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Can GOP Leaders Stop Donald Trump; Mitt Romney to Attack Trump in Speech Tomorrow; White Supremacists Support Trump. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired March 2, 2016 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[22:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: I'll be moderating the CNN democratic debate this Sunday in Flint, Michigan at 8 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.
Right now CNN TONIGHT with Don Lemon.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Yes, this is war inside the GOP. But is it too late for anybody to stop Donald Trump?
This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon. Thanks for joining us this evening.
The republican powers that be in full panic mode tonight in the wake of Trump's sweeping Super Tuesday victories. And Mitt Romney getting ready to lob another grenade with an attack on Trump on a big speech tomorrow. The former candidate Lindsey Graham saying this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: There's nothing in his background to suggest to me you can trust Donald Trump when it comes to the conservative cause.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: And rival Marco Rubio mincing no word.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARCO RUBIO, (R-FL) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And if we choose Donald Trump as our nominee, he will have carried out the most elaborate con job in the history of American politics.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Is Trump's rise as hostile takeover or liberation of the party? And isn't the GOP embracing their own frontrunner. Lots going on tonight.
And here to discuss all of this our very own Gloria Borger, and New York Times, Frank Bruni. It certainly is an interesting thing going on. Mitt Romney is giving a surprising speech tomorrow on the 2016 race. He's going to set an attack on Trump, his Super Tuesday victories. Super Tuesday is over, Gloria. GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.
LEMON: So, why? What's going on here?
BORGER: I think the republican establishment has nobody to speak for them. There is no leader in the Republican Party. Mitt Romney is the de facto leader of the Republican Party and having run for the presidency, he lost, ran twice actually.
But I think he is going to come out and say this is what the Republican Party stands for. You saw that after the whole brouhaha with Jake Tapper over not denouncing Duke, Mitt Romney came out and tweeted that it was disgusting, right, about Trump.
So, we have no surprise here about how Mitt Romney feels about Donald Trump. What he's trying to do is say this is what republicans have worked for, this is what we stand for. And I think he feels like he can't let this moment go without speaking.
LEMON: But why -- he is the frontrunner. Why not support your frontrunner?
BORGER: Because it's a coincidence.
LEMON: Could this backfire on Mitt Romney and the party?
BORGER: Well, it could be. Well, to me it could drive more people to Donald Trump. That is definitely I think the case. And it could happen and I think Romney is clearly aware of that.
LEMON: Go ahead, Frank.
FRANK BRUNI, NEW YORK TIMES COLUMNIST: No, I think it could backfire in a back big way. I mean, I think Mitt Romney is doing the right thing from a matter of principle, but the people who are voting for Donald Trump are not people who are going to listen to Mitt Romney.
BRUNI: They are voting for Donald Trump in part as an act of rebellion. So, putting out someone who has the previous who represents sort of a very stayed wing of the Republican Party. I understand why Mitt Romney wants to do it.
I understand that there is a feeling that you need to get out there in the public square and state very clearly here's what our party is about, here are our values and principles. I do not think this is going to dissuade a single person who is voting for Donald Trump.
BORGER: You know, the astonishing thing to journalists as we watch and we both covered elections for very long time, is that you have an insurrection being led in the Republican Party by the establishment against their base, their own base, who have turned out to vote in record numbers. (CROSSTALK)
LEMON: Is this an awakening?
BORGER: The world is upside down.
LEMON: Is this an awakening for the party establishment who didn't believe -- you know, when they had that the so-called, was it the autopsy or whatever it was.
LEMON: Then a post mortem or whatever it was. Is this sort of surprising like, wait a minute, maybe our party is a little bit too far one way or another direction then we didn't realize, is this an epiphany for them?
BRUNI: No. This is pretty interesting is the autopsy turns out to have nothing it do with the problem with the party right now. You know, I mean, all the thing they thought were wrong and if they had to fix have nothing to do with what they are confronting now. It's really, it's just so fascinating.
BORGER: Well, it's their voters. This is a party leadership that has been astonishingly in a way out of touch with where their voters are.
LEMON: That's -- you're getting at the core of my question.
BORGER: Donald Trump -- Donald Trump has really struck a cord with these voters. And if you look at all the exit polls in every race we've seen, republican voters feel betrayed by the republican establishment. They're angry at government, they're angry at Washington. They want someone who will tell it like it is and not lie to them, which they believe the establishment has done and they're turning out to vote for Donald Trump.
BRUNI: In big, big, big numbers.
LEMON: Yes, big numbers.
BRUNI: Which was the -- I think the most compelling thing that Trump said last night. He was very smart to bring it up was, hey, look, everyone is saying I'm a divider. Everyone is saying I can't get of other's certain or whatever. But be that as it may, I have -- we have record numbers of people coming into our primary. That's not happening on the democratic side. Please, explain it to me what the problem here is from his perspective.
[22:05:04] Let's talk about Massachusetts. Because it's the perfect sort of analogy. It highlights the schism in the Republican Party. He won there last night but their very popular republican Governor Charlie Baker said that he didn't -- he wouldn't vote for Trump yesterday, that he wouldn't support Donald Trump come November. Other republican leaders are coming out saying the same thing. So, why are the leaders at odds with the voters here? BORGER: Well, I think that there a few republican parties right now.
I don't -- you know, it wasn't so long ago we were talking about the republicans making sure Donald Trump did not run as an independent. Well, now the Republican Party may run as an independent and Donald Trump looks to be the nominee.
I think that what you're finding is that the voters out there after eight years of President Obama, they feel like the establishment didn't do anything for them, their incomes haven't risen, they're upset. And so, this is the way to express it by going to the polls.
Now Donald Trump says a lot of other things that people like Mitt Romney object to. And that's what Mitt Romney's going to talk about.
LEMON: It interesting that Mitt Romney, you know, is sounding more like the left than...
BRUNI: But it isn't a simple right-left thing.
BRUNI: But you're right. Donald Trump, there are a lot of things about him that have Mitt Romney and the kind of people who support Mitt Romney in both from freaked out.
Donald Trump, for example, this has not gotten as much attention as it might, Donald Trump has given a lot of people reason to believe he's not going to be the kind of fervent friend of Israel.
This is very important to a big consistency in the Republican Party especially on the donor side. They're very freaked out by the notion of a Trump presidency not being as fervent a friend of Israel as they expect someone from they are supporting to be. Marco Rubio, on the other hand, Israel, Israel, Israel.
LEMON: Right. Do you remember at the beginning of all of this, everyone had to, you know, raise your right hand, sign this pledge thing.
BORGER: That's right. That's right.
LEMON: You know, no third party. I mean, Donald Trump was hammered on this. Now Ben Sasse is saying that in the Weekly Standard that there should be a third party candidate that would better represent the establishment of the GOP. What's going on, could that actually happen here?
BORGER: Let's play this out a little bit. If that could happen, what people are effectively saying in the Republican Party is we're willing to hand this election over to Hillary Clinton because we need to remake the party.
If I'm a young republican and I'm 30 years old and I'm looking down the road at the future of the Republican Party, maybe I'm thinking that's not such a bad idea that this has to happen to parties as they remake themselves.
Look at the Republican Party after Goldwater. I'm not saying that Donald Trump would go down to defeat like Goldwater did in '64, but parties need to go through this, don't you think?
BRUNI: Yes. And if you want to understand they're freak out, something that we have been talking about a lot. They really do believe Donald Trump would be trounced by Hillary in a general election. And that just doesn't mean they don't get the White House. It could have reverberations throughout Congress in a big, big way.
LEMON: But is that the reality of it have, though?
BRUNI: We don't know. We don't know. I mean, some polls suggest that is the reality. I think it's very unpredictable because I think there is this rage, this frustration in the electorate. And it's hard to see Hillary Clinton mollifying it as someone who has been in or around power for a quarter century now.
BORGER: The democratic voters are happier than republican voters. But the thing is if it's Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, they will bring out the bases of each other's party because they are so polarizing.
LEMON: Can I ask you about Chris Christie? Because I noticed this last night in my, you know, I try to -- I wasn't here yesterday because it was my birthday and you only turn...
BORGER: Oh, happy birthday.
LEMON: ... you only turn, you know, 29 once.
BORGER: Twenty five.
LEMON: Or 25 once. But as I was watching the Chris Christie, I was just -- I couldn't take my eyes off of him. I'm like why is he standing there? I mean, everyone is talking about it trying to fill in the blanks, Frank, what is going through Chris Christie mind -- Chris Christie's mind? And he gets this you have a, you know.
BRUNI: Other than what have I done? I mean, I think remember there was an interesting detail that got crossover where Marco Rubio called Chris Christie and said, I think you are reportedly said I think you have a bright future. I think Chris Christie was so offended, his pride was so hurt. He made a rush decision and now he's living uncomfortably with the consequences of it.
BORGER: You know, this is a man who's not used to standing behind the star in the room.
BORGER: He's used to being the star in the room.
LEMON: Yes. BORGER: And that's what I was thinking of if as he was kind of...
LEMON: Do you think he regrets this?
BORGER: ... standing back there.
LEMON: What he's done?
BORGER: I -- you know, that's hard for me to say. If Donald Trump wins the presidency and Chris Christie is revived, he probably not.
LEMON: Does he have any...
BRUNI: As attorney general.
LEMON: Does he have any other options? Because there's tremendous backlash against him in his home state. Maybe this is, you know, hopefully he is going to get some sort of national job rather than being...
BORGER: I think he could have done anything he wanted. He could stay away out of it.
BRUNI: He has private sector options. It's not just gap.
LEMON: And we didn't get to talk about your column, I'm so sorry. Hillary Clinton's moment where you talk about the grit that she is, you know, shown to get through this.
LEMON: I think come Super Tuesday.
BRUNI: No, no, no. I just think we've talked so much in the cycle about what a flawed candidate she is. And every word of that is true.
[22:10:00] But I thought last night it was worth pausing for a moment and saying this woman has survived, this person has survived, like just the slings and arrows of fortune in the way very few others have. And we owe her a moment, more than a moment of respect for that.
LEMON: It's very balanced. Because you talk about how she's flawed but then you also talk about, you know saying, hey, listen, we should take a moment and reflect that she is, you know...
BRUNI: And I think we should. Don't you?
LEMON: Yes. BORGER: She's a fighter.
LEMON: Yes. Thank you very much. I appreciate both of you for coming on. Stay with us at CNN for our democratic presidential debate. It's in Flint, Michigan. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders go head to head on Sunday night beginning at 8 Eastern, of course right here on CNN.
And when we come back, the heated debate that everybody is still talking about. It happened during our Super Tuesday coverage, a head- to-head battle that exposed the racial divide in American politics. If you didn't see it, we're going to show you what you missed. And that's next.
LEMON: It is one of the most incendiary charges you can make in politics, that your opponent is cozying up to the KKK. And in spite of his failure to disavow David Duke this weekend, Donald Trump insist that he has condemned the Klan numerous times, but white supremacist supporters keep crawling out of the woodwork.
The whole issue coming to a head than extraordinary and fiery debate right here on CNN last night. It was Van Jones and Jeffrey Lord, who is a Trump supporter, in an intense on-air battle during our Super Tuesday coverage.
It was passionate, it was personal but in this heated election year, it's important to note it never turned disrespectful. Let's watch the whole thing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[22:15:07] VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The things that Donald Trump has done and not just in this race are horribly offensive. You can you go back with this guy for a long time -- I want to talk. I want to talk.
JEFFREY LORD, FORMER REAGAN WHITE HOUSE POLITICAL DIRECTOR: I didn't say anything yet.
JONES: You breathed. You can go back to the central jogger case where he came out and had innocent black kids winding up in...
LORD: No, innocent kids.
JONES: Hold on a second. Innocent black kids. Listen, hold on a second. We have a big problem at this point now. Because I agree with you about a lot. I think that we have taken him not seriously, we have not respected his voters, but there is a dark underside here. And S.E. is right.
He is whipping up and tapping into and pushing buttons that are very, very frightening to me and frightening to a lot of people. Number one, when he is playing funny with the Klan, that is not cool. LORD: He didn't play funny with the Klan.
JONES: Hold on a second. I know this man when he gets passionate about terrorism. I know how he talks about terrorism. The Klan is a terrorist organization that has killed...
LORD: A leftist terrorism organization.
LORD: You can put whatever label you want, that's your game to play.
LORD: No, that's important to...
JONES: No, they're not level -- we're not going to play that game.
LORD: It's history. We're going to understand history.
JONES: No, no. You need to take a serious look at the fact that this man is playing fast and loose and footsy. When we talk about terrorism, he gets passionate. He says no, that is wrong.
But when you talk about the Klan, oh, I don't know, I don't know. That's wrong. And you came on the air and you said, well, this is just like when Reverend Wright was speaking.
LORD: Yes, yes.
JONES: Reverend Wright never lynched anybody. Reverend Wright never killed anybody.
LORD: Reverend Wright is an anti-Semite.
JONES: Reverend Wright -- no, no, hold on a second. Reverend Wright never put anybody on a pose. And you guys play these war games and it's wrong to do in America.
LORD: It is wrong -- it is wrong to understand that these are not leftists. They were a...
JONEs: What difference does it make if you call them leftists.
LORD: Van, it means a lot of different things. I'm not talking...
JONES: You call them chipmunks, they kill people. And you don't play games with that.
LORD: Van, we're not -- you're right. And you don't hide and say that's not part of the base of the Democratic Party. That has been, they were the military arm, the terrorist arm of the Democratic Party according to historians. For God sakes, read your history.
JONES: Listen, I'm not -- I don't know. Hold on a second, Hold on a second. LORD: This whole attitude of dividing by race is still here and this is how democrats need to be.
JONES: I don't care how they voted 50 years ago, I care about who they killed.
LORD: I care about American history. It counts.
JONES: You have stood with Donald Trump and you have made a case for Donald Trump when nobody else wanted to, and you earn the respect for an awful lot of people. But when you do not acknowledge that he did not answer that question with the passion, he is answering with other terrorist organizations. You do yourself a disturbance. You do your kids disturbance.
LORD: He has made this point over and over and over again. This is a media thing here. Did he make a mistake? Sure. But he has said this many, many times. I've gone back and looked. He's well on record over and over and over again.
JONES: But it's worse than that, sir. It's worse than that. That whole thing with those central jogger kids, he got the entire City of New York whipped up on this idea that these kids had done something wrong. And then when they are trying -- and they were innocent, we all make mistakes.
JONES: He never apologized to those kids. And that's a stain on him. And you can walk through time after time where he has done stuff like that. The stuff is got about made of Americans being, you know, criminal organizations and Mafia. He said so many...
LORD: But, Van, what you're doing right here, what you're doing here is dividing people. We're all Americans here, Van.
JONES: I am.
LORD: You are dividing people. This is what liberals do. You are dividing people by race.
JONES: I am not.
LORD: This is what liberalism is all about.
JONEs: The Klan divides by race.
LORD: You have to -- you have to divide it by race.
JONES: The Klan killed people by race and he has the opportunity and he did that to...
LORD: And they did it -- they did it to further the progressive agenda. Hello?
JONES: Why they killed -- listen, that is first of all so absurd.
LORD: Not true. It is not true.
JONES: The Democratic Party of the south in the old days with a racist party. And you are -- you are correct, sir. They were a violent party. You are correct, sir.
LORD: How do you think we got Woodrow Wilson elected?
JONES: But hold on a second. Hold on a second. That's not the Democratic Party of the day. So, why are you talking about that for? You play this game.
LORD: It is the Democratic Party of today. The Democratic Party of today divides by race.
JONES: My -- listen, I have a kid, 7 years old.
JONES: He can't even watch -- I used to look -- I don't want you watching the Kardashian's, I want you watching the news, you can learn something. You know what? Watching all this nonsense in your party, he turns around and he says, you know dad, you're a liar. He doesn't even know what the word means. But he sees so much vitriol from your party.
JONES: He brings that into our house. Now he got to -- have been watching Nick Junior. He can't even absorb civics because of what's going on in your party. The circus wing in your party. Do not play.
And Tell Donald Trump, I know you, I trust you, tell Donald Trump he needs for my children's sake, for the children's sake of American, if he's going to lead this country, he needs to be as passionate about what has happened to the people in my community as anybody else.
LORD: We have to be -- we have to be passionate about making sure as Robert Kennedy used to say that this country is color blind. We have to, as President Kennedy used to say in that Birmingham speech that race has no place in American life or law. That's what we have to do and we have lost that totally because the Democratic Party insists on dividing people by race and it's wrong. It's morally wrong.
COOPER: I'm going to get...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[22:20:03] LEMON: Van Jones is here with me now. Deeply personal for you. JONES: Yes, that was completely unplanned, Don. We were literally had
-- we were supposed to be talking about, you know, the Republican Party, the direction of the Republican Party. Actually I wasn't even going to say anything at all and somehow we wind up in this conversation that I don't think either of us expected to have live on the air.
Don, as you know sometimes people have conversations in the green room, you don't have them on set. We had that green room parking lot conversation right there on the set.
JONES: And it was -- and I think there were tears in the eyes of people, camera people and other people at the break. I mean, it was -- it was cathartic moment for everybody there, and then of course it trended worldwide and turned into this whole bigger thing.
JONES: But just in the intimacy of a bunch of people who worked together for so hard, so long during this primary season, a lot of emotions just came out.
LEMON: Yes. Listen, I was transfixed by that, as I was -- I stopped getting dressed last night and I watched this. And I was like -- I kept saying I wish I was there, I wish I was there. You know why I wish I was there? Because we often have this conversations on this with you and I. Even sometimes you and I disagree on certain things and we have these sort of heart-to-heart moments, which is what you should do.
But the whole thing of, the thing that got me is the whole idea that this somehow has to do with ideology, that is somehow has to do with the right versus the, you know, the democrats and the Ku Klux Klan. I didn't understand what that has to do with anything.
JONES: Well, it's unfortunate because there's a small part of the right that has revisionist history where they want to say everything in the world that ever happened was the left. So, Hitler was a leftist, the Klan is a leftist. And some cycle...
LEMON: Wrong is wrong it, doesn't matter if it's left or right.
JONES: Exactly. Exactly.
JONES: There's horrible people on the right and horrible people on the left, and there horrible racism and bigots on the right and horrible and racist bigots on the left, why are we having this conversation? The question is right now the Klan is not endorsing Hillary Clinton. The Klan is not endorsing Bernie Sanders. The Klan is endorsing Donald Trump, which is an opportunity for Donald Trump to stand and do what Reagan did. When the Klan tried to endorse Reagan, Reagan took them to the wood shed. And it was ugly.
And you're expecting that from a Trump and instead you get, well, I disavow, OK? Let's move on. And that to me is a very sad moment. And listen, if the Klan is a leftist organization, they'd be endorsing Bernie Sanders. But why are we having that conversation? The question is not just why is Trump not pushing away hard from this group, if ISIS endorsed Trump, Trump would go crazy.
If Al Qaeda endorsed Trump, Trump would go crazy. We have a terrorist organization in the United States and white supremacists since 9/11 have killed more Americans than Muslims, than Muslims have killed, than Jihadists have killed.
And so, if you're going to be anti-terrorist leader, which is what Trump is supposed to be, you should be hard on Al Qaeda, you should be hard on ISIS and you should be hard on the Klan.
LEMON: So, Van, listen. The other thing that I found and, you know, Jeffrey Lord, we have him on, Jeffrey Lord is a nice man.
LEMON: But does he -- I don't understand he understand how offensive it is when people say, oh, that Dr. King wanted, you know, a color blind society. That's not what Dr. King wanted. Dr. King wanted people to recognize people for their qualities, for their fuller lips, their bigger noses, their darker skins or whatever. Whatever it is that you bring into the society culturally.
But in spite of that or because of that to judge people on content of character. Who wants to live in the color blind society? That's ingenious. I see you as black. You see I see blonde hair. I see blue eyes. I see people who are Asian. I see Yakamas. Am I not supposed to see all those things? I'm supposed to love my brother because of their differences not to be blind to them.
JONES: You know, when everybody tells me, well, you know, Van, I'm color blind. I say you might want to see a doctor about that.
LEMON: It doesn't make any sense.
JONES: It doesn't make sense. But you know what's happened, though. You know, Dr. King, 13 years in public life, he was 24 years old in Montgomery, he was killed at 39. Can you imagine he was 33 years old on the steps of the Washington Memorial? And he is -- he has a very complex theology, he wrote many, many books, many, many speeches and yet, people only remember that one line, the content of my character.
That is one note in a symphony. And what people do they take that one note out of symphony ignore the whole song and then want to beat us to death with that one note. And the reality is Dr. King was very sophisticated about the need for to us to recognize our differences, understand them and l listen deeply and embrace them. Not tell somebody that minute you raise an issue you're raining the issue is the issue.
JONES: I mean, that's not fair. That's not Dr. King.
LEMON: I've got to run. Much more to come. Van is going to be back with us. And also I want to say that we invited Jeffrey Lord. Jeffrey Lord was not available for this conversation but we invited him to come on anytime, as you know he's always here on CNN.
JONES: And I tell you what, he is a good guy. We just don't agree on some stuff.
[22:25:01] LEMON: All right. Up next, the KKK in modern America with Kamau Bell. W. Kamau Bell learned meeting the Klan members in his CNN -- new CNN series, United Shades of America.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I still have the right to be loved by people.
W. KAMAU BELL, UNITED SHADES OF AMERICAN SHOW HOST: Absolutely.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I love my heritage. Without somebody calling me a racist, a hater, and a bigot. And trying to marginalize me by name calling.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: A lot of Americans would like to believe that the Ku Klux Klan is a thing of the past. We like to believe that. But as we have seen in this heated presidential campaign the reality is a lot more complicated.
Van Jones is back with me, and we're joined now by W. Kamau Bell. He is the host of CNN's upcoming new series United Shades of America. It's going to be eye opening where he goes with the KKK, inside the KKK in his new show.
Hello to you, Kamau. Van is back with us. Kamau, it's 2016. We're arguing about the KKK's role in the presidential election. Would you have ever thought, imagined that?
BELL: With the direction the Republican Party's been going for the last few years, absolutely.
LEMON: Why do you say that?
BELL: The Republican Party -- if the Republican Party is a gumbo, the modern Republican Party the rule of that gumbo is white supremacy, and the core of that is the Ku Klux Klan. [22:30:07] LEMON: Do you -- now the members of the Republican Party would say -- and if you listen to the leaders of the Republican Party they are disavowing anything to do with the Ku Klux Klan. Is that are they saying that because they have to? Or do you think that they believe that. Is that, and shouldn't you given some credit for that at least?
BELL: Because they're also thinking about starting a new party from what I understand. Like they are in some way acknowledging that the party has got nothing their control and they are thinking about running a candidate -- they are thinking waking Mitt Romney. You know what I mean? Like, they are aware that the party has gotten out of control. And there is not -- I feel like there is nothing we can do about it other than reconvene somewhere else.
LEMON: Well, to Frank Bruni and Gloria Borger ahead and just on and I was like, is this a surprise to them? Was this an epiphany to them that they've realize that somehow their party is out of control especially when it comes to these issues, you know addressing racism and the Ku Klux Klan? And to you -- it sounds like to you that you believe that all of a sudden like, wow. Where did this come from?
BELL: Yes. And it came from -- it came from the first four years of Barack Obama's presidency. President Barack Obama where they allowed Donald Trump to demand the president show his birth certificate and they just stood by and went maybe he's not born here. We don't -- how would we ever know? Hawaii, we don't know that's a state. They allowed that to happen and this is the result of that. This is like the pimple coming home to roost.
LEMON: You have a new show on CNN and it's called The United Shades of America. It premiers in April. On your very first episode you actually went to visit the KKK and I want to play a couple of clips and then we'll talk.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Klan have a purpose in life and that is to recruit qualified Christian that are of good moral character standing.
BELL: What means qualified? What qualifies someone...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Must be white. And you must be a Christian. Jews will never be in the Klan. They're a dirty race. We are a white race. I'm proud of my race. I'm proud to be white. You're proud to be a black man?
BELL: I am proud to be black man.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. That's good. You're a black man. You married to a black woman?
BELL: I'm married to a white woman.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know what the Bible says about racial marriages? Well, it' an abomination, a sin.
BELL: On the list of sins, where's interracial marriage? Is there is like murder and is interracial marriage equal to that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It would be above because it's an abomination.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: I'm sorry. When your comeback was like, no, I'm not married to a black woman, I'm married to a white woman. he was like, ah, what the Bible says.
BELL: I'm worse than a murderer.
LEMON: Yes. What was that like, Kamau?
BELL: Well, first of all, it was scary. I'm the one and we had to do it at night. But, yes, it was just -- I mean, you know, as a black person, you know, and Van can talk about this, always keep your eye open for the Klan. And so, I felt like if I am going to do the show about me traveling around the country, I want to go to the heart of the problem.
And the Ku Klux Klan -- again, the founding of this country sort of comes through white supremacy and the Klan is the classic edge of the white supremacy.
LEMON: So, van, what is the -- what does the party, what does the Republican Party have to do when it comes to this issue?
JONES: Well, I think that -- well, first of all, Kamau made it pretty tough on the Republican Party. It is in fact originally it was the party of Lincoln. And what's so ironic is that it started out as an anti-slavery party, and the Democratic Party was a horrible racist party trying to stand the indefensible. And yet, over time parties do go through transformations.
And so, now you do have the Republican Party that for some reason, the Klan, the Aryan nations and others feel very at home in that party and they feel very comfortable endorsing the frontrunner. In fact, I think 20 percent of Donald Trump's supporters in South Carolina actually thinks that abolishing slavery was a bad idea.
Twenty percent of his South Carolina voters can't -- for Donald Trump can't even agree with us on slavery. So, something has gone wrong. And I think that Paul Ryan did something very, very good. Paul Ryan has been very impressive as speaker. He has spoken out about poverty and he also -- he rushed to the microphone to say he denounces this stuff.
LEMON: And Donald Trump says but if he doesn't come aboard, he sure he's going to work with him well, but if he doesn't come along...
JONES: There will be a high cost effect. LEMON: ... there will be a high cost.
JONES: And that's when -- and I think that shows some of the struggles inside that party. You have the rise of a right wing authoritarian style leader like Donald Trump, very entertaining but also very threatening.
LEMON: Van, I want...
JONES: And Ryan pushing back. Paul Ryan.
LEMON: I want to play this now because I want to look at. This is Kamau speaking to another Klansman. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BELL: I know you consider yourself part of the new Klan.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First off, the Klan needs us a tool to reach people. I feel that it gets the biggest bang for its buck.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that's why I join the Klan. But my personal belief, OK, is that black people cannot maintain law and order on their own.
BELL: Would you come to my house?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
BELL: Why not?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I like being around my own kind.
BELL: But, you know. What if a white people invite you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have no desire.
BELL: You have no desire.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: But that's not racist. What does he -- what he does he mean?
BELL: He's alone with white people.
LEMON: What does he mean when he says black people can't maintain law and order on their own?
[22:35:02] BELL: I think, you know, it's -- he means that black people are not equal to white people and that's why when I saw Van debating Jeffrey Lord that, and Jeffrey Lord keeps trying to say we're all Americans. But all of the statistics show that black people do not get the
benefits of America the way white people do. Women don't get the benefits of America the way men do. So, we can't take race out of this kind, we can't take race out of this debate. And so, he's saying that black people are less than Americans, less than white people and he's defining white as being the best thing.
JONES: And it's also this idea that blacks are lawless and whites are lawful is very, very important. Now the fact that as soon as the enslavement was over African-Americans went and built a Wall Street that was more powerful and equal to the white Wall Street and lawless white people burned it down, and that white lawlessness has been used over and over again to crushed black progress.
You know, African-Americans after the enslavement built some of the most impressive college and universities in the world. How do you know Dr. King came out of a black college, a good Marshal came out of a black college, Barbara Jordan came out of a black college, and yet those so-called lawless cannot organize. Ourselves African-Americans were met with a wave of lawless white violence.
JONES: If you take that out of the history thing, it's hard to understand what's going on. But this is a very important conversation to continue to have and not to say if you want to have it you are the racist. Now by not having it, we allow racists to win.
LEMON: Yes. And we need to have this as much as we talk about terrorism in any other issue here. Thank you very much, Kamau. I'm looking forward to your series. Van, stick around here. United Shades of America premiers CNN in April -- in April.
And coming up, Donald Trump's KKK stumble didn't slow his Super Tuesday victory mark, but is he playing with fire?
[03:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Donald Trump's Klan comments didn't slow his Super Tuesday juggernaut. But is he playing with fire?
Van Jones is back with me, also Bob Cusack, editor-in-chief of The Hill.com, and Amy Holmes, anchor of the Blaze TV. Bob, to you first. This KKK controversy didn't stop Donald Trump from winning big on Tuesday night. Why do you think that is?
BOB CUSACK, THE HILL EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Well, it's a different electorate than he's going to face in the general election. And he's got a challenge and there are some big challenges, Don. I mean, he's got unite the party and also he is going to have to attract votes from Muslim-Americans and Hispanics, as well as African-Americans.
So, I think this is not going to go away. I think he's got to continue to disavow it and disavow the KKK and David Duke, which he has done before but certainly made a mistake in that Jake Tapper interview, as Jeffrey Lord said last night. This is tricky for him. But Donald Trump is a shrewd businessman; he's become a shrewd politician. And I think he'll probably do that.
LEMON: Do you think it was deliberate, a deliberate strategy as some are saying?
CUSACK: Oh, I don't know. You know, I'm not sure what Donald Trump is thinking, however, he was winning. And he was winning big going into Super Tuesday. I don't think he needed an extra kind of push and he wants to win the White House. I mean, that's clear. And that controversy did not help him in the general election.
LEMON: That goes to what Amy has said about it, and Amy has not minced word. She said she believes Donald Trump is opportunistic and thoughtless but not a racist. Explain.
AMY HOLMES, THE BLAZE TV ANCHOR: No, I don't think he's a racist. And in point of fact, it did slow him down a bit with the late deciders. The Tuesday night late deciders tended to go toward Marco Rubio, those who regarded themselves as very conservative, Ted Cruz won that constituency.
So, these remarks certainly didn't helped Donald Trump with the GOP primary voters. I don't think Donald Trump is a racist. I don't think he thinks that much about it. I do think he's opportunistic and I do think that he's willing to scapegoat anyone for his own advantage.
LEMON: I've asked him a couple of times about it and people were wondering, well, why are you asking Donald Trump about that whether he is racist. Where did that come from? I know things people.
Van Jones, this is for you. Because I asked him before and then I asked him again last December. Let's listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Here is my question. I asked you last time. I said and some people were shocked, if you were racist. You knew why I was asking you that. Are you racist?
DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am the least racist person that you have ever met. I am the least racist person.
LEMON: Are you bigoted in any way?
TRUMP: I don't think so. No, I don't think so.
LEMON: I am a person -- no, not at all. I'm a person who happens to be very smart and I happen to have a certain street sense and I know where things are going. I said takeout Osama Bin Laden in the book written in the year 2000 called "The America We Deserve." I said you better be careful because I saw this guy, Osama Bin Laden, probably on television. I said, take him out. He knocked the World Trade Center.
LEMON: So, as I sit here with you, you've been very kind to me, right? You've introduced me to your family; you've been very kind to me. It has to -- when people say that you're racist or homophobic or Islamophobic or whatever it is, that has to bother you. They compare you to Hitler, there is newspaper that covers...
TRUMP: Do you know where these things are all about?
LEMON: Does it bother you?
TRUMP: No. If thing are true, if that's were true, it would bother me tremendously, OK? But of course, if you're a racist, you probably wouldn't care. But if things are true, it would bother me. But if it's so false and honestly I don't hear it often.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, Van, I knew this would come up. I knew that this would happen. So, what's your reaction to that?
JONES: Well, listen, I think that we can now have a more sophisticated conversation. Some people think about racism as like light switch, like either you're a racist, and therefore the worst person ever born or you're holy innocent.
And what you see is a lot of white Americans understandably exerting a lot of psychological energy trying to preserve their racial innocence. I am innocent. And there's a lot of white resentment because they feel like they are actually guilty until proven innocent of being a racist, and the being a racist is the worst thing in the world.
And so, this conversation is the same thing that bugs down people trying desperately to prove their innocence, when in fact, none of us are innocent. When you have groups of people living close together all around the world throughout history, there are resentment, there are stereotypes, there are problems you have to work with.
So, number one, when he says I am completely not racist, that actually makes him less credible on the question of race for the most people.
[22:45:04] HOLMES: But, Van, I think that we've seen throughout this campaign that Donald Trump is an equal opportunity bully, an equal opportunity Bulgarian. Look at what he said about Carly Fiorina's face, about Megyn Kelly when he talks about women, when he talks about Muslims or Mexican immigrants coming into the country.
I think when you're dealing with Donald Trump you're dealing with someone who doesn't care who he hurts and I think that actually makes him even more dangerous.
LEMON: Are you saying that what many are people I hear saying, especially coming from many democrats that, well, the only thing I can see about Donald Trump if he's the president, I don't believe anything that comes out of his mouth. I don't believe he -- I don't believe he believes the things that are coming out of his mouth.
So, let me check that. I don't believe he believes the things that are coming out of his mouth. He wants to win so he'll say anything. At their core they believe that he's more centrist, more democrats and he doesn't believe that.
JONES: Don, I've heard this many, many times. And I see it slightly differently than we were just talking about in that. First of all, if that's true, it's still to your point very dangerous. In other words, if he'll say anything to get elected, he'll do anything to get reelected.
And so, it doesn't help you to say, well, right now he's attacking all these groups and once he's president, he'll have massive power, then suddenly he's going to change. That doesn't make sense.
But I think it's actually, I do see the hints of a little bit more strategy than just being an equal opportunity. I think you're right. He does offend a lot of people. But I do see a more of a pattern when it comes to the non-white consistency, the Mexicans, the Muslims, the Chinese, et cetera. And I think that he's playing to a particular crowd. And I think -- I agree with you. I don't think he's a racist. I think he's a racial opportunist. I think that's exactly right, but racial opportunists are very, very dangerous.
LEMON: So, Bob, Donald Trump has disavow -- he's been disavowing the KKK since that interview. But now we learned that his son, Donald Trump, Jr. gave an interview to a white supremacist radio host who has credential for a Trump event. And that interview is going to air this weekend. But Donald Trump, Jr. says that he didn't know the guy was a white supremacist and that he wasn't, quote, "vetted." Is this a problem that keeps the story in the news longer?
CUSACK: Well, it certainly keeps it in the news longer and it's a bad headline for the Trump campaign. But as you mentioned, the son has said he did not know. But certainly that's where Donald Trump is going to have to pivot toward the general election. And this is going to be very important.
He has said that he could get 25 percent of the African-American vote and basically that would be the election right there. That is a big task for republican candidate in a presidential election year.
And, you know, it remains to be seen if he can get that type of vote. But that's why I think he's going to have to have some type of significant speech on race in America, whether it's dealing with the growing Hispanic demographic and appealing to them. He's got to make amends. The republican primary is very raucous. But he's going to have to make amends for the general.
LEMON: I don't know guys if you remember but the night before last, before Super Tuesday, I said the same thing that I think that Donald Trump would have do a similar thing that President Barack Obama or then-candidate Obama did back in 2008 during that election and give some sort of talk on race.
Explain his position on the KKK and other issues that people deem maybe Islamophobic or when it comes to do with Mexican or immigrants.
So, we're going to talk about that. I need to get a break in. Stay with me, everyone. When we come right back, sources say Mitt Romney will attack Donald Trump in a big speech tomorrow, but is that any way to derail the Trump train? We'll talk about that when we come back.
[03:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Donald trump's success is dividing the GOP with some saying he's not even republican.
Back with me now, Van Jones, Bob Cusack, and Amy Holmes. So, we talked about that, you know, as President Barack Obama had to do with Reverend Wright his speech on race which he explains himself. Amy, you said that will never happen?
HOLMES: I don't think so not when you're dealing with someone who expresses himself through 140 characters misspelled and doesn't prepare for debates and brags about it that he doesn't prepare and he even says that he can go to the middle of Fifth Avenue shoot off a gun and kill somebody and he still got supporters. In fact, I think if he gave a speech like that, it would hurt him.
LEMON: But why shouldn't he be held to the same -- OK.
HOLMES: I think it would hurt him among his supporters who would say you're bending to P.C., you're bending to all of your critics. They want Trump to keep going and be the schoolyard bully that stands up for them.
LEMON: Why shouldn't he be held to the same standard as every other candidate? President Obama or candidate Obama had to do it. He get hammered by that...
HOLMES: The standard -- well, the standard that he needs to be held to...
LEMON: It's almost the same thing.
HOLMES: ... or the only standard he cares about and some say should care about is the voter and what happens in the polling booth. And right now his supporters they like the, you know, the shtick, they like what he's selling. And frankly, he's lost every single debate that he's been on stage and he keeps just, you know, the momentum keeps going.
LEMON: OK. Speaking of voters, and, Bob, who are the Trump voters?
CUSACK: Well, the Trump voters are basically the republican electorate that is sick of the establishment. I mean, you look at the Republican Party and over the years it's always the next guy up. And this time the republican votes have said, no, we're not doing that. We're not listening to Washington, we're sick of Washington.
And that's why they rejected Jeb Bush, part of the reason, so quickly. And no matter what Trump says, I mean, certainly there is no doubt about it, he has a Teflon-type quality. A lot of things that he said would have killed the careers of other politicians.
Trump thrives on controversy. He's not politically correct. The time is right for Trump on the republican side. Is it the right time for him in the general election? Remains to be seen, Don.
LEMON: Van, why do you think that Trump voters last night, at least last night didn't seem to care if he had disavowed or not? Maybe it was, I don't know if it was too new in the news cycle. Maybe it just doesn't matter to them.
JONES: I agree that some of them maybe it didn't matter and they made other choices. I think you have some pain in the country among downwardly mobile of white voters. And I think they honestly they feel we don't have a NAACP to speak up for us. We don't have a Russell (ph) to speak up for us. We don't have a champion. We're out here, we're getting pummeled every day economically...
LEMON: And Donald Trump is that champion.
JONES: And I think in a way they look at him maybe he can be our champion. Because I think you have a lot of downwardly mobile white voters who feel like. And guess what. I'm tired of being guilty until proven innocent, on race, on gender. I'm tired of walking on egg shells.
[22:54:59] Now we can say from our point of view, you have an awful lot of privileges. You don't have to worry about the cops, you know, jumping on you, you can walk through a parking lot at night as a man and not be harassed. They don't see it that way.
And I think they see in Donald Trump a champion for them and they're willing to forgive him a lot because they think that he is for them.
LEMON: But also Donald Trump also stands for if you really look at it the idea of generational wealth, which many people of color don't have. You know, and speaking of what some call white privilege, you don't have to -- you can walk into a room, you can go anywhere and travel anywhere and feel safe. And as you said, Van, he doesn't have to worry about that.
Go ahead, Amy.
HOLMES: But here's the thing. If you look at the way the media has been treating Donald, they've been treating him as a joke, a clown, someone not to take seriously, which in a certain sense makes him more esthetic to some of those voters that Van is talking about.
But I would also add that part of Trump's appeal is to use his slogan making America great again. He got a lot of support when after the San Bernardino massacre, he said, well, we have to put a pause on Muslim immigration coming to the United States.
Whatever you think about that policy, if you want to call it that, it was popular among voters who feel that we have been asleep at the switch that there are people coming who have demonstrated their antipathy and viciousness and murders and towards Americans. And Donald Trump says he's going to put a stop to it. Do you and I think that he will? I'm not sure but he says that's what he intends to do.
LEMON: All right. Thanks, everyone. I appreciate it. When we come right back, the Republican Party's doomsday plan, can the powers that be stop Donald Trump or is he in a lock for the nomination?
[23:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)