Show: POLITICS NATION Date: June 18, 2017 Guest: Nicholas Burns, Yamiche Alcindor, Max Boot, Scott Stringer
AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Good morning, and welcome to "PoliticsNation."
On Friday, a jury has acquitted a Minnesota police officer in the shooting of Philando Castile. Once again, raising the national debate over police conduct toward black people. I will address this painful issue later in the show.
But we start today with a White House under investigation. This week, one thing stood out. For the first time since the Trump-Russia probe got under way, President Trump himself acknowledged that he is under investigation for possible obstruction of justice.
And after James Comey took center stage last week, now the president directed his anger at Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. And at Special Counsel Robert Mueller. We also know now that Vice President Mike Pence has hired a lawyer to help him handle Russia-related questions.
Let`s put things in order with my panel. Joining me now is Ambassador Nicholas Burns. He`s a former undersecretary of state for political affairs. He is now a professor at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Max Boot, a senior fellow for National Security Studies at the Council of Foreign Relations. He is a former adviser for Mitt Romney`s 2012 campaign. And "New York Times" reporter and MSNBC contributor Yamiche Alcindor.
Let me start with you, Yamiche. We finally get the president admitting he is under investigation. We went for a long period of time with statements and charges and rumors back and forward. And he kept really emphasizing, I`ve been told I`m not under investigation. Now, it switches this week. He admits or concedes he`s under investigation and then goes right after the investigators, saying it`s a witch hunt.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR, REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, to me, it`s a remarkable moment because now we have the president saying without -- with no questions that he is now under investigation. And that`s really important because he fired James Comey for the main point that he wanted to until somebody get rid of this quote/unquote Russia thing. As he told Lester Holt.
So this idea that he now feels as though he`s going to be under attack and his presidency is going to be questioned. And the fact he made the statement, he finally acknowledged that he was under investigation while then also attacking essentially the deputy attorney general is really significant because at first, he was using the deputy attorney general to justify this firing of James Comey, trying to say that this is the reason why I did it. And then he quickly couldn`t stick to that story and change so we now see somebody who I think is unraveling when it comes to his presidency and really sealing backed into a corner. And we know when the president is backed into a corner, that`s when he gets the most emotional, that`s when gets most reckless, that`s what he tweets the most, and this is really a problem for his legal team and aides in the White House.
SHARPTON: Max, talking about tweeting. The president tweeted this morning. He goes through a series of tweets. The new poll he talks about, but then he goes through, you know, his whole about what he`s got done and signs. But then at the last tweet, he says the make America great again agenda is doing very well despite the distraction of the witch hunt. Many new jobs, high business enthusiasm. So it`s now gone from fake news to the witch hunt is how we`re talking about all of these things.
MAX BOOT, SENIOR FELLOW, NATIONAL SECURITY STUDIES AT THE COUNCIL OF FOREIGN RELATIONS: I mean, President Trump has clearly been in a major meltdown the last several days. I mean, if you just see the number of tweets on Thursday and Friday and now continuing on to Sunday morning where he`s not tweeting about Father`s Day. He`s tweeting about his legal problems and clearly he is feeling the heat.
And I think for good reason because he`s got this team of Bob Mueller and the investigators that he is assembling, these guys are new untouchables. They are beyond Trump`s influence. He`s used to pressuring people and telling them what to do, and Mueller is somebody who`s impervious to that, which is why you can see Trump is sweating. He`s really worried about what Mueller is going to come up with.
SHARPTON: The new untouchables, quite a way referring to them. Ambassador Burns, I think that often what is lost in this is the seriousness and the gravity of what we`re talking about. We`re talking about a foreign power, one that has historically been adversarial to this country being able to interfere or influence a national election, which is the basis of what the country was supposed to be established for in the first place. With all the back and forth, this is as serious as it can get in a democracy.
NICHOLAS BURNS, PROFESSOR, HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL OF GOVERNMENT: That`s exactly right. The real scandal here is that Russia assaulted our democracy. What Russia did in interfering in a massive way in our democratic elections in 2016, it might be the most significant intervention by a foreign power in the history of the country in an election.
SHARPTON: That`s a big deal. That`s a big deal.
BURNS: It`s historic and it`s ominous and it`s dangerous. And as "The New York Times" said yesterday, all throughout this crisis, the president`s been asking one question. How does this affect me? How does it affect my poll numbers? How does it affect my personal standing? He has not been asking, he never asked Director Comey about the Russia intervention, what we should do about it. The first job of any president is to protect this country. He should be mounting the defenses. He should be warning Russia. He should be encouraging sanctions on Russia. It took the senate this week in a 98-2 vote to impose sanctions on Russia because President Trump refuses to. I think this is the core of it, and we`ve got to keep focus on this aspect of the issue. His dereliction of duty.
SHARPTON: Yamiche, isn`t it astounding that the president of the United States in six to eight conversations are with the FBI director and other reported conversations that no one has said that he has expressed even a passing concern about whether there`s evidence of whether or not the elections were hacked or influenced? I mean, isn`t it astounding for the head of the free world not to question whether in fact it was the free world was tainted with in terms of an election in the United States, and is it also noteworthy that the congress which he has a majority, his party does, anyway, would tighten up the sanctions in face of this would clearly the White House expressing some amount of displeasure with that?
ALCINDOR: I think it`s very noteworthy, and I think it`s very noteworthy because there`s really been a cloud of Russia over this campaign, over this candidacy, and this presidency since he took office. And this idea that while it`s multiple intelligence agencies were clearly saying that Russia is to blame for meddling in our elections, we still have our president who has wavered on this idea, who has said, well, maybe it`s not Russia. Maybe it was someone else, maybe it was shadow people. And then you have Vladimir Putin who essentially said maybe it wasn`t Russia, but if it was Russia, it was very patriotic of them to meddle in this election.
So you really have a clear evidence that Russia was involved in our elections. And the fact he`s really worried about his personal dealings with Russia and he`s really worried about his associations how they might be handled and whether or not they should get off on this Russia investigation, that`s really noteworthy.
But I should also say when you talked about that idea of him tweeting to make America great again, as a reporter will also covers policy, so of course I cover politics, but the other great thing that politicians are supposed to do is pass laws like the health care bill, like infrastructure, like all these other bills that the president promised his base and promised really the American people, all these different things that he was going to do and really, none of that is happening. You have a congress that is somewhat in standstill because they`re all shocked and enveloped by all this Russian investigation stuff. So you also have a presidency that is really not effective at all and a republican party that have so much power and it`s not using it to do anything.
SHARPTON: Max, is that not the point? Even if he`s playing to his base with rhetoric, make America great and fake news and witch hunt, the fact is that he promised in the first 100 days to deal with things like health care, like tax reform, like jobs. And it hasn`t happened. No major piece of legislation has gone through at all. And he`s saying these -- he`s signing executive orders like someone doing their homework for class the next morning, but they really have no substantive value, and it`s not really moving the dial for his own base supporters who sooner or later are going to have to deal with has my life changed the way he promised me it would.
BOOT: And you`re seeing that reflected in the poll numbers. You`re seeing his support among the republican base going down. There is a poll that came out this week showing that 25 percent of republicans are unhappy with the job that he is doing. Now, if that continues and that intensifies, that is a major threat to Trump because all along, he has relied on a base strategy. He is not a guy who reaches out to democrats or independents. He won by mobilizing the base and I would say by mobilizing the worst instincts the republican base last year, and he is basically felt safe despite the fact that he has lost all standing with the country at large, 35 percent approval rating in general, but he`s felt safe to continue the path that he`s on because he`s had the support of the republican base.
But if he loses that, you know, watch out because there`s no love lost for this guy among the republicans on Capitol Hill. If they think that it`s their self-interest is going to lie in turning against Trump rather than standing with Trump, they will turn against him in a second.
SHARPTON: Ambassador Burns, you deal from a global perspective as well as domestic. How do we look to the world when we`re in the middle of the president back and forth under investigation, not under investigation, all of his key players, and we look as though at least from a White House point of view, we`re not even concerned if the democratic process has been tainted and interfered with?
BURNS: Well, it pains me to say this, but we look weak to the rest of the world, and not very reliable. You know, the Russians have interfered in the Dutch elections in March, in the French elections in April/May and they`re now trying to interfere in the German elections coming up in September. And what the European leaders want, they want some support from the United States, and our presidents republican and democratic have been always been seen to be leaders of the west, leaders of the European and the North American democracies. That`s not the way that the European leaders see Donald Trump.
You remember, Reverend Sharpton, he went to Brussels, failed to reaffirm our commitment to NATO. He`s denigrated the European Union. He`s not been what Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama were, leaders of this community, because he doesn`t espouse the same concern for democracy and for human rights. He doesn`t talk about those values. It`s a sad day for America when our president is seen in this light.
SHARPTON: Yes, thank you so much, Ambassador Nicholas Burns. Max Boot, and Yamiche Alcindor.
Coming up, Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants more private jails. And I`ve got a problem with that.
And later, I do not personally consume marijuana, but that`s not going to stop me from calling for more black representation in the white dominated weed industry. This is "PoliticsNation" on MSNBC.
SHARPTON: Earlier this month, the city of New York announced that it would divest nearly $50 million of investment in city pension funds from private prisons. To break it down, the nation`s largest city will not support its retirees with investment returns from private prisons. The Obama administration was trying to phase out due to widespread issues.
The move comes As Attorney General Jeff Sessions in his beefed up war on crime and increased detention of illegal immigrants has called for increased use of private facilities. The bulk of which are operated by just two companies that vigorously supported Sessions` boss.
Joining me now is Scott Stringer, the New York City controller who previously served as the Borough president of Manhattan. Thank you, Comptroller Stringer.
Let me ask you a question. By divesting of this, you, of course, are giving these retirees and others whose pension funds you handle notice that they will not be making money there, which is one of your responsibilities, but it also says that you are not going to have their money invested in something that is unfair and has some record of some serious issues, so much so the Obama administration said that we`re no longer going to use them in terms of the federal government.
SCOTT STRINGER, NEW YORK CITY COMPTROLLER: So we came to two conclusions. Investing in private prisons is morally bankrupt, but it`s also financially risky. And we have taken the position that this divestment does not in any way hurt or fiduciary responsibility as investors for our retirees.
SHARPTON: So they`re not losing anything.
STRINGER: They`re just fine.
STRINGER: But equally important, we are sending a message in this country that private prisons should be repudiated because people are making money off mass incarceration. These prisons are dangerous. In California, three deaths in three months. When you look at the fact that 65 percent of I.CE. detainees are being put in private prisons, little medical care, people in solitary for nonviolent crimes committed. We are seeing mass incarceration in its new form, which is the ability for speculators to buy these prisons, operate them for a profit, and then create a pipeline of young people, mostly black and brown kids, into the correctional institution because now it`s about big money. It`s not about reducing crime. It`s not about keeping people safe. Private prisons should be -- should not be part of the United States --
SHARPTON: I mean, it is almost unthinkable that people are actually making huge amounts of money off just locking people up. Not lock them up for crimes, not lock them up because we`re protecting society. But I can make money. And it`s almost like a hotel, I don`t need vacancies because it cuts into my profit. So low-level nonviolent offenders, all of that, fills my occupancy requirements to make money. I mean, that is as immoral as you can get.
STRINGER: And look, we saw this in New York State, right? Twenty years ago when I was in the assembly when we were arguing that these legislators in Upstate New York, they wanted a prison not to reduce crime. They wanted to create a prison and build the economy around a prison. We saw how that flopped in our state.
Now, this is a new form of profit. Mass incarceration equals private prisons. Get more I.C.E detainees into the system, and then money is going to be made.
But here`s what the pension system said around the world. We believe it`s a risky business. Because when you have reputational harm and you have people overcrowded in these prisons, these are not going to turn out as good investments because prison expansion wasn`t a good investment for our state 20 years ago. So we`ve seen this before. But now, Trump and the republicans think this is going to be a for-profit making institution. We in the pension fund, the fourth largest in America, 14th largest in the world, we`ve put our marker down and said this is financially risky, this is not the right thing to do, so we`re out of here.
SHARPTON: Do you hope what you`ve done being in New York sends a signal that could be copied or, in many ways, emulated by others, city controllers, even state controllers, however the authority may lie to make these decisions around the country?
STRINGER: Well, look, with the republicans in charge and Trump ruining the country, it has been up to state attorney generals, treasurers, and controllers to play a role in making sure this country is protected. So I have every evidence that the working relationship I have with California and controllers in New York State and around the country, we`ve worked on our board room accountability plan to diversity corporate boards in this country. You know of that work. And we`re now going to work together because the controllers and treasurers can protect their retirement security for their members and at the same time reject this very flawed way of mass incarceration.
SHARPTON: Yes. I`m glad you alluded to that because one of the things that is so troubling to me, obviously from a civil rights background, is that the administration that`s saying we`re going to use these privatized prisons, we`re going to do what we`ve got to do with the fact that, yes, they`re making money, but we`re going back in there despite what the Obama administration did. At the same time, we`re getting tougher on crime. Even the weekend of Philando Castile, which I will address. He writes a "Washington Post" piece, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, he personally writes one, tough on crime. But then they also want to not deal with public education, not deal with programs that would put young people on the right track.
So it`s almost like the prison pipeline they`re building. What are we doing to the future of the country? And then you have in the financial industry where they tell people, you can make money, lift yourself by your bootstraps, the exclusion of blacks even managing pension funds in cities where blacks and Latinos are majority or large part of the retirees or the taxpayers. And you`ve worked with a lot of the groups like National Urban League, National Action Network to kind of break through that. We can`t manage our money, invest our money, I`m talking about money that comes from our retirees and have education and they`re building more prisons. I mean, it is absolutely horrendous.
STRINGER: So we`re sending a strong message. This is the first public pension fund in the United States to divest from private prisons. Now, we should call for investment in schools and day care centers. It`s Father`s Day today. Let`s invest in parents and give them the resources to keep kids away from the incarceration mob that wants to make money off the backs of their children.
In terms of corporate board diversity, we do have corporate boards that are -- they look like me, better suits. They`re not reflective of the country, and now we have to make sure that every child, women, African-American, Latino, kids who get the best education they get to these corporate companies, they get stuck on the eighth floor. We`ve to get them to the C- suite and the corporate boards and that`s how you change America. And you`ve been a leader in that.
SHARPTON: Thank you, Scott Stringer. Happy Father`s Day to you.
Later in the show, thousands of protesters gathered Friday night after jury found a police officer not guilty in last year`s fatal shooting. A motorist, Philando Castile. I have lot to say about that.
Up next, Donald Trump`s former Virginia campaign chairman has tried to copy the playbook that worked for Trump. It didn`t work for him, for a very specific reason. That`s coming up. Don`t go away.
SHARPTON: And now for this week`s gotcha. A real lost cause edition. On Tuesday, Virginia republican primary voters tapped Ed Gillespie for governor, giving him a narrow win over rival Cory Stewart. Stewart was fired from his position as Virginia state chair of Donald Trump`s presidential campaign, while protesting against the republican national committee. Warning them not to drop then-candidate Trump after the Access Holly Wood controversy. A controversy Stewart wrote off by saying Trump, quote, acted like a frat boy, as a lot of guys do.
Like his hero, Stewart also ran a campaign of macho name calling, labeling his opponent as Gilliespie cuckservative and former President Clinton a rapist, all in the same town hall, but if there`s one thing that really mattered to the Minnesota-born Stewart, near the end of his campaign, it was the confederacy.
And in April, as several southern cities prepped to remove statues of confederate leaders, he tweeted, quote, nothing is worse than a Yankee telling a southerner that his monuments don`t matter. Alien invasions, climate change, heck, paper cuts. Nope, nothing could be worse than monuments to racist traitors being removed from public spaces. He followed up, tweeting that statues of presidents, quote, Washington and Jefferson, are next if we don`t stop this madness.
Guess he thought that was too subtle because he spelled it out a day later, adding politicians who are for destroying the statues, monuments and other artifacts of history, are just like ISIS. ISIS? A group of violent terrorists using, among other things, religion as a cover for the brutalization of millions. You mean, like the confederacy? Mr. Stewart, I tried not to kick people when they`re down, but wow. The Trump era has redefined what`s acceptable in our politics. Virginia republicans, this week, could be bought with bigoted macho nostalgia, and I wouldn`t worry about a statue of your own any time soon. Looks like even the south is done building them for losers. So on behalf of progress and public spaces, I gotcha.
AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Is done building them for losers. So on behalf of progress and public spaces, I gotcha.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: I come today to say that we must decriminalize what they`re doing in this industry. I don`t smoke weed. But those that have the medical need, need to be able to fulfill that, and we are tired of seeing young people disproportionately black and Latino, go to jail for weed in small amounts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: on Friday, I was the keynote speaker at the Cannabis World Congress and Business Expo. Reaffirming my stance that the explosive growth of the legal marijuana industry should not bypass minority communities. The legal weed business made more than $4 billion last year. Eclipsing Viagra, tequila, and Girl Scout cookies in sales. Yet, only about one percent, one percent of the nearly 3,600 dispensaries in the country are black-owned, according to reporting by BuzzFeed. I want to emphasize that as a minister, part from an occasional cigar, I`m a nonsmoker, but I`m more interested in justice than judgment.
And earlier this week, we learned that Attorney General Jeff Sessions now wants to prosecute medical marijuana dispensaries in states where it has been legalized. This at the same time he wants to reinstate mandatory minimums for nonviolent drug offenders, harkening back to a pre-Obama drug war that decimated black and Latino communities.
So whether it`s pot shops or prison sentences, people of color have to be a part of the conversation about marijuana`s future instead of just targets of the drug war`s past and present.
Joining me now is Wanda James, a former consultant to President Barack Obama and the first African-American woman to own a legal marijuana dispensary.
Wanda, let me begin by going to one of the issues that really got me involved, because I`m not a weed smoker, not in that at all. Don`t preach it, but I think that people should not be incarcerated for an inordinate amount of time for nonviolent marijuana use. And President Obama talked about it on this show at the end of his presidency, how he had commuted more nonviolent drug related offenders than the last 11 presidents combined.
I mean, I think people need to understand that when we talk about decriminalization, people were doing 10, 15, 20 years for this kind of stuff. Disproportionately in black and Latino communities.
WANDA JAMES, FORMER CONSULTANT TO PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Hey, Reverend Al. How you doing? This is a real issue. My brother did 10 years in the prison system for 4 1/2 ounces of cannabis, which was more or less cannabis than we see on college campuses. Which is a tremendous al lot less amount of cannabis than we sell in our dispensary on any given day or any given hour for that matter.
And this is the crazy thing that we look at. Your ZIP code in America will determine whether you are a millionaire or a felon based on cannabis and cannabis sales. The arrest of black and brown people is one of the most, because of cannabis, is the most racist law in American history. And it`s time that we start to look at what the issues have been, how bad it`s messed up our neighborhoods, what it`s doing to our communities, while at the same time, there are a number of white entrepreneurs that are making billions and billions of dollars and are on the cover of "Forbes" Magazine. What sense does that make?
SHARPTON: And part of what I said to the congress is on one side, we get locked up. Those that smoke weed at a disproportionate number. And then now that the industry is legal in 23 states, we get locked out of going into the business side. So either side, we`re dealing with racism, and we`ve got to confront it. You`ve been able to be one of the few to really break through that wall. But we`re talking about an industry that now is making billions. They project going toward $30 billion, and there are those that have medical use. We`re not just talking about people using it to get high and have fun recreational drugs, but have medical use here from using dispensaries like yours.
JAMES: There`s tremendous medical use. We`ve been taking care of babies, people with epilepsy, people with cancer. And I hear you on that, but let me also bring up the fact too, Al, we`ve got to change how we look at cannabis. Because our communities now also stop many young people, enterprising young people from wanting to join the industry and be a part of this because of the negativity that we look down on this for.
And look, whether you use it for medicinal purposes or even if you choose a safer way to recreate, to have recreation, cannabis is 100 times more safer than alcohol. You can`t die from cannabis. You can`t overdose on cannabis, and cannabis as a plant is not addictive in the same ways that alcohol is.
There are so many different avenues that we need to discuss this in our community and better understand this. Because if we don`t get a handle on this, we will continue to be at the mercy of crooked law enforcement and racist laws.
For example, this morning, we have all been talking about Philando Castile. Another horrible situation in American history. And what`s the first thing the police came out and said about him? Oh, there was cannabis in his system.
SHARPTON: Oh, yes, that`s what they said.
JAMES: Michael Brown, cannabis in his system. Sandra --
JAMES: Sandra Bland, cannabis in her system. Trayvon Martin, cannabis in his system. It becomes a part to make us criminals, to make us come off as if we`re not in control of our lives when the white population smokes just as much.
SHARPTON: The other part of that which I think people don`t understand, you have cities including New York where they can deny you an apartment in public housing if you have been arrested for smoking weed. You`re blocked from getting certain jobs. You`re blocked from getting certain banking. I mean, just if you were busted 10, 12 years ago for smoking weed, you literally can become one who can`t use public housing, can`t go to certain school for smoking a joint. And you`ve got people that have fleeced millions of dollars, harmed people, who don`t have those kind of barriers.
JAMES: And this is what we have got to start to fight. We have got to change our perspective on this plant. And then we`ve got to go with this and stop the institutional racism that is used against us because of cannabis. It is a tremendously large issue. And the fact that the Trump administration and Sessions are now fighting to reverse medicinal marijuana. Have you seen the babies we`ve been helping? This is nothing but straight out unadulterated racism at its finest. To be able to lock people up for simply having a plant in their position is the most ridiculous law that we will ever see in this country. And it must end. And it must end immediately.
SHARPTON: Well, thank you, Wanda James. And that`s why I`m standing up on this really not a lot of us in the civil rights community yet, but I hope there`ll be more. I`m taking some flack for it, but I took flack when I came out for same-sex marriage. I`m not gay, but I am pro-civil rights for everybody. I don`t smoke weed, but I am for justice for everybody.
Coming up -- I`ve got to go. Thank you, Wanda.
I`ve got to deal with another win for a democrat in a red state. I`ll explain it next.
SHARPTON: This Tuesday, the voters of Georgia sixth congressional district will cast ballots. And recent polling has democrat Jon Ossoff in a very tight race with his republican opponent, Karen Handel. The close contest is feeding democrat hopes that they can win in unfriendly territories, and small victories are starting to appear.
Earlier this month, 34-year-old democrat Chokwe Antar Lumumba became mayor elect of Jackson, Mississippi, following in the footsteps of his father, a famed civil rights attorney. Lumumba won on a platform of economic inclusion, and some are calling his victory a model for progressive success in the post-Trump south. Turning to its cities to buck the increasing repression in those states.
Joining me now from Jackson is Mayor-elect Chokwe Antar Lumumba. First of all, Chokwe, thank you for being on. And you know I knew your father well. In fact, I saw him. He introduced me to speak in Jackson about a month before his passing. So, I take this as a Father`s Day gift to my beloved friend, your father, former mayor, Chokwe Lumumba who`s got to be proud that you are now sitting in that seat.
CHOKWE A. LUMUMBA, MAYOR-ELECT OF JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI: Well, thank you, Reverend Sharpton. I appreciate your recollection of my father and your friendship. I`d be honored if my father were here today to see what we`ve done. I`m proud of him, and I`m proud of my mother.
SHARPTON: Your mother has certainly been there every step of the way for him and you. And what you`ve done has raised national attention on how it`s done. Because as people look at the midterm election, you become a shining light in Jackson, Mississippi, of being an openly progressive, the second generation of that, and won in a resounding victory.
What are the elements that led to your victory, and what does that say as we look at a model going forward around the country as we get ready to face elections everywhere?
LUMUMBA: Well, Reverend Sharpton, I would be remiss if I didn`t acknowledge that this was been -- this has been a work of a collective work. I have a very strong team. And it was the work of my parents being activists in this community and activists around the country that led to this moment. It was the collective work over years and years of struggle, of identifying issues and communities and joining those things together in order to develop a people`s platform that people responded to. We believe that once you identify and execute the plan of collective genius and working with people, people respond to that. And that was demonstrated in this election.
We won with, in a general election with 93 percent of the votes. So we`re excited about that. But we`re more excited about the opportunity that we have in Jackson, Mississippi. A place where some of the most horrible suffering has gone on in history. Has to be the example for change for the world.
SHARPTON: Now, certainly, it was a selective, and certainly a people`s agenda emanating from the bottom up. And you being and remaining as part of that bottom rather than this top down kind of politics, both on the republican and democratic side. The kind of things that you want to do as mayor are the kinds of things I think people around the country want to respond to, regardless of their political affiliation. What are the things that you most are determined to see done in Jackson and would hope is replicated around the country?
LUMUMBA: Absolutely. So we want to see circumstances where we can create more self-determination for people, giving them more control of their lives. We want to institute a solidarity economy, one that is just. We want to see the end of worker oppression. All of those things are key and vital to Jackson, Mississippi, but they`re important to our country.
As we look and consider what it means to be in Trump times, I explain to people as they ask me what it felt like in Jackson, Mississippi, after the November election, I said, well, the Wednesday after the election, I woke up in Mississippi. And what that means is no matter whether our country has experienced great booms or busts, we`ve always been at the bottom. And so it`s incumbent upon us to be the change we wish to see. And it`s going to require that we take this voyage from a grassroots level, and so we need to start working collectively and institute the idea of collective work and responsibility and shared sacrifice in order to accomplish our ends.
SHARPTON: Now, when we also look at the fact that in areas of education and health care there are particular challenges in Mississippi and throughout the south, how do you see grappling with that?
LUMUMBA: Well, you know, we have to have progressive thought and vision in terms of how we affect those areas. We need to have a student-centered pedagogy and student-centered curriculum which has the ability to capture young people where they are. And that`s where our challenge is to this day, and looking for those individuals who have progressive vision of how they attract young people to the process of learning.
SHARPTON: Well, thank you for being on and thank you for continuing from generation to generation to move toward progress in this country. Mayor- elect Lumumba.
LUMUMBA: Thank you.
SHARPTON: When we come back, my message for Father`s Day in the aftermath of Friday`s heart-breaking decision in the Philando Castile case. We`ll be right back.
SHARPTON: It`s Father`s Day and I`m going to preach at Metropolitan Baptist Church in Newark when I get off the air and I was going to end the show today talking about how I`m glad I reconciled with my father after many years of division. I spoke with him this morning and my father is in the movement of civil rights like Reverend Joe Lowry and Wyatt Walker.
But then Friday happened. Another jury, another verdict. The policeman that killed Philando Castile killed live, on Facebook live, as his girlfriend filmed it. Not guilty. Did nothing wrong.
Well, Reverend, you`ve seen this before. You`ve fought on these. In some cases you won, many you didn`t. But what really got to me about Father`s Day, what is not being told is, yes, his girlfriend filmed it, yes, it was on Facebook live, but her little daughter was sitting in the back of that car. And her little daughter saw this man that goes with her mother riddle riddled with bullets and a jury said there`s nothing wrong.
Even though they said he`s going for his I.D., license gun, nothing wrong. It brought me back to when I was around five or six years old, my father and mother used to drive us down south, my sister and I, to visit their parents for the holiday. I was born in New York but they were respectively from Alabama. My father had been an amateur boxer. He said when he was an amateur, he even sparred with Sugar Ray Robinson. Nobody could beat my father.
But I remember we pulled into a diner in North Carolina while driving down to spend Christmas with his family. He went to give us some hamburgers and milkshakes out the diner. He came back empty-handed. We said, what happened to the hamburgers? He said, they don`t serve blacks here. They told me to get out. My father, who nobody could beat, never had the same image in my young eyes again. Because somebody beat my father. How do you think that little girl looks at men, looks at father, looks at this nation when the verdict told her that her mother`s boyfriend could be killed and nothing there`s nothing wrong with it?
What we do to young kids looking up for manhood and fatherhood and protection and security is what I`m thinking about on Father`s Day. Some of us have to be fathers despite the fact that it seems like society sometimes is stacked against us, but we`ve got to not surrender and succumb. We`ve got to fight for the little girls in the back of the car.
That does it for me. Thanks for watching. Happy Father`s Day. I`ll see you back here next Sunday.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END