friends that are purporting and pushing for no real gun control?
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