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PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton: 4/30/2017

Guests: Judy Kurtz, Dana Milbank, Tegan Wendland, Sharlene Sinegal-Decuir



HASAN MINHAJ, COMEDIAN:  The leader of our country is not here.  And that`s because he lives in Moscow.  It is a very long flight.  It`d be hard for Vlad to make to make it.  Vlad can`t just make it on a Saturday.  It`s a Saturday.  As for the other guy, I think he`s in Pennsylvania because he can`t take a joke.


AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST:  Good morning and welcome to POLITICS NATION.

I am in Washington D.C.  Because last night, I attended the annual White House Correspondents` dinner, and of course as you know, the head of that White House was not there.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  And I could not possibly be more thrilled than to be more than 100 miles away from Washington swamp spending my evening with all of you and with a much, much larger crowd and much better people.


SHARPTON:  President Trump chose to celebrate his first 100 days in office by leading a rally in Pennsylvania.  Well, it`s safe to say we`ve never seen a first 100 days like we`ve seen from President Trump.

Later in the show two exclusive interviews.  One with famed director Spike Lee on the 25th anniversary of the Los Angeles riots, and also with former Attorney General Eric Holder.  I talked to both during the National Action Network convention which ended in New York yesterday.  Here`s a sample.


ERIC HOLDER, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL:  We need a central part of the Obama justice department protection of the right to vote.  I think you see the Trump justice department pulling back on that in ways that I think are unprincipled, unconscionable and inconsistent with the long conditions of the department and inconsistent what who we say we are as a nation.


SHARPTON:  So with civil rights on the line, on the 100th and one day of this administration, what can we expect as we look ahead to the rest of Donald Trump`s presidency?

With me now, Judy Kurtz, a columnist for The Hills.  She attended last night`s White House Correspondents` dinner.  Dana Milbank, political columnist for the Washington Post.  He attended the alternative event to the White House dinner hosted by Samantha Bee.  And Rick Tyler, and a republican strategist and MSNBC political analyst.

Let me ask you.  You went to the Correspondents` dinner as I did.  It was kind of different.  You didn`t have a lot of -- you certainly didn`t have the president.  You didn`t have a lot of a-listers that we see every year, and I have been going since George Bush was in office.

You never had a president do this, and do an alternative event in Pennsylvania where he kind of took the news.  What was your feeling sitting there last night?

JUDY KURTZ, COLUMNIST, THE HILLS:  Well, they call it nerd prom, and this year it was certainly heavy on the nerdiness, maybe a little too heavy on the nerdiness.  And pretty light on the prom part.  It`s like going to the prom when you`re in school and then the teacher grabs the mike at the dance and goes on and on about the importance of education.  I thought it was a little, with all due respect to you, reverend, a little too preachy in this journalism sermon that we had last night.

SHARPTON:  I also think, and you were at the alternative, Dana.  I also think that it`s unprecedented for a president --I mean, I really think people need to get this, for a president to not, not only go, but then go to Pennsylvania and just bash the press over and over again.  So here we`re sitting in Washington at the dinner that every president has gone to other than Ronald Reagan when he was recovering from being shot.

Every president`s gone to.  And he`s not only bashing the event, saying he`s very happy he`s 100 miles away.  The event is talking about preserving and standing by the first amendment, and he`s talking fake news, fake news, and naming out different news entities.

DANA MILBANK, POLITICAL COLUMNIST, WASHINGTON POST:  Well, I`ll tell you, Reverend.  In one way, I think about this is finally on his 100th day in office, he had an accomplishment that I think was a major accomplishment.  And that is deflating the White House correspondents` Association dinner.  Because it had become grotesque and journalists were sort of acting as pimps introducing the politicians to the powerful advertisers to the Hollywood set.  He really deflated not just by not coming himself by having his staff not come.

SHARPTON:  Nobody.

MILBANK:  I think it brought it back to what it should be.  It was just about journalism.  It was about raising money for high school journalists.  It was about giving awards.  It will be boring.  It won`t attract attention, if that`s what it is in the future.  But that will be the dinner it`s supposed to be.

Now, going out to Pennsylvania and blasting the media as he always does, that`s a different matter, but I think he did us all a favor by getting out of town.

SHARPTON:  Rick, you`re a republican strategist.  What does this do in terms of the politics going forward?  Because it seems like there is no attempt at trying to find some mid ground here.  He`s drawn the line in the sand again.  Many felt that he would do the event, deal with his 100 days, deal with his agenda, tax reform, health care, whatever it is he`s going to try to propose.  He just went totally, I`m going after the media, glad to be out of the swamp.  Are we ever going to see him realize the campaign is over?

RICK TYLER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  No.  I think this is what we`re going to get for the next four years.  And one of my criticisms of Donald Trump is that he did win.  He won with a base that he had assembled.  It wasn`t a traditional republican base.  And he hasn`t moved from them.  I think "The Washington Post" poll had confirmed that, that 96 percent of the people are still with Trump.  He hasn`t had great legislative achievements.  He has gotten some things done in terms of energy and job creation for regulation.  The base -- the republican base and the conservative base is very happy about the Supreme Court nomination.  But if --

SHARPTON:  Let me press you there.  Because Dana -- I want to go to you.  Because Dana`s written a very interesting piece about the first 100 days.  You`re saying for his base, he has delivered tangibles in the first 100 days?

TYLER:  Yeah.  Well, yes.  I mean, he has started up two pipelines.  Right?  He`s reversed a lot of regulation on energy and on climate change and on clean coal.  Right?  So those are things that his base likes.  On regulation toward business.  They like the tax proposal that he has introduced.  But he`s going to need legislative achievement to get that done.

The health care was a big failure.  So if I had to grade Donald Trump on his own assertions, I`d probably give him a failing grade.

SHARPTON:  On his own assertion.

TYLER:  Yeah.  But I think historically, he would actually do pretty well.  But it`s his own assertions and proclamations that get him into trouble.

SHARPTON:  Dana, so you raised your eyebrows when he said historically he thinks he`s done pretty well.

MILBANK:  Right.  Well, I don`t doubt that he believes he has done historically very well.  The best ever, and he thinks everybody else is telling him the same sort of thing.  I think what Rick is saying is in the regulatory area, he has made some serious progress.  Now, I would not be sure that`s exactly what sort of his populous followers are looking for.  That`s more of a chamber of commerce thing.

So I think that is an achievement.  It`s not necessarily what his core followers were looking for.  I think they`re probably happy because they see it appears he`s blowing up everything in Washington.  Really, he`s probably just making a bigger mess here than existed before, but they probably see, oh, this wailing and gnashing of teeth, and he said great, he`s making everybody angry, he must be doing something right.

SHARPTON:  Judy, but when you look at it, many of us that in different constituencies, those of us in different more progressive communities.  I`m in the civil right communities.  Others dealing with -- you had hundreds of thousands of people yesterday for climate change, on and on and on, women, immigration rights.  It`s been a disaster.

I mean, the deregulation that Rick talks about is something that many of us feel in some areas harmless.  And when you look at what Sessions is doing with the justice department around voting, around the question of police reform, these 100 days have been tangible.  Tangibly very devastating and leaning toward devastation of many things that progressives and even centrists believed in.

KURTZ:  Yeah.  I think the 100 day mark, it`s a ritual that the media largely plays up.

SHARPTON:  Well, Trump reinforced it.

KURTZ:  That`s right.  And President Trump has kind of played into it as well especially with his 100-day action plan that he released during the campaigns, so he`s certainly has played a role on it too.

But no one looks back at past presidents and says, gee, I wonder what they did on April 29th.  If he does get some of these big legislative victories through such as health care, I think that people are going to forget this 100-day mark.

SHARPTON:  Now, Rick, he`s got to get some legislation through.  You said that.

Now, how does he do that when even in the Republican Party, in the senate and the congress it seems that there is friction and that he can`t seem to even get his own party united around some of the things like health care and some of the things that he`s talked about doing?

TYLER:  One of the reasons the president has relied on his family as staff now is because the staff is not delivered on Capitol Hill.  He has sent people up and they have failed.  What a mystery to me is why Trump, Speaker Ryan, and leader McConnell don`t all sit in a room and have leader McConnell say, look, these are the five things I could get through the senate.  See if Paul Ryan can agree on any of those and put together some sort of agenda.

SHARPTON:  They have the majority of the senate.  They have the majority of the house.  Why is that not happening?

TYLER:  This, I think, is why the 100 days matters.  Because this was his chance when he had some political on capital, he had some momentum.  They just did couple of really major face plants.  Now you`re looking at approval in the high 30s, 40 percent.  Democrats are not afraid of this guy.  The Freedom Caucus, not afraid of this guy.  So the job becomes infinitely more difficult.  And you need to start racking up wins to get back on the track.

MILBANK:  On the 100-day mark, Ronald Raegan had 73 percent.  Barack Obama had 69 percent and when he says, I want to do this, with those approval ratings, congress will move.  When you`re at 40 percent, nobody`s moving.

SHARPTON:  Well, and July, because there seems to be at the polls, right?  No price to pay, you`re not going up against somebody with the public behind them, and he did win the presidency in the Electoral College.  He was almost three million votes behind Hillary Clinton.

KURTZ:  And that might be one of the -- that might be one of the reasons that he keeps reminding us of his big election victory.  He hasn`t had a lot of victories since Election Day, and he need some to be able to move legislation.

SHARPTON:  At what point, Dana, does the people, the 96 percent that the Washington Post poll said of Trump supporters that say they`re still there, we`re still with him, when does that erode?  When does the guy in Pennsylvania say wait a minute, I`m not getting my coal mining job back.  When does this start turning around?  Because it`s not happening.

MILBANK:  Right now, they`re seeing all the fireworks and the fireworks right next in Washington and say right, he`s shaking things up.  They don`t see what`s actually going on in terms of actually really putting more lobbyists in government with more influence over the industries they cover.

But what you said is correct.  It`s when they realize that nothing is changing in terms of manufacturing in the Rustbelt.  Nothing is changing in terms of coal in Appalachia.  We`re not going to wipe out ISIS in 60 days with no cost to the United States.  It`s going to take time.

Unfortunately, I think for this president, the people are going to start realizing that right around the time of next year`s midterms.

SHARPTON:  Any republicans -- everybody`s talking about who`s going to run in the democratic side.  Do you think a republican will give this president a primary if he`s there in 2020?

TYLER:  Quite possibly, yes.  It depends how bad it gets.  Look, if it gets to the point where we`re doing so much losing and we`re tired of losing, he`ll get a primary challenger.

SHARPTON:  From the right?

TYLER:  Yeah.

SHARPTON:  Or from the moderates?

TYLER:  I don`t know.

SHARPTON:  How about somebody that`s competent and makes sense?

TYLER:  Because sort of alienated both those sides.  A lot of conservatives like me are not always with him.  Right?  And a lot of moderates aren`t with him always.  But we got a long way to go.  But one of the things is if you look at employment, we have a lot of employment.  So it`s going to be wage increase.  And that`s going to be much tougher to get.  And he promised three percent plus GDP growth.  At that rate --

SHARPTON:  We saw only 0.7 percent growth.  But I`ve to go.  Thank you Judy Kurtz, Dana Milbank, and Rick Tyler.

Yeah, we do have a lot of employment thanks to Barack Obama. 

Later on this show, Spike Lee has a very unique nickname for the President Trump.

But coming up first, my exclusive interview with former attorney general Eric Holder.  I sat down with him at the National Action Network Convention in New York at a moment when so many of the gains we fought for are at risk.  We`ll be right back.  This is POLITICS NATION on MSNBC.



"Everything is at Stake" was the title of the National Action Network Convention that wrapped up yesterday after four amazing days in New York.  When everything from voting rights and police accountability to health care, worker`s rights and a woman`s right to choose are under attack.

We gathered the best and the brightest to figure out how to preserve the progress and ensure that we continue to move forward.  Especially now under a new administration that`s trying to turn the clock back on civil rights advances.

A key notable at the convention was former attorney general Eric Holder.  I sat down with him after his address.


SHARPTON:  Thanks again for doing this.  You spoke this week at the National Action Network`s convention very passionately about voting.  About the schemes to undermine voting and suggestion that a lot of what you fought for as attorney general in terms of protecting the vote, you seem to be disappointed that that`s not being followed up by your successor.

HOLDER:  No.  I think that`s exactly right.  We made a central part of the Obama justice department protection of the right to vote.  I think you see the Trump justice department pulling back on that in ways that I think are unprincipled, unconscionable and inconsistently with the long conditions of the department.  And inconsistency with who we say we are as a nation.

SHARPTON:  When you heard that Attorney General Sessions said he was not going to continue with the justice department participating as part of the Plano and the Texas border I.D. case, what was your reaction?

HOLDER:  Well, I was trying to give him the benefit of the doubt.  I think that was one of those first actions that made me understand we`re dealing with a fundamentally different justice department.  It means we would have to rely on organizations like the National Action Network NAACP legal defense fund to do the kinds of work that the justice department tried to do while I was attorney general.

That`s a very troubling thing.  That`s a very troubling thing.  To see the justice department pull back on something that is a core tenet of what this nation is all about.  This simple right to vote.  Every citizens, it`s not a privilege.  Not a privilege.  This is a right of every American citizen.

SHARPTON:  You`ve said you`re going to commit a lot of your time to touring the country, dealing with gerrymandering and voting rights.  How are you going to do that?

HOLDER:  I have been going all around the country.  I flew in from San Francisco the night before the National Action Network Convention trying to raise the consciousness of the American people trying to make them understand that the way which lines are drawn fully affects their ability to have their voices heard.

We have a system now where politicians are picking their voters instead of voters picking their representatives.  It`s something that Republican Party did pretty well after this census in 2010.  It`s the democrats have to do much better after the census in 2020.  But we`re starting right now with making sure that we elect people in the states that have the power to deal with the redistricting questions.  The governor in Virginia in 2017.  The governor in New Jersey in 2017 and then obviously the midterm elections in 2018.

SHARPTON:  Sunday morning, it will be the 101st day of the Trump administration.  How do you as one who worked for several administrations ultimately became attorney general?  How do you assess his first 100 days?

HOLDER:  Chaos.  Carnage on basic American rights.  No sense of direction.  I think that what was said during the campaign was proved to be true.  President Trump is a person I think who`s experientially and temperamentally not suited to be president.  And you have seen the chaos, and lack of accomplishment in these 100 days.  Things that gives me great pause, and I think it`s the basis for a renaissance of the Democratic Party.  And I think it also calls for activism by the American people to make sure that the basic things that we`ve always fought for, the progress that we have made is not turned back by this unaccomplished administration.

SHARPTON:  Thank you, Attorney General Holder.

HOLDER:  OK.  Always good to see you.


SHARPTON:  Attorney General Holder was one of many who participated in the four-day event.  Through panels and plenary sessions.  We discussed policing, mental health, the importance of media, women`s empowerment, reducing gun violence, corporate diversity, immigration, social activism and much, much more.

Here`s just a sample of this year`s convention.


SHARPTON:  No justice.


SHARPTON:  No justice.


SHARPTON:  No justice.


SHANE HARRIS, SAN DIEGO CHAPTER PRESIDENT:  Our theme this year is everything is at stake.  And I`m here because everything is at stake from police reform to voting rights to education.  And we need to be prepared for the fight.  I think in my generation, it`s easy to go out and march and rally, but there`s no preparation and strategy.  So we need to be prepared.  That`s why I`m here because I`m here to prepare myself.

ELIJAH COLES-BROWN, MIDDLE-SCHOOL MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER:  I am here today to support the cause of social justice.  We are here to honor the legacy of Dr. King and what he`s done for our community and what he`s done and we`re also here to honor everyone who has continued his work from beyond the graves like Reverend Al Sharpton.

IRA ROSEN, PRODUCER:  I know reverend Sharpton for a long time.  I did a profile on Reverend Sharpton on 60 Minutes with Lesley Stahl and we got to know each other little bit and we smoked cigars in the cigar club together and we trade stories with each other.  And I have the utmost respect for that man.  He`s a good guy.  He does a lot of really great work here.

TODD JOHNSON:  All of the conversations that we`re having are important.  I think they`re critical to have.  We have to talk about this administration.  We have to talk about what the Trump presidency means for minority communities.  We need to talk about what it means for future elections, midterm elections in 2018.  So all of the conversations that we`re having now at this convention are, I think are critical.  Now, seemingly more than ever, we just need to tell the truth.

KELI GOFF, JOURNALIST:  We have a lot more power than we sometimes remember that we do, and I wasn`t born rich.  I don`t have a trust fund.  I`m not a man.  The one place where I have totally an equal playing field with people who were born with more privilege than me is in the voting booth.  So people need to vote, not just in presidential and state and local and people need to run for office.  And if there`s a kid out there who sees this, I hope you`ll run for city council.  I hope you`ll run for state senate.  I hope you`ll run for president, but I also hope some of you will become judges.  Because we need a lot more women and people of color serving in the judiciary because that`s where a lot of our laws are determined.

COLES-BROWN:  In order to increase social justice on a national level, we first have to increase social justice on local level.  You have difference because you have to go out and vote.  You have to campaign.  Go door to door.  You can`t just do that just for the federal.  You can`t do that for just national election.  It starts at the local level.  Politics is at the local level.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I`m always supporting what Reverend Al Sharpton is doing bringing the people together and figuring out how we can just form actions to better our situation.  But more importantly, the woman`s empowerment luncheon is important.  Especially for my daughter --

TAYLOR:  My name is Taylor.  I`m nine years old.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It`s important to show her early women of power who look like her.  And so that`s one of the main reasons that we`re here, to make sure that my daughter at an early age sees and knows that she is powerful beyond belief.

HARRIS:  I got to have strategies to implement.  And so that`s why I`m here, to gain those strategies and implement them in local community.


SHARPTON:  And later in the show, director, producer, actor, and writer Spike Lee.  You`ll never guess what his nickname for President Trump is.

But up next, Alabama has passed an offensive bill that helps preserve confederate monuments.  Are you surprised?  I`m not.  That`s next.


SHARPTON:  I want to tell you something about Alabama.  I love that state.  It symbolizes the tenacity and determination of the civil rights movement.  It`s a state where I often go to and have my fights for the poor and the needy.  It`s the state where I buried my mother.  The problem with Alabama?  It seems to be taking one step forward toward progress but then two steps backward.

This week Alabama lawmakers passed a bill that makes it almost impossible to remove monuments and historically significant structures from public property. Yeah.  All those confederate monuments spread across the state that offend so many people.  You can`t get rid of them.

Critics see this bill as an offensive effort to preserve monuments with links to the confederacy and slavery.  Supporters, on the other hand, say they just want to maintain the history of the state.  But that history includes racial oppression and buying and selling people like property.  And while we cannot run from our past, we should not celebrate hate and division.  Confederate monuments should be housed in a museum, not on public spaces.

So to the person who wrote the bill, republican congressman Mack Butler, I say if you want to be reminded every day of the atrocities committed by Americans against other Americans, go to a museum, because the removal of these monuments is not about erasing history.  It`s about understanding our history.  And addressing the injustices of the past.

And when we come back, one city that decided to remove confederate monuments from the streets.


SHARPTON:  This week, the mayor of New Orleans, Mitch Landrieu took the bold and necessary step to write a historical wrong.  When he ordered the city to begin the removal of the first of four monuments dedicated to the, quote, lost cause of the confederacy.  The champions of white supremacy.

According to the mayor`s office his actions have been met with death threats and intimidation.  Should other southern leaders follow soon?  And are they prepared to fight Jeff Sessions and his justice department in case they intervene?

Joining me now is Tegan Wendland, radio reporter of WWNO in New Orleans.  And Sharlene Sinegal-Decuir, an assistant professor of history at Xavier university of Louisiana.

Let me start with you, Tegan.  The fact that Mayor Landrieu did this and received threats, in fact, I understand that he had some kind of challenge in even getting contractors that would take the contract to remove these objects.  It shows there is really a lot of support for maintaining this celebration of white supremacy and confederacy. 

TEGAN WENDLAND, RADION REPORTER, WWNO:  There`s a lot of support for the monuments themselves.  People see these as relics of history.  They`ve been gathering at the remaining three monuments over the past week to show their support for them.  And particular the monuments of confederate Jefferson Davis.  There were about 30 supporters there again last night.  Waving confederate flags and there were about 30 folks who were there in support of the monuments being removed.  And they were sort of facing off with each other for some time.  It got a little tense.  But it was interesting to see them engage in conversations about this topic.

And I heard from the supporters of the monuments that these are kind of -- they see them as part of their personal history.  A lot of these folks drove past these statues every day on their way to school as kids, and they talked about their personal connection to the civil war with their parents around the dinner table when they were growing up.  So it`s not just about collective history but personal history for some.

SHARPTON:  But that personal history, Sharlene, is personal to those who were the heirs of slaves.  You can`t act like the civil war was not about slavery.  You cannot act like the confederacy was not about returning blacks to being property.  So they talk about their personal story like the personal stories of blacks don`t matter.

WENDLAND:  Are you addressing, Sharlene?

SHARPTON:  Sharlene, I`m talking to, yes.


SHARLENE SINEGAL-DECUIR, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, XAVIER UNIVERSITY OF LOUISIANA:  Yes.  Exactly.  And that is absolutely not the case.  It`s history.  It belongs in museums.  And the thing is, frankly, Reverend Al Sharpton, for many years we as African-Americans, African-American community, we`ve been asked to get over things, to move past history.  And if we think about it, it`s been 152 years since the passage of the 13th amendment that freed slaves on American soil. 

From that time, we have been asked to move past it.  We`ve been asked to move past 246 years of enslavement on North American soil.  We`ve been asked to move past several things from the early 1900s through 2017.  We`ve been asked to move past lynchings.  We`ve been asked to move past disfranchisement, police brutality, all those things, and to an extent we have, but we have not forgotten history, and we`re not asking these confederate extremists to forget about history.  We`re only asking that they move on like we have been asked to do for so many years.

SHARPTON:  But let me ask you this, Tegan.  As you say they start talking to one another, do you get a sense that some are that are supporters of the confederate and the other symbols that remain, do they even understand how offensive that is?

I mean, we would not have Nazi monuments up in this country.  We would not allow that in other areas.  And you are talking about public property that the taxpayers in New Orleans mostly whom are black, are paying for.  I mean, don`t they even understand that people in the public have a right to say I don`t want my tax dollars celebrating making me and making my forefathers property?

WENDLAND:  Sure.  I think there`s a wide range of historical knowledge represented in the folks who show up to support these monuments.  And I think largely for them it`s not about race, and they`ve been careful to keep that out of the conversation in most cases.  But they feel like they wanted a voice that should have been up for a public vote.  We vote on taxes and water fees here.  They feel that we should have had a public vote on these monument removals rather than city council having voted to have them removed.

SHARPTON:  Let me ask you, Sharlene.  I`m out of time but -- out of town.  But can you have these discussions without talking about race?  She said they don`t bring up race.  How do you talk about the confederacy?  How do you talk about the civil war when I`m talking about race?

SINEGAL-DECUIR:  It`s definitely something that you cannot put out of this discussion.  Because the civil was fought because of the institution of slavery.  It will fought because of race.  So that is definitely something that cannot be left out.  I mean, these monuments promote division, hate, and racial strike.  This is something that America does not stand for.  I mean, in the words of the 45 president, he`s trying to make America great again.  So guess what, let`s make America great again and take down these monuments and promote diversity and acceptance and inclusions.

SHARPTON:  Thank you, Tegan Wendland and Sharlene Sinegal-Decuir.

Up next, he`s outspoken, sometimes provocative.  But always doing the right thing, director and writer, Spike Lee will tell us what he things of the first 100 days of President "Agent Orange."  His words not mine.  We`ll be right back.


SHARPTON:  During this week`s National Action Network Convention, I had the honor to meet wonderful, talented, and passionate delegates, speakers and activists.  One of them was none other than producer and actor Spike Lee.  Spike came to talk on a panel on how to deal with gun crime in our community.  But when I sat down with him, we talked about much more, and specifically about someone he calls "Agent Orange."


SPIKE LEE, FILM DIRECTOR:  How are you doing, sir?

SHARPTON:  I`m good.  Thank you for being here at National Action Network.  You`ve been around us from the beginning.

LEE:  Back in the day.

SHARPTON:  That`s right.  What do you think is the challenge of civil rights organizations like National Action Network and NAACP today?

LEE:  Number one, it would be less than intelligent to tell you what you should be doing because you`re been on the forefront -- I mean, there was a time where you were not the most popular man.

SHARPTON:  I heard.

LEE:  Since last night`s other thing, what they did to Ali?  At the end, they forgot it one time he was the most despised person.  The narratives get changed.  But right now I think it`s a very important time for any organization.  It`s about humanity, about being progressive.  Agent Orange has nuclear code.  It`s scary.  There`s this whole method about the football.  The football is real.  It`s real.  President Obama`s first term, my wife and I, Tonya, we gave a benefit at our house.  Packed.  Everybody is there.  I go outside because I`m going to get out of here.  I`m going outside, and there`s a car in front of my house.  East 63rd Street.

Two weeks before, they started going on the roof.  You couldn`t get around the block.  Insane.  I go outside.  In front of my townhouse, and I see this thing.  And this guy is sitting next to it, like a briefcase.  I look to him.  He looked at me, and then he nodded.  I had nightmares that night.

SHARPTON:  Really?

LEE:  Yes.  Because certain numbers boom, boom, boom, boom.

SHARPTON:  So he`s sitting there with it because the president is there?

LEE:  The president has to be 100 feet.  He can`t go anywhere without that thing, the football being next to him.

SHARPTON:  So you`re fear is now the other guy has the football?

LEE:  You got the crazy guy in North Korea, the crazy guy in Russia, Agent Orange in the white house.  We`re on the brink.

SHARPTON:  And for our viewers that don`t know, Agent Orange is President Trump?  Would you say that?

LEE:  I don`t want to say his name, but that`s the guy.

SHARPTON:  I want my viewers to be on the same rhythm.

LEE:  Yes.  That`s Agent Orange.

SHARPTON:  Let me ask you about Agent Orange, as you call him.  His 101st day of his presidency.  How do you asses?

LEE:  Disaster.  Because, for me, from Brooklyn, this is some -- he sold a bill of goods, and the -- it was a Three-Card Monte.  I`m going to do this, do this, do this, and then I`m not doing that.  I`m doing this.  The same thing that people thought they`re going to get when they elect you in office, it`s a total switch.  And I`m talking about the people who voted for him.  So we are in a very, very strange time.  And it`s sad.

SHARPTON:  We got to do -- we got to protect the things we fought for.

LEE:  We don`t want to roll back the clock.

SHARPTON:  That`s right.

LEE:  Jeff sessions, let`s not go in his closet, because you might see something that`s white way back in the closet.  This guy is attorney general?  And we just -- I just came from a panel about guns, and the police.


LEE:  Do you think the stuff that Eric Holder did in the department of justice in Ferguson unless the police departments that Jeff Sessions is going to do that?

SHARPTON:  No.  He said he`s not.

LEE:  He said it himself.  And then they try to take back the stuff that`s been in place already.

SHARPTON:  Yeah.  That`s why we`re here.  I have to ask you about this.  25 years after L.A., you`ve done something around Rodney King.  Tell us about it.

LEE:  Well, it`s a one-man play by a brilliant actor, Roger Guenveur Smith.  He`s done a lot of research, and he made -- wrote, a one-man play that is phenomenal.  It`s coming on Netflix.  And also I`d like to say there`s many different things.  Right now, the 10th anniversary.  There`s documentaries left and right, and I think the more, the better.  But what we did is different.  It`s not a documentary.  It`s not a narrative.  It`s Roger Smith one man on a stage giving a whole history of who Rodney King was.  Because a lot of people don`t know who he was.  He got beat up and along.  That`s it.  But he has a whole life.

SHARPTON:  That`s right.

LEE:  And that`s what Roger`s piece gets to.  It informs us who this individual was.

SHARPTON:  And it`s coming on Netflix next week.

LEE:  Yes, this week.

SHARPTON:  OK.  Well, thank you, spike.

LEE:  Anytime.  Is Brooklyn in the house?

SHARPTON:  We here.  We here.  Brooklyn, do or die.


SHARPTON:  Up next, for my final thoughts.  The line that connects the National Action Network.  President Trump`s first 100 days in office and the 25th anniversary of the Los Angeles riots.  Stay with us.


SHARPTON:  As I sat and watched the thousands come to the National Action Network Convention this week, largest turnout in our 26-year history.  I looked among them, at the families, the victims of police brutality, racial violence, job discrimination, many who have gone from being on the headlines but we are still committed to standing for them.  And representing permanent solutions to them and to what they were victimized by.

And I thought about how just last month I and several other leaders of national civil rights groups met with Attorney General Jeff Sessions who in the first 100 days of President Trump has made it clear that he is going to review police reform.  He is not going to go forward with the progressive steps that President Obama made and Attorney Generals Eric Holder and his successor, Mrs. Lynch, Loretta Lynch had made in terms of policing.  He`s not going fight about discrimination.  He`s even withdrawn on voting rights.

These first 100 days have been a disaster for those that believe in voting rights and civil rights.  It is sent every tangible signal that we`re going to turn the page back.

And as I look at those victims, Mrs. Diallo, Amadou Diallo`s mother, killed in `99, Shawn Belle`s mother and father.  People who are no longer in the headlines but we were then and we would them now.  I thought about Rodney King.  I thought about 25 years ago.  I thought about how when a jury in Simi Valley acquitted police that were on tape beating him over and over again, and I remembered that many of us went to L.A.  There were riots.  There were violence.  We don`t condone violence in any circumstances, but I remember the apostle of nonviolence himself, Dr. Martin Luther King said violence, these riots are the voice of the unheard trying to be heard.

People explode when they don`t feel they aren`t being heard.  When people like those of us that raise it nonviolently are attacked.  You tell people, well, if that doesn`t work, we have nothing to do but explode.  But exploding doesn`t solve the problem.  It won`t help and didn`t help those victims that we look at.  We kept going and we got the Rodney King case in federal court.  We have to keep going now.  100 days of action must follow 100 days of disaster.

That does it for me.  Thanks for watching.  To keep the conversation going, like us on  Follow us on Twitter @politicsnation.  I`ll see you back here next Sunday.