Show: POLITICS NATION Date: March 19, 2017 Guest: Eliza Collins, Jonathan Allen, Mustafa Ali, Joe Madison, Noelle Nikpour, Samaria Rice, Subodh Chandra (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I also want people to know that ObamaCare is dead. It`s a dead health care plan. It`s not even a health care plan, frankly. And I watched the architect of the plan yesterday, I watched the old clip where he said the American people are stupid to have voted for it. I watched Bill Clinton saying, "This is the craziest thing I`ve ever seen." And only because everyone knows it`s on its last dying feet, the fake news is trying to say good things about it, OK? Fake media. And there is no good news about ObamaCare. ObamaCare`s dead.
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AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Good morning, and welcome to POLITICS NATION, coming to you today from Washington, D.C. Another busy week for the Trump administration and a busy one coming up with health care taking center stage.
The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the Republican health care plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare this coming Thursday. Which also happens to be the seventh anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Care Act. Some experts say the new health plan will lead to a backlash with voters and suggested that Republicans bail.
Joining me now is Eliza Collins, politics reporter for "USA Today," and Jonathan Allen, author and journalist who`s currently working on a book about the 2016 election.
Eliza, let me go to you on this health care plan and the politics of it. Some are saying it`s going to hurt voters. It`s going to -- according to the CBO report, they`re projecting 14 million people next year, 24 to 26 million over a period of time losing their health care. Many of them are in Donald Trump`s base, and certainly with a lot of the Republicans members of the House, some in the Senate facing election next year, that politically, this could be really, really bad for them.
ELIZA COLLINS, POLITICS REPORTER, "USA TODAY" I think the point you said about being in the same base is crucial, because the Trump voter is an in general lower class -- or not in general, but the lower class, middle class voted for Trump, and they`re the people who benefited the most from --
SHARPTON: Lower in income class.
COLLINS: Lower in income.
SHARPTON: Not that they don`t have any class.
COLLINS: Yes, they`re very classy. But they`re the people that benefited the most. So, especially on this Medicaid expansion, which is a big fight right now in the Republican Party between conservatives and moderates, I think that they might not have realized when they voted that this actually affects their health care and they could lose it.
SHARPTON: A lot of it, Jonathan, was that any number of polls showed that they supported what the Affordable Care Act did, but they didn`t support ObamaCare, so a lot of it was the anti-Obama kind of frenzy that had been worked up.
And now that the rubber meets the road, we`re finding that they really didn`t have a Republican plan, or if they did, it hadn`t really come together. And now that they`ve put this together, it actually becomes politically toxic for some of them.
JONATHAN ALLEN, JOURNALIST: I think for a lot of them. If you just watch that clip you just showed of Donald Trump, what is he doing with the new health care bill out on the table? He`s trashing ObamaCare.
ALLEN: He`s not saying, this is a great bill. He ran as a populist. This Bill does three main things. It rolls back taxes on the wealthy.
ALLEN: It cuts $880 billion in Medicaid over 10 years. That is not a small amount of money.
ALLEN: And it rejiggers --
SHARPTON: $880 billion with a "b`s."
ALLEN: With a "b."
SHARPTON: Be clear on that.
ALLEN: That`s a lot of money. Look, about half of the births in the United States are financed by Medicaid, and in Paul Ryan`s home state of Wisconsin, the number`s about 64 percent.
ALLEN: So those Medicaid cuts are huge. There`s nothing populist about that, nothing populist about the tax cuts for investors. And then they rejigger what we think of as the core of ObamaCare, which is his subsidies for people to buy individual health insurance plans in a way that makes people who are a little bit wealthier eligible for them and cuts the amount of benefit for a lot of folks, particularly older folks.
This is a plan that is hurtful to people who are poor, disabled, old and helpful to people who are young and wealthier, and healthier.
SHARPTON: They hit you on both sides of the young and the old. And the thing we`ve not seen, Eliza, is we`ve not seen the comparative analysis when we hear the president talk, any of them, this is what the Affordable Care Act does, this is why it`s better, which was his rhetoric during the campaign -- we`re going to give you more and we`re going to give it to you cheaper.
Well, show us a comparison, president Trump. Here`s the Obama plan, here`s your plan. Show us where it happens. We`re not hearing that. We`re hearing, as Jonathan said, only you talking about ObamaCare was no good. Well, put the clean glass next to it and let`s see which one is the real dirty glass and the clean glass, if I`m a senior, if I need Medicaid, if I`m young.
COLLINS: Well, they introduced the plan without the CBO score, of course, which was the analysis that said kind of what happened. Those are the numbers you talked about earlier. It came out, and it showed these massive numbers.
COLLINS: And they`re kind of trashing the CBO, which is a bipartisan organization, in saying, you know, it has a history. And they`re just questioning the CBO score to try to plow this thing through.
SHARPTON: Now, Jonathan, tomorrow, the FBI Director, Comey, goes and testifies on the hill here, and it could be dicey for president Trump because this is public, he`s the head of the FBI, and clearly, he`s going to have to answer on the record in front of the public some things that are going to maybe be embarrassing, or at least less than what has been represented by the president`s crowd.
ALLEN: The strong suggestion from the words we`ve heard from the intelligence committee leaders in the House and Senate is that Jim Comey`s telling them behind closed doors there`s evidence here`s no evidence of this and not only --
SHARPTON: Evidence of the --
ALLEN: Of the wiretapping --
SHARPTON: -- wiretapping by President Obama.
ALLEN: Right. Donald Trump said President Obama ordered a wiretap of Trump Tower during the campaign. There`s no evidence of that, according to these intelligence officers. They`ve already talked to Comey behind closed doors. And he clearly has gone out and reached out to the other intelligence agencies to make sure that there wasn`t something he was unaware of in terms of the CIA, which is not supposed to operate domestically, the NSA, which obviously does operate somewhat domestically. So, that will be an embarrassment for President Trump.
SHARPTON: Who has doubled down on that, by the way?
ALLEN: Who has doubled down --
SHARPTON: Because he even said -- I guess the day before yesterday, Friday, when he`s there with German Chancellor Merkel, she and I have something in common. I mean, he won`t let it go!
ALLEN: What he`s equating is the government of the United States doing what, basically, spying on the government of Germany to the president of the United States spying on a political party during a campaign.
ALLEN: Which is a much different thing. Those are non-equitable things.
SHARPTON: And use her to pivot off of that, Eliza, that was not exactly a comfortable thing for Merkel, but he just won`t let this go. Because this had nothing to do with nothing, but he had to go there anyway, and Merkel was like, huh?
COLLINS: Her face, she went, look. No, I think that the White House and president Trump are the only ones at this point doubling down on this. Now you have Republican leaders saying, you know, the Senate and House committees, saying there`s no evidence, but this is Trump. He doesn`t like to be wrong. He`s going to keep going.
SHARPTON: Now, the other thing is we see Gorsuch, his nominee, Judge Gorsuch, his nominee for the Supreme Court, the whole confirmation hearings and the inquiries, rather, into him go front and center this week. Is this a bad climate for Gorsuch to have to come or it doesn`t matter?
ALLEN: I don`t think it matters. I think he`s going to end up getting confirmed by the Senate. I think it`s hard for Democrats to stand in his way right now. He`s obviously qualified. He`s somebody who`s coming after Scalia, so the trade is from Scalia to him, rather than a liberal justice to Gorsuch. He`s comported himself well and he even went out and said that president Trump`s remarks about the district court judge in the original travel ban case were demoralizing and disheartening.
I think the question that you`ve got to ask is what are the Democrats going to ask him in these hearings and how are they going to use him to try to make Trump look bad, to put a divide in there. I suspect they`re going to ask him, was it bad for the independence of the judiciary for Donald Trump to make these comments about judges?
SHARPTON: And, Eliza, it is a conservative vote for conservative vote, replacing Scalia. The tipping of the scales will be the next nomination, if and when President Trump gets to make that.
But it can be a platform for the Democrats to really embarrass some of the legal questions around the president, some of the things that they`ve said, and make Gorsuch kind of distance himself, if not repudiate it gently some of the things that have been put out there.
COLLINS: Right. I think they`re looking for headlines on this to get things on the record. Like you said, it`s hard for some Democrats, especially those moderate, red-state Democrats from states that voted for Donald Trump who are up in 2018.
It`s hard to vote against someone who is clearly qualified, so I think they`re going to see how they can get it on the record.
SHARPTON: Well, it`s not that hard. They did it to president Obama`s nominee. So, I mean, they blocked it on the Republican side. But that`s, of course, in an alternative universe.
Thank you, Eliza Collins and Jonathan Allen.
Coming up, a high-ranking official at the environmental protection agency has resigned, disgusted by some budget cuts that he claimed may hurt the poor and the minorities. He`s going to be right here up next. This is POLITICS NATION.
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MICK MULVANEY, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET: Went back and pulled lines out of speeches, out of interviews, talked to the president, and turned his words, his policies, into numbers. So, folks who voted for the president are getting exactly what they voted for.
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SHARPTON: Welcome back. Later in the show, we`ll debate the good and bad of President Trump`s new budget, but one thing for sure, he has made significant cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency, a move that some say would harm the people who most need help. You know who I`m talking about, the poor and the needy.
With me here is Mustafa Ali, until recently, a senior official for the environmental justice at the EPA. He worked for both Republican and Democratic presidents, but last week he resigned.
He is now senior vice president of climate environmental justice and community revitalization for hip-hop caucus. Thank you, Mustafa, for being with me this morning. You worked in the last two decades for Republicans and Democratic presidents, so it`s not about politics or party. Why`d you resign now?
MUSTAFA ALI, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, CLIMATE ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE AND COMMUNITY REVITALIZATION FOR HIP-HOP CAUCUS: A different set of values and priorities. I have for the past 24 years worked for our most vulnerable communities, communities of color, low-income communities and indigenous populations. And when I took a look at some of the actions, some of the proposals that were being moved forward, I knew that those couldn`t possibly be beneficial to the folks who have been struggling for years to be able to get traction, to make change inside of their communities, to address the disproportionate impacts that were happening from pollution in their communities.
SHARPTON: Now, when you talk about disproportionate impact, pollution, how do these cuts affect directly these communities in a disproportionate way? If I`m sitting watching the show this morning in an inner city or even some rural cities, how does this disproportionately impact me, or is this just beltway arguing over budgets?
ALI: Well, I`m lucky I spent most of my time outside of the beltway in communities over the years.
ALI: So it affects them in a number of different ways. It affects them, and the science that needs to happen to be able to validate the impacts that they`re talking about inside of their communities. Communities for years have been trying to get people to pay attention to those impacts that are affecting their health, so it affects it that way. It also affects --
SHARPTON: Like higher rates of asthma. These are real issues on the ground. My kids get asthma here on this side of town because of a dump that won`t go on another side of town, and this happens all over the country.
ALI: That`s exactly right. It also affects those grants that are critical to these communities to be able to make change, to help them to want to have an understanding of what`s happening inside of their community, to be able to do the education that`s necessary for them to be empowered to make the changes that are necessary, and to help capacity inside of their respective organizations. Many of them working on shoestring budgets but doing transformative work at the same time.
SHARPTON: So, when he cuts, billions from the EPA, which cuts down these studies, cuts down the work that you and others were doing in the Environmental Protection Agency, even under George Bush.
SHARPTON: It really can translate to people suffering health wise and disproportionately in poor and needy communities, even in some white areas that voted for Trump that are low-income areas.
ALI: Without a doubt. It will have devastating effects on people`s health. Folks like the folks in Elk River in West Virginia, when we had the chemical spill.
ALI: Folks in the Rust Belt, folks throughout Appalachia, folks --
SHARPTON: Folks in the Rust Belt, where he was so popular? Folks in the Rust Belt are going to suffer disproportionately from these cuts?
ALI: Without a doubt. Without a doubt. They will definitely have serious impacts that will in their communities. And the interesting thing is that some of the cuts also are about making, you know, the revitalization efforts that are also trying to happen. So when you make those cuts, you`re affecting a huge amount of folks.
SHARPTON: Now, revitalization efforts that were in the making such as what? Give me an example.
ALI: I`ll give you a great example of how investing in these communities makes sense. Spartanburg, South Carolina, they received a $25,000 environmental justice small grant and have now leveraged in over $300 million in changes in their community. They have new transportation routes where they had bad transportation routes before that, were very impactful to their community. They had old shotgun housing. They now have 500 new units, green housing units that are in place. Before in the summertime, they`re spending $300 to $400 on their electricity bills. Now it`s down to $67. So, if you`re on a fixed income, that`s disposal income that you can use.
SHARPTON: So, they`ve gone from in some cases people that have had to pay $300, $400 a month down to $67 on their electricity bill.
SHARPTON: That`s real stuff for people on fixed income or low income, and you say they took a grant and was able to do all these changes. Because that`s what I think a lot of people don`t understand, which is why I wanted to have you on. This is not just some kind of back-room, or even beltway back-room gibberish. This affects real people on the ground, many who had faith in President Trump and had no idea that he was going to cut things that will directly impact their health and studies to make sure they can revitalize the areas where their health was already in peril.
ALI: Exactly. This is about real people, real lives and the possibility for real change if we stay focused on these communities and make sure we`re hearing their voices and that we`re following through. We have a responsibility. These are taxpayers.
ALI: We have a responsibility as a federal government to meet the needs of those individuals inside of those communities.
SHARPTON: So, the members of Congress from those areas can vote against this budget, against this budget, and because it`s a proposed budget by President Trump. But they would not have the pressure from the voters unless the voters can really understand the impact it would make to their areas. And then those members of Congress, most of whom are facing election next year, would have to choose between their constituents and what President Trump`s proposed budget is, and these are discretionary funds.
ALI: Yes, that`s correct. Men and women of good conscience on capitol hill should stand up and say that this is not good for America, this is not good for our communities and this is especially not good for our most vulnerable communities who need our help.
SHARPTON: Now, let me go back to where I started. This was an effort that you and others worked at in the agency, even under George Bush. So, why do you think George Bush, who many of us disagreed with, did not try to stop these plans, and in some ways kept it going in terms of a budget item, but now all of a sudden we`re cutting it while we raise a lot of the budget, the proposed budget? We put up billions and billions of dollars on things like the military build-up, military budget over at the Pentagon and Homeland Security and hiring new border agents and all at the expense of somebody in the Rust Belt having dumps and all, not studying and not dealt with.
ALI: Right. Well, I think that there was an interesting dynamic at that time. So, the work that began began because stakeholders had a set of recommendations, and they engaged with that administration at that time.
ALI: That`s extremely important. To date, I have not heard of a conversation --
SHARPTON: Stakeholders could talk to that administration.
SHARPTON: We`re not seeing a lot of people representing these people welcomed in the Oval Office. Only those that already agree with him.
ALI: Right. I haven`t seen every day, real people yet have the opportunity to have the right conversations that help you to understand the challenges that are going on inside of your community, but also those opportunities that your community is looking for and how to make that happen. There are examples of how we can make this work.
SHARPTON: I think you`re right, and I think, you know, some of us met with Attorney General Sessions a couple weeks ago. The president needs to meet with people that don`t agree with him. I mean, when he was a civilian, he and I would debate, argue all the time. Sometimes we even agreed on Democratic candidates. I haven`t seen that in the Oval Office, and I know he`s tougher than that. I thought he said make America great first, so why doesn`t the budget reflect that? At least the proposed budget.
Thank you, Mustafa Ali.
When we come back, we`ll stay with the EPA and this Senator who`s saying that the federal agency is brainwashing our children. That`s next on POLITICS NATION.
SHARPTON: As we mentioned, President Trump`s new budget includes massive cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency, but that`s OK with Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe, because according to him, the cuts will take away "stuff that`s brainwashing our kids." And also another quote, "propaganda and allegations," that he says aren`t true.
This is the Senator who once brought a snowball to the Senate floor, trying to convince us that climate change is a myth, except, of course, in the case of climate change, the science is settled, and it is true.
So, if you want to propose cuts to any federal agency based on your philosophical view of life, go ahead, but don`t base it on fake evidence or your own propaganda or agenda. The environment is an important issue that some of it is in our control. And by now, we have a very clear idea what`s true and what`s fake. You heard me right, Senator Inhofe. I got you.
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MULVANEY: We can`t spend money on programs just because they sound good. And great meals on wheels sounds great. We`re not going to spend it on programs that cannot show that they actually deliver the promises that we`ve made to people.
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SHARPTON: Earlier this week, President Trump unveiled his budget plan for the coming fiscal year. Some of the budget cuts will impact the EPA, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and even Meals on Wheels, the program that delivers meals to the elderly and disabled and those set to gain under Trump`s plan are the Defense Department, Veterans Affairs and the Department of Homeland Security, which would pick up nearly $3 billion to build Trump`s border wall.
Joining me now is radio talk show host Joe Madison and Republican strategist Noelle Nikpour.
Let me ask you, Joe, when you look at this budget, cutting EPA, cutting a significant part of EPA, cutting public broadcasting, dealing with issues that would impact a lot of the people in poor and needy communities and building up the budget around border agents and defense. I mean, how do you deal with this? How do you defend this?
JOE MADISON, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, you don`t defend what he`s done, but I will put the statistics out here. Look, there are 2,000,405 seniors who depend on Meals on Wheels, and for some folks, it`s the only meals that they get. Now how you --
SHARPTON: Including the Republican Congressman I saw and his mother.
MADISON: And including people who voted for him and this is the only meals they get. Number two, 500,000 veterans get meals on wheels. And here`s the other interesting thing, it`s only three percent of government revenue.
Look, this is an evil. This is Sunday morning. This is evil, because the reality is, I don`t know what Sunday schools you went to, but --
SHARPTON: Well, I`m preaching at Howard University this morning.
MADISON: You tell them, somewhere in the bible, it says you feed the hungry.
SHARPTON: Now, Noelle, how do you defend that? I mean, if you`ve got veterans, if you have seniors that are going to lose their program totally, I mean, and it`s only three percent, I mean, how do you defend that? We`re talking about Republican or Democratic that are veterans, that are seniors. I saw one Congressman, as I said to Joe, talk about his mother gets it, and to say these programs aren`t effective. They feed people. The effect is that the people were fed!
NOELLE NIKPOUR, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Look, I feel that, and we`re all in this together. I`m not going to come and defend and say, that`s great and I`m happy this is going on. I think it`s horrible. But I will tell you that Meals on Wheels, number one, has seen a spike in online donations. There are a lot of people that feel the same way you do about it. You know, I don`t like it, I don`t think it`s great. I know these people are hurting and they depend on that meal, and this is where the private sector, this is where you and I, and this is where our neighbors, this is where we have to come together and help people that are in need. This is where the private community should take over.
SHARPTON: Wait, wait, wait. But are we saying now that government should take the money and build a wall in Mexico and put border agents there and that the private sector ought to take care of the seniors and the veterans that need a meal every day? Is that now how we`re going to govern?
NIKPOUR: Well, I think that sometimes we have to make cuts for the greater good, and I feel that we need a very strong national defense. He promised the voters, and he won on that wall. If you remember --
SHARPTON: But he didn`t say I`m going to put the wall up and I`m going to put border agents there, but I`m going to take the meals on wheels from your mother.
NIKPOUR: Well, I don`t really think it was the wall or Meals on Wheels --
SHARPTON: No, but you just made the analogy, Noelle. I mean, Joe, I think that the problem here is that the budget proposal of any president gives you sort of their whole moral map of what is important and what is not.
Because I mean, help me if I`ve lost anything overnight. I only sleep four or five hours. But we`re not at war so that where a military build-up is so important, we`ve got to cut Meals on Wheels, for example, or cut down on EPA. I mean, what are we talking about? We`re talking about a huge increase in military.
MADISON: Well, let me address one of the points that Noelle made, a huge spike. Look, 68 percent, 68 percent of the Meals on Wheels funding really comes from foundations and private corporations --
MADISON: Already. And by the way, they`re already on life support. They still -- because they depend primarily on volunteers, but there is something about government and their responsibility as what we call the common good. But James Baldwin once said that if you don`t know what`s happened behind you, you don`t know what`s going on around you. You want to talk about defense? How do you think we got food stamps? One of the reasons we got food stamps it wasn`t to feed poor, black people. It was because we were getting ready to go to war, and when men showed up for their physical, they found out that the vast majority of them were what? Malnourished.
MADISON: So, this can be as much important to the defense as building a freaking wall on the southern border.
SHARPTON: Now, Noelle -- and I get it that he wants to at least appear to be helping and keeping the promises and helping the people that voted for him to believe that he`s keeping their promises.
But when you cut things like the environmental protection, which as an earlier guest explained hurts people right in the Rust Belt he was appealing to, how do you balance the effect of what you`re doing and really deal with it in a way that I need to keep my promises, but I also need to do what is good as the chief executive of this government?
NIKPOUR: Well, Al, here`s something that I`ve never understood. As long as I have been involved in the Republican Party politics, I`ve not really seen a lot of Donald Trump. And now that Donald Trump is the president, I have never understood why the Democrats weren`t a little bit happy or a little bit encouraged on getting someone that was anti-establishment, anti- Republican establishment.
For once, for once, you have somebody that you may be able to work with, you may be able to strike a deal. This guy is a negotiator. He is a deal- maker. So, I have never understood the mentality of the Democrats on why they resist and hate Donald Trump when this is someone that can actually make a deal with.
MADISON: Excuse me. Let me help her understand this. This guy -- and this is not alternative facts -- this guy is a liar. Excuse me. He was the one that lied and said that the former president was born in Kenya. And he had people that went to Hawaii and tried to prove it but then came back and didn`t explain that they didn`t find anything.
Look, this is why Democrats and people in certain communities, this is a man who on Monday morning, we`re going to find out, lied about the fact that this former president and the FBI director committed a felony, allegedly, and wiretapped the Trump Tower. That`s why they act the way they do.
SHARPTON: I think that`s the problem, Noelle, is that as much as he`s an anti-establishment figure -- and I have known him 30 years and have agreed with him, disagreed with him, marched on him -- but you`re not talking about somebody that has not taken positions that is even beyond where some of the Republican establishment went. The birther issue, which he and I really fought over. And now you`re talking about saying that the president of the United States, Barack Obama, ordered your wiretapping.
So, you`re not talking about somebody that did not have positions that were certainly on the, you said the Democrats did -- certainly on the opposite side of where Democrats were, and I have not seen him -- you say he`s a negotiator and a deal-maker -- I haven`t seen him really meeting with leading people that disagree with him. I don`t see where he wants to sit down and transact and deal with things.
People should come to the table and show him where this will hurt seniors, where this will hurt the Rust Belt, but I`ve only seen him meeting with people that already agree with him, like a fan club meeting.
NIKPOUR: Well, I think there`s a lot of politics -- excuse the French -- there`s a lot of politics going on here, and I think a lot of people are playing to the tune of it`s not popular to be seen with Donald Trump trying to negotiate for fear of backlash of maybe losing their election when the midterms come up, because you`re going to have a lot people that`s -- if they`re seen trying to negotiate with Donald Trump, if they`re Democrat, they`re fearful that they might lose their election.
SHARPTON: Joe, we mentioned earlier, many of us that were adamantly opposed to Jeff Sessions, you at the march we had against Sessions, we met with Sessions. People meet with Trump. I mean, people meet with presidents all the time that they disagree with. As long as the agenda`s public and it`s a collective meeting.
MADISON: And wasn`t it not former President Obama who met with people who he disagreed with? He even met with networks that talked about him like a dog, and he met --
SHARPTON: We met with President George Bush, who we felt was wrong and got in there --
MADISON: Thank you. Excuse me, with both bushes.
SHARPTON: No, but I`m talking about the last one who we marched on with the Florida vote. He would meet with us. So I don`t think this is true. This is a Trump thing.
MADISON: And we`re not talking about -- look, the Congressional Black Caucus plans to take the --
SHARPTON: The executive committee.
MADISON: And they plan to meet.
SHARPTON: But we`ll see what happens and we`ll see if he meets with others --
MADISON: This is now in Congress.
SHARPTON: Thank you, Joe Madison. Thank you, Nicole Nikpour.
SHARPTON: Up next, it was an outrageous case, outrageous, that received national coverage. The killing of 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland in 2014.
And this week, another outrageous development in the case. That`s coming up next on POLITICS NATION.
SHARPTON: This week we learned that the Cleveland emergency dispatcher who took the call that led to the November 2014 shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice received only an eight-day suspension from the city`s police chief, despite failing to inform responding officers that Rice was "probably a juvenile" with the weapon that was "probably fake."
The implications of Rice`s death have reached into academia with a new study from the American psychological association citing this tragedy, finding that black men are often perceived as more threatening than white ones, regardless of size, or in Rice`s case, age. It`s a mentality we`ve seen time and time again in these kinds of police shootings of black males.
Joining me now is Tamir`s mother, Samaria Rice, and Subodh Chandra, attorney for the Rice family.
First, let me go to you, Samaria. And thank you for coming on this morning. This was an outrage many of us stood with you, marched with you, rallied with you, and here we are with the dispatcher who never said after she was told by the caller that this was a kid and it might be a fake gun, never related that, so certainly was a contributing factor to what happened to your son. Eight days suspension from a job, that`s it? How do you feel?
SAMARIA RICE, MOTHER OF TAMIR RICE: I`m outraged and furious. It`s unacceptable for the City of Cleveland.
SHARPTON: Unacceptable, and certainly, you`re outraged. And you`ve been a real shero, by you`ve stood up for your son, but you`ve also stood up for your son but also said you don`t want violence, you want to see justice.
Attorney Chandra, what can be done about this? I mean, is there a precedent for this? I thought there would be some legal ramifications. They`re not even job ramifications for this.
SUBODH CHANDRA, ATTORNEY OF THE RICE FAMILY: That`s correct, Reverend Sharpton. I mean, this slap on the wrist for the dispatcher is a slap on the face of Samaria rice and any person who tries to get justice for police misconduct.
It is outrageous, and yet, Ms. Rice and her family are left with no legal remedies. They weren`t involved in the process, they weren`t invited into the process, they weren`t even heard as part of the hearing by the safety director, the police chief, as to what should occur to Ms. Hollinger. She was completely excluded from the process, and that really is disgusting.
If this is how the system works in the City of Cleveland, and unfortunately, it apparently is, then the system is broken.
SHARPTON: Let me --
RICE: She was also --
SHARPTON: Go ahead, Samaria.
RICE: She was also just disciplined in 2016 for failing to report a 12- year-old -- the 12-year-old was sexually assaulted, and she failed to report that. She was rude and unprofessional. So, I`m not understanding how she`s still a dispatcher.
SHARPTON: So, she -- because I was going to go there. She was disciplined for not -- failing to report a sexual abuse of a youngster. Now you`ve got where someone called her and said -- called her as a dispatcher and said about your son, but also in the call said he is probably a kid and it`s a fake gun or it`s probably a fake gun.
She told police none of that. She just said person with a gun, and they only give her eight days suspension. So, you`re talking about somebody who has at least on two occasions caused real, real situations to happen, and for some reason, the police chief there won`t move? This is outrageous!
CHANDRA: In addition to that, though, Reverend Sharpton, you should know the context. On January 3rd, and on my blog at chandralaw.com, we have the letter there for January 3rd. I wrote the police chief, and we had very pointed questions about accountability that we wrote him. We had five questions, and we wanted responses.
We didn`t receive the courtesy of a response that we could pass along to the Rice family. We`ve received no communications. When they had a press conference announcing proposed discipline and disciplinary proceedings, they did a press conference on a Friday night without informing us in advance.
Now, I will say in fairness, we complained about that. We at least were notified at the same time they were releasing information publicly about the eight-day suspension, but there was no explanation of it, no discussion, no here`s why we had to do it, here`s how we`re limited. And at some point, it really starts to look like deliberate disrespect toward the Rice family.
SHARPTON: Samaria, if you are --
RICE: Too many secret meetings being held.
SHARPTON: If you were -- if the mayor, if the police chief, or the safety director`s watching you right now, what do you have to say to them?
CHANDRA: Well, go ahead, Samaria.
RICE: I would ask them to please fire Constance Hollinger along with Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garback for causing my son`s murder. And that`s just the end of it. Please fire them. They need to be fired. They`re a hazard to our community.
SHARPTON: I think that`s right to the point, and I want to emphasize again, Attorney Chandra, that this dispatcher, when she called the police, which is her job, to report that someone called in, she omitted that the person that called her said this was probably a kid and the gun is probably fake or could be fake. She just said guy with gun, and they went, and within seconds of them jumping out of the car -- on videotape we see -- they shot and killed Samaria`s son. I want people around the country that may have forgotten the details to --
CHANDRA: Reverend, it was actually immediately.
SHARPTON: -- remember what happened.
CHANDRA: And it was immediately, not even within seconds. It was immediately that they fired.
SHARPTON: On bad information. And still -- and they didn`t obey the rules and go by the book of what police should have done.
SHARPTON: I`m not excusing their behavior either.
Thank you, Subodh Chandra, and certainly my love and support for you as you continue to stand for justice for your son, Samaria Rice.
RICE: Thank you, Reverend Al Sharpton.
SHARPTON: Up next, my final thoughts on why President Trump`s budget cuts are a disaster for many in our country. Stay with us.
SHARPTON: As we have looked at President Trump`s proposed budget of discretionary money and saw where he will cut into things that are needed by people, such as the Meals on Wheels, but also the Environmental Protection Agency that is the difference between some toxic waste dumps in communities that are causing some very serious health effects for young people and seniors, such as cutting the ability for people to communicate with public broadcasting, and at the same time bolster things like building a wall in Mexico and hiring more border agents and giving more money to upgrade military equipment and military at the Pentagon, it shows not only the moral profile of this administration, but it shows the priorities that we`re headed into.
We must resist. We must stand up for our young people, our seniors, and we must not be afraid to march to the beat of a different drum when the parade is going wrong. That`s why I joined the world today in remembering Chuck Berry, who did march to the beat of a different drum in music. Had it not been for him and his guitar and his way of being a rebel that did not do what was normal or considered normal at that time, but he rocked and he rolled, and he rocked and he rolled until the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and others imitated him. And what looked like something outside and out of the norm became the new music all over the world. Don`t be afraid to stand up and resist.
That does it for me. Thanks for watching. And to keep the conversation going, like us at facebook.com/politicsnation. And follow us on Twitter @politicsnation. I`ll see you back here next Sunday.
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