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Angry Protesters Rally at Trump Tower; Two of Trump's Cabinet Member Left their Post. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired August 14, 2017 - 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, HOST, CNN: Hey, thanks for watching. Time to hand things over to Don Lemon. CNN Tonight starts right now. See you tomorrow.
DON LEMON, HOST, CNN: Here's a live look right now. It's Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan. You see the protesters. President Trump arriving there a short time ago. Protesters greeting him on the streets below. They're angry that it took him days to condemn white supremacists and neo-Nazis for the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
This is CNN tonight. I'm Don Lemon.
The president bowing to growing pressure to speak out. Reading a scripted statement at the White House today. Here's part of it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Racism is evil and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: And here's some late breaking news. A second CEO resigning from President Trump's American Manufacturing Council. Under Armour founder and CEO Kevin Plank saying in a statement, "Love our country and company. I'm stepping down from the council to focus on inspiring and uniting through power of sport."
So here's my take. I've been thinking about it a lot this weekend. We can't have an honest discussion about what happened this weekend without discussing or at least being aware of history. We cannot pretend that these things happened in a vacuum. They say those who don't learn their history are doomed to repeat it. You've heard that before.
So a lot of people this weekend and today are forgetting this country's history, let's take a short walk down memory lane. African- Americans got here to America on ships. Not by choice. There were no Ninas, Pintas or Santa Marias for my people. They were brought to be slaves to white people, tortured, beaten, lynched, and murdered. They helped build this country, build the White House even and could
not take part in the country's success. No voting, no education, no ability to accumulate wealth, no freedom. All the while white people from all over the world came here for a better life, were allowed the opportunity to realize the American dream.
And once slavery was abolished hundreds of years later, it is no surprise that an organization like the Ku Klux Klan began to take root. They wanted to take their country back or should I say make sure it stay the same, with black people in chains, enslaved.
And if case you haven't seen the images them gathering in the night of night carrying torches. Here they are. But at least they wore hoods then. The racist white supremacist cowards this weekend evidently feel they have no reason to hide. They boldly showed their faces. Perhaps they feel emboldened or even legitimized for some reason. The former grand wizard of the KKK is David Duke and he says yes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID DUKE, FORMER IMPERIAL WIZARD, KU KLUX KLAN: We're determined to take our country back. We're going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That's what we believed in. That's why we voted for Donald Trump because he's going to take our country back. That's what we got to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: By the way, I know David Duke. David Duke hasn't been hiding behind a hood for a long time. He attended the same university I attended. Louisiana State University. He even ran for governor and for the Senate.
So back in February of last year when my colleague Jake Tapper asked candidate Donald Trump about David Duke, his answer was perplexing.
JAKE TAPPER, HOST, CNN: Will you unequivocally condemn David Duke and say that you don't want his vote or that of other white supremacist in this election?
TRUMP: Well, just so you understand, I don't know anything about David Duke, OK? I don't know anything about what even you're talking about with white supremacy or white supremacist.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Trump did under duress disavow Duke a few days later. But the not knowing Duke was a flat-out lie. How do I know? Because Trump considered a run for president in 2000 as a reform party candidate and he said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you see as the biggest problem with the reform party right now?
TRUMP: Well, you've got David Duke just joined. A bigot, a racist, a problem. I mean, this is not exactly the people you want in your party. Buchanan is a disaster as we've covered. Jesse is a terrific guy who just left the party and he, you know, it's unfortunate but he just left the party.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: David Duke, a bigot, not the kind of guy you want in your party. If he knew him in 2000, he didn't know him in 2016? So, Saturday in the midst of the violence when Trump tweeted "We all must be united and condemn all the hate stands, all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America, let's come together as one."
Well, David Duke responded with this tweet. "I would recommend you take a good look in the mirror and remember it was white Americans who put you in the presidency, not radical leftists."
[22:05:03] So the president had a chance to make it crystal clear whose side he was on when he truly believes and once in front of the cameras, the president refused to call out or call by name the racist, bigoted white supremacists at the heart of the Charlottesville, story.
And just like in March of 2016, on February of 2016 when asked to disavow Duke and racists, it took him days to do it and only when he was backed into a corner. I asked Donald Trump on more than one occasion whether he was racist.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: And I asked you last time. I said some people were shocked. If you were racist. You knew why I was asking you that. Are you racist?
TRUMP: 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.
TRUMP: I'm a person -- no, not at all. I am a person who happens to be very smart and happen to have a street sense and I know where things are going.
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 Islamaphobic or whatever it is, that has to bother you or compare you to Hitler. There are newspapers covers that...
TRUMP: You know what these things are all about?
LEMON: Does not bother you?
TRUMP: No. If things are true, if that 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 it's so false. And honestly, I don't hear it often.
LEMON: If you're a racist, you probably wouldn't care. He said the least racist. I'll let you decide. The one thing I do know, there were two tragedies this weekend, one in Charlottesville, the other at Bedminster in New Jersey.
Now this, protesters outside Trump Tower here in New York City tonight. The president arriving at his apartment just about one hour ago. It is the first time he has been back in Trump Tower since his inauguration.
I want to bring in now CNN political analyst April Ryan, White House correspondent for the American Urban Radio Networks, our senior political analyst, David Gergen, and Hawes Spencer. He's a long time Charlottesville journalist who is currently assisting NPR and the New York Times.
Good evening to all of you. Thank you so much for joining us this evening. Listen, I want to talk to you guys about what's going on. David, let's turn to the president's response in Charlottesville on Saturday. Here it is. We'll discuss.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides. On many sides. It's been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. It's been going on for a long, long time. It has no place in America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, David, are presidencies built on moments? Or was it just a missed opportunity?
DAVID GERGEN, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST, CNN: Presidencies are built on moments, Don. You can remember in Bill Clinton's administration in Oklahoma City when the bombing occurred there, and Bill Clinton at that time was his popularity had gone way down. He went to Oklahoma City. He was a healing force. The country rallied behind him and turned around his presidency.
By contrast, George W. Bush didn't respond well to Katrina. He flew over for reasons that had more to do with trying not to get in the way. But it appeared that he was totally indifferent. It terribly wounded him. This is a moment that is wounding Donald Trump despite his statement
today. Because for 48 hours, he's seemed basically indifferent. And he had later an argument that both sides are essentially equally responsible for the horrors and the violence we've seen in Charlottesville which simply wasn't true. The country knew that.
And countries -- and the country in moments like this, judges, our president, by whether he chooses the right or the wrong. The moral right or the easy wrong. In this case, the president chose the easy wrong. He was indifferent to the kind of hatred that's coming out of the KKK and the neo-Nazis and the white supremacists. It took him 48 hours to recover from that.
So, today, his statement, which was much more than we wanted originally. Seemed forced. It seemed grudging as if -- as if it wasn't something he believed. What he really believed were the angry tweets he sent out in the morning and this evening.
LEMON: And I thought he made it clear this weekend, David, exactly -- listen I have to say that I'm just I'm always honest here.
LEMON: Made sometimes to a fault in front of the TV cameras. But as I was -- I was watching people on this network and other networks reflexively defending this president and I could not believe it.
[22:10:00] The president said what he had to say. And if he had to say something different, he would have said it because he has done it many, many times before.
LEMON: I don't understand how people can put themselves in a position to say that anything he said initially on Saturday was right. It was absolutely wrong. There was no other side to racism or bigotry or any phobia or anything like that. It was just disgusting to watch people do it.
GERGEN: Well, you know, I have some sympathy for the people who become his spokesmen because they're caught, you know, trying to pledge loyalty to him, trying to put the best face they can and yet knowing deep down this, you know, what they're defending is indefensible.
GERGEN: And you know, we've had a number of people on this network, you and I who have had friends who have come and gone on this network, who have been, you know, wrestling with these issues. I think the problem is Donald Trump himself. You know, frankly, he keeps talking about love in the country and wants affection in the country. He cannot address the hatred in the country until he addresses the hatred in his own heart.
LEMON: Very well said. April? This is the president today. Forty eight hours later. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We are renegotiating trade deals and making them good for the American worker. And it's about time. Our economy is now strong. The stock market continues to hit record highs. Unemployment is at a 16- year low and businesses are more optimistic than ever before.
Companies are moving back to the United States and bringing many thousands of jobs with them.
Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: First, April, Jeff Zeleny of this network reports that the president insisted on the economic remarks at the top of the statement because he wanted to give the, quote, "full picture" of how he sees things. Not wanting to talk about Charlottesville in a vacuum. What do you think?
APRIL RYAN, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST, CNN: It kind of goes back to that very poignant statement that David Gergen just made. How can you deal with hatred in the country, when you have to deal with it in your own heart.
That was a poignant statement and reflects the question, or the answer to the question. Why did the president deal with the economy? He wanted to buffer it. You know, this is what I'm doing in the midst of this ugly piece. This is what's happening and this is what I've done for you.
But you know, you have people who you've been questioned about the economy right now. They are saying, you know, he is still causing on an economy that the prior President Barack Obama left for him. He's dealing with great residue.
But when you deal with the issue of race, when you deal with the issue of this passion on both sides, it stands on its own. Economy is one thing. He's been talking about that. This is an issue where someone died. This is an issue where people have been screaming literally since this president ran for the Oval Office. Talking about coverts, how his words have vibration and those vibrations now centered in Charlottesville, Virginia around this confederate statute, they're taking down the statue.
This president could have had a moment, he could have had a moment that could have been poignant and he could have really sealed the deal for those two days of silence. He could have made it stand alone. But he chose to talk about his economy, what he's doing and then go on to Charlottesville like it was almost a side note.
But yes, he did call people out. But it did not rank the way I've seen other presidents deal with it to include George W. Bush with Katrina. Yes, he failed on Katrina but he tried to just keep drilling home that he was sorry and he wanted to fix it.
LEMON: He didn't try, he didn't make as many excuses, right.
RYAN: To Barack Obama -- right.
LEMON: It was at the very least...
RYAN: After Brownie -- after Brownie you don't know...
LEMON: Right. A heck of a job and run.
RYAN: Yes. He tried to correct them, right.
LEMON: This was to say the least, a missed opportunity. And there's a lot in there that tonight at the top of the show.
RYAN: Missed opportunity.
LEMON: But this was -- this was one of the worst moments of this presidency so far.
[22:15:02] Hawes, you were there on Saturday reporting for the New York Times. Describe what you saw.
HAWES SPENCER, CHARLOTTESVILLE JOURNALIST: The streets of Charlottesville were transformed from the usual nice little town to really literally a war zone. We've been fearing it for a month because we had the KKK a month ago as sort of a dress rehearsal. But had no idea what would happen.
LEMON: You took this picture. I'm going to put this picture up of James Alex Fields before the deadly attack with the car.
LEMON: What was he saying?
SPENCER: Yes. Well, that was a moment when Dr. Cornell West, the Harvard scholar was standing right out here on market street and he was linked arm in arm with about 20 clergy and they were singing some really uplifting and spiritual songs and chants.
And it was -- that was a Charlottesville moment or what I would call a Charlottesville moment. And over my shoulder, I heard very different chants. People were saying build the wall. Get off our streets commie scum. And I turned around and I turned on my tape recorder and had my camera simultaneously. And I was recording these chants and I was taking pictures and I had no idea at the time that I was recording the suspect in the fatal driving incident. That's a strange feeling. I don't know if you saw me earlier looking over my shoulder again and
making hand gestures. I mean, we're all on edge. I heard three loud reports while you were talking with the other guests, and my mind went to gunshots. Because Charlottesville is scared. I'm sort of scared.
LEMON: I can only imagine. And the fear is that, what, someone is going to come up and get you or you're just on edge because you don't know? What's the fear?
SPENCER: You know, there were just there's someone -- there were rumors going around town last night, one of the planned vigils for the victim was canceled out of fears that it was going to turn into violence. Luckily, there was an impromptu vigil that took place at the site of the incident. And hundreds of Charlottesvillians turned out. People from different races and different walks of life. It was very grassroots.
You know, people brought flowers and drew chalk greetings and statements on the pavement. And it was nice but one of my three kids showed up and my first thought was, besides it was beautiful that you're here, are you safe? It's just kind of a scary time.
LEMON: It's a scary time for the entire country. I think people this weekend, David, felt fear and more than outrage. I think people were depressed. It was depressing and sad to see what was happening in our country and then to see the president just completely blow an opportunity to bring the country together with a terrible statement.
And then the fallout is, you know, one CEO already dropped out. The only African-American CEO man on his, I should say on his advisory committee and then tonight Kevin Plank, the CEO of Under Armour now said he will be dropping out. He's going to resign from the manufacturing council.
You know, Trump thinks that he's the ultimate businessman. Do you think these resignations will start to impact him?
GERGEN: Well in each case the White House...
LEMON: This is for David. This is for David.
LEMON: Go ahead, David.
GERGEN: I'm sorry. Don, in each case the White House invited the CEOs to work with the president to provide counsel to him. In some cases I know there was some resistance within their own organizations about doing this. But they did and they did it for love of country.
But now they felt there are four of them now who have resigned. I would imagine that's going to put pressure on some others from within their own organizations. Because, you know, business communities are much more sensitive to
sort of rights and wrongs and morality today than they have been in the past. You know, with gay rights and many other things. As you know they've been more sensitive.
[22:19:56] But I do want to go back to this -- this is not over. Fear now stalks a lot of communities. Here in Boston, Don, the word has spread that the Holocaust Memorial has been torn down by a group who knows exactly whom what they reports are fragmented at this point.
But we hear about fear, you know, stalking the streets of Charlottesville. My hometown of North Carolina and Durham there's been desecration of a monument. And so this is something the country needs to address. There is, we are not just pulverized but we're pulling apart as a people. We have not -- we've had incident of terrorism before. But this kind of with a KKK emboldened once again.
I grew up with the KKK in North Carolina. As you said earlier and sounded eloquently, you know, people who belong to the KKK had to hide behind sheets. They did not want their identities disclosed. But here are people around the streets without the sheets. Very emboldened to feel and brazen to say, you know, we're here, we're going to take it back. The rest of you people, you black people, you people from Mexico and Latin America, you brown people.
LEMON: The Jews.
GERGEN: And people from other country.
GERGEN: Go. We don't want you here. We want the majority back then. We haven't face that in a long, long time not since the days of Jim Crow who we have such open hostility being shown across races, across ethnicities.
LEMON: It's surprising to me. And you said you grew up in the south. I grew up in Louisiana. Again, David Duke was...
GERGEN: Yes, you went to LSU.
LEMON: I went to LSU.
LEMON: The Klan used to hand out literature in front of my high school on Groom Road in Baker, Louisiana, on weekends. We had a prom, this was back in the '80s that was not school sponsored because they didn't want us mixing or it was some sort a religious reason or whatever.
One of my friends lived down the street from the Grand Wizard of the KKK. His name was John Dupree and my mom didn't want me to go at his house. I know the Klan. They used to try to hide behind as you said sheets.
LEMON: Now, and then you didn't know who was walking among you, how many times during the day did you come in contact with someone like that. Now they just don't care. They're out in the open.
GERGEN: Right. Why is that happening? We'll discuss that right after this break.
GERGEN: I know they just -- it's terribly distressing.
LEMON: Hold your thoughts. We'll be right back.
[22:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: President Trump waiting a full 48 hours before condemning nep- Nazis and white supremacist for the deadly violence on Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia.
I'm going to bring in now Joseph Pinion, he's the outreach chair for the New York State young republicans, CNN political commentators Nina Turner and Van Jones, and syndicated talk radio host John Fredericks, former co-chair for the Trump campaign in Virginia.
Good evening to all of you. Let's have an honest and great conversation. I'm so happy that all of you are on this evening.
The president's apprehension, Van Jones to finally call out white supremacist and neo-Nazis by name have a lot of us questioning his motives, and frankly, whether or not he is racist. Some people are asking why did it take the president so long to say what any decent person would say about these vile groups in half a second?
VAN JONES, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CNN: Well, he has some deep conflict. I don't know if it's a moral conflict and he may be agrees with these people. If it's a political conflict and he feels like he has to, this part of his base, he wants their support, he doesn't want to let them down.
There's some deep conflict in him about this. It is not the president when he's going after you, Don, or anybody else. And so, it's worrying.
But I think the one thing that I want to say very clearly and I don't think we've said this enough. He's the father of a Jewish daughter. His daughter is Jewish. His son-in-law is Jewish. And the level of anti-Jewish vile and just the vile and the venom that you heard on the streets out there was as bad as the anti-black stuff and in some ways, and sometimes each worse.
LEMON: Even worse.
JONES: To not even -- now he supposedly, Donald Trump, he doesn't care about anybody else, but he loves his family and he loves his family. He loves his daughter above everybody else. And his daughter's faith was being insulted. And he couldn't even stick up for his own child. There is something deeply wrong here with this president when it comes to anti-Jewish, anti-black, bigotry. And I don't understand it.
LEMON: Yes. John, some of the president's supporters believe that the president's mini-sized speech on Saturday was enough. Though many republicans did not -- a lot of republican spoke out and denounced the president's comments. But when white supremacists used the president's ambiguity as vindication, I mean, isn't that a problem?
JOHN FREDERICKS, SYNDICATED TALK RADIO HOST: Yes. Don, look, while many of us appreciated the president's statements today, it was a day late, it was a dollar short and it was woefully inadequate. But this president has to do with -- what President Trump has to do is he has to unequivocally totally ex-communicate these people from his -- from the party. His movement, things he believes in. He should say I don't want you. I don't want your votes at all.
He needs to have a President Clinton, a Bill Clinton sister soldier moment. He's not had that. You know, if you go back to the early '60s with the conservative movement was first gaining steam, Barry Goldwater and Bill Buckley made a strategic decision to completely ex- communicate the John Burke society because they thought they were nuts and they were conspiracy theorists and that they would tarnish the conservative movement in the country.
They've got together. They did that. You've not heard of the John Burke society since.
FREDERICKS: What President Trump has to do is tell these people they have no place. Look, these are domestic terrorists, Don.
FREDERICKS: We're not talking about removing statues. They were walking around the streets of Charlottesville with Swastikas.
FREDERICKS: With riot gear.
LEMON: Yes. And listen, I have to remind people and you're saying this, a day late and a dollar short...
FREDERICKS: This is domestic -- this is domestic violence, Don. You got to call it out for what it is and you have to say these people have no place in this movement.
LEMON: OK. I got you. John, I appreciate your honesty. And that I just want to and the only reason I stopped you this because just for the sake of time and I want to get other people in.
I have to remind people you were the co-chair of his Virginia campaign which is, you know, and you have been a staunch Trump supporter. But on this one, you say he's a day late and dollar short. So, I appreciate you being honest. But Nina, I think he had you until the sister soldier moment. I want to...
NINA TURNER, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CNN: Yes, Don.
LEMON: I don't want to get side tracks and talk about all of that. But what are your thoughts, I know you want to get in.
TURNER: Yes, no, you read me right on the sister soldier. We were saying that for another show because there's absolutely no comparison to sister soldier and President Clinton and what's going on in this country right now.
I do applaud you, Don, for going back down memory lane. Because it's easy for us and people should have righteous indignation about what happened...
LEMON: And by the way, Nina, thank you for saying that just because you know how people are reacting on social media. The only reason it was that short, and if you feel like, I glossed over slavery or whatever, it's only for time purposes. I was trying to show people, take people, and give people a short history lesson. You can't do it all with even in a matter of two hours on a show.
[22:30:06] So, I'm sorry if I cut you off.
TURNER: No, you can't.
TURNER: No, and listen, maybe we do a whole series.
TURNER: But it is important to know from when we came as James Walton...
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
[22:30:00] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: ... people, and give people a short history lesson. You can't do it all with even in a matter of two hours on a show.
So, I'm sorry if I cut you off. (CROSSTALK)
NINA TURNER, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CNN: No, you can't.
TURNER: No, and listen, maybe we do a whole series.
TURNER: But it is important to know from when we came as James Walton was once said so we know where we have to go.
Listen, what happened in Virginia is despicable in despite -- and despicable in every single way and every American of good consciousness should understand this. You know, lynching took place in this country, you know, in the late 1800s, all the way to the late 1960s. So this is not a lifetime ago.
You know, I can hear Nina Simone singing Mississippi Goddam right now and I can hear her also singing strange fruit right now. People need to understand that there's real flesh and blood, there's real trauma behind what happened in Charlottesville, in Virginia for African- American folks who are Jewish sisters and brothers. And that we cannot tolerate it.
And we need the president, not just in his words today. Because his words today were better than he say it 48 hours ago. But he still has a real opportunity to push policy. You know, Don, he took an oath to protect this country from all enemies, foreign and domestic.
LEMON: And domestic. Yes.
TURNER: And domestic terrorism, white supremacy is real, it is painful. It's in the consciousness and the DNA of this country. We collectively have to do something about it...
TURNER: ... starting with the president of the United States of America.
LEMON: Joseph, you have been sitting here very patiently as a republican. Young republican. What message is the president sending to the country on race when it takes a president multiple attempts to speak out against neo-Nazis and white supremacists and he still doesn't get it right. He bragged about the economy first. He took a black CEO on, on Twitter this morning. What kind of message does that send?
JOHN PINION, OUTREACH CHAIR, NEW YORK STATE YOUNG REPUBLICANS: I think realistically when you listen the president I think I told one of your producers earlier that someone who habitually speak in the language of over speak. Someone who is chronically exaggerating in his language. And so I think again when you contrast that with the type of comments
that were made on this past weekend and saying why is it that this president who is rarely circumspect all of a sudden when it comes to issues pertaining to people's color in this country, some they cannot articulate a coherent statement that condemns evil by its name.
I think that, again, when you find yourself, you know, with an issue where, you know, Senator Oren Hatch and Elizabeth Warren are in lock step and you are not with them you are probably on the wrong side of history. And so I think it's unfortunate that we find ourselves in this situation where something as clear as the individual who drove hundreds and thousands of miles to maim and kill people in the name of an ideology that 400,000 Americans died for, died trying to condemn, to push out, it's a difficult thing.
LEMON: I don't want to put you on the spot, but as a conservative, do you support the president?
PINION: I support -- you know, I'm not going to sit here and give a salute beyond tax reform. When we're talking about people who have died, when we are talking a shared nation's grief. So I think again that we have to understand there is a difference in this nation between, you know, having a sense of accountability, having a sense of purpose and also being able to, you know, say when people are wrong.
LEMON: OK. So, OK. But my question is for a republicans, when is enough, enough? Is this a bridge too far for you?
PINION: Well, I think, again, there's the bridge too far on the issue of race I think was passed a long time ago. I think for many people of color whether you're conservative or not. That issue came with, you know, the Central Park five. I think that issue came when, you know, from myself, listening to a president on a victory tour. Talking about, you know, thanking the many, many black people that who voted for him.
And even more so the black people who stayed home and didn't vote. You know, when I see that someone who, you know, I'm Joseph Pinion III. You know, my father was born in this country, his father was born in this country and his father him was born in this country. And I'm the first person born with all my rights in this nation. You know, I'm not a 50-year-old, I'm not a 40-year-old. I'm a 30 early 30 millennial.
LEMON: And the birtherism too.
PINION: Yes, and the birtherism. These are all things that are inherent in Donald Trump. The reality is, you know, we have that saying, right, I didn't vote for him but he's my president. I hope he does a good job. And I think that on both sides of the issue we've lost sight of what that statement is truly supposed to mean, that we are supposed to hold our president accountable but also inherent in that promise is the understanding that that person is going to work to represent the interest of all people and least try to make an entire nation, an entire tapestry feel as if they're embraced.
LEMON: Van Jones? What do you have to say? VAN JONES, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CNN: Look, well, first of all, I just think that the comments that are just made by our young republican were just extraordinary. I almost wish that we could just have a moment. That's real leadership. There's a moral clarity that we just heard that's sophisticated, it's nuanced.
Listen, there is a time to talk about tax policy. That's probably not today. I think that there is -- frankly, this is bringing out a lot of good in people.
[22:35:02] You know, often when there's tragedies like this, whether it's 9/11 or Fort Hood or something like this, it's a mixed response and then suddenly all this good comes out. And I think a Republican Party that can begin to return to its roots of being honest and being frankly, nuance sophisticated. Smart about things sometimes and get away from this nonsense would be good for the country.
As a democrat I want democrats to be better. I want republicans to be better so we can get better. We've been in a race to the bottom because of President Trump's attitude. I'm beginning to see people break away from it. You don't have to denounce the president. But to be able to speak the way we just heard, that there are things that are just too sacred to play around with that is a healthy response to a horrible tragedy. I'm just glad to be on the show tonight.
LEMON: So, I have a question. So today, I said it at the beginning of the show. You can put everybody back up. Thank you.
So, today, I've been all weekend just depressed about this and I needed to clear my head. And I went for a run today, Van, and guys here, and I listened to one of Dr. King's speeches or as many as I could on my run. And there was the one where he said don't let anyone steal your manhood, right.
And my question was, when is the Republican Party going to get its manhood back? Has Donald Trump stolen the Republican Party's manhood? Is this the party of Trump now? Has the Republican Party gotten away from its core values? And that's the reason why I ask Mr. Pinion when is enough, enough.
And I'm going to ask Joe -- John Fredericks on the other side of the break when is enough, enough as well. And we're also going to talk about the people around the president, like his chief strategist, Steve Bannon, like Stephen Miller like others who may be advising these presidents -- this president to say something like, on many sides.
Protests outside of Trump Tower in New York. We'll be right back.
[22:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: So back now with my panel. And before the break, John Fredericks, this is for you. And I said, you know, when is enough, enough? When I said, don't let anyone steal your manhood. And by that I meant humanity. When is enough, enough? What is the breaking point for all these histrionics with this president for the Republican Party?
JOHN FREDERICKS, SYNDICATED TALK RADIO HOST: Well, it's not here, Don. It's not because of this issue. And the other thing I'm going to say is this. This is now the party of Donald Trump and he leads a movement and that movement is based on jobs, economic equality and getting out of these wars.
And but for the president as the leader of a movement and the transformation of the Republican Party in America, words matter. And this is what the -- this is what this White House has got to grasp. This just isn't about poll numbers or saying something or who got what vote on one end.
This president is leading a movement in America that is not going away. Now, what happened this weekend, despicable and the president needs to completely disassociate from these people.
FREDERICKS: But you got to draw a line, Don, in the sand. The line in the sand is human decency. And if they're concerned about a 10,000 people in America that might not back their presidency, you got to be kidding me?
LEMON: There's a big problem.
FREDERICKS: Roll these people out and get them out of there now and you can't wait another day.
LEMON: So, Joseph...
FREDERICKS: Not another moment can go by, Don.
LEMON: Joseph, are you OK with what Trump is doing to the party and how he's dealing with these issues?
PINION: I think when you talk about the issue of race particularly, there is no question that this is not necessarily acceptable of what I think many people of my generation expect of the Republican Party. You know, I think many people who are older than me talk about we're the party of Lincoln kind of until we're blue in the face.
You know, it's often remark, you know, as my grandfather told me that, you know, the power of your legacy depends on the work that you do in the present. So, we're at this crossroads right now where it's important for us to be able to articulate the fact that these individuals do not speak for us. That these individuals are not, you know, do not...
LEMON: What about this president?
PINION: And with regards to? LEMON: You said these individuals do not speak for us.
PINION: Well, I think, again, the reality is Donald Trump is the president. I think that again we do ourselves a disservice when we sit here and act as if somehow he is not our president, or individual -- and I think...
LEMON: That's not what I'm saying.
FREDERICKS: No, not you, but...
LEMON: That's not what I'm saying. But I want you to understand the question. But when is it, like what is the -- what is the breaking -- because someone can hand me a million dollars, but if they don't give opportunities or they don't think that the people I love should even deserve to be married or should have the same rights as anybody else or whatever, it doesn't -- I don't want the million dollars.
I don't want the small amount of tax cut or I don't want what other rhetoric they're going to -- I don't want a wall if you don't love my daughter, if you don't love my mother. If you don't love the people I love, if you don't think that they should exist.
LEMON: So then what is it? Money is money. It's not human.
PINION: I think the reality is that for some people there will be no wall. I think that that's the reality of America and I think that's the danger of us, you know, forgetting history and looking at the issue of race through a partisan prism. I think that often we can look at the history, the totality of history and say there's a revolving door between both parties and raise to the goals where we can find the most oxygen.
And the reality is that right now, unfortunately, that oxygen is found on the right. We have to do a much better job. And that mean that starts with the president, but ultimately, it also begins with people like myself. People in the party. People that I work with every day saying that you know what, we are going to demand more of this president.
LEMON: Van, I want to talk about Steve Bannon. But do you understand that just of my question is how do I tell my nephew or explain to my niece that, well, it's OK that someone can grab your genitals. Yes, they can grab your genitals but I'm going to get, you know, I'm going to get some -- I want to make more money because I'm going to get lower taxes. That's what he promised.
Or I'm going to get a wall to stop immigrants, but it's OK. Let him, you can grab your, you know, genitals or -- how do I -- how do you reconcile that? I don't understand that.
JONES: Well, I think there's a moral challenge now and I think actually both political parties are being forced to look in the mirror. I think both parties have drawn our circles too small. I think it's obvious on the right that under Trump's leadership, it is true, there are a lot of parts of his program, if you didn't look at who was saying it, it sounds like Bernie Sanders. He is talking about making America strong and the jobs and all of the things that were just mentioned.
[22:45:03] But he mixes it in with a lot of toxic crap against Muslims, transgender people, against Mexicans, against all kinds of people. And so...
LEMON: Against women.
JONES: Against women. So what happens is that circle winds up being too small. That's why three million or three more people voted against him than voted for him. At the same time the democrats can sometimes draw our circle too small and not understand that there's real pain in some of these red states and red counties and red cities with the opioid epidemic and the joblessness. And we haven't spoken to that as powefully as we should have.
And so both parties got caught drawing the circles too small. And so now the challenge is, do democrats just sit back and talk about how Trump is terrible or do we actually draw our circle bigger and catch some of the folks where...
LEMON: OK. You're talking a political perspective. I'm talking about a human. Listen, I'm not -- I'm not going after you, OK, so don't think that. But one is a moral example, right? Moral clarity. And the other one is well, maybe politically our tent wasn't big enough. I understand that. But when morally, I'm saying. For the person who doesn't...
JONES: Well, on that -- look, on that one, brother, let me tell you, you cannot justify...
LEMON: Any of it. The racism, the homophobia, the bigotry, the anti- Semitism.
JONES: No, listen, there's no amount of money.
JONES: There's no amount of money that anybody can offer me, you or anybody to say, here, take this money. Now watch me brutalize this person.
JONES: Take this money and watch me hurt this person.
LEMON: Right. JONES: That, and yet, that's essentially what this process have allowed people to do. You can go and take your tax cut and make, and vote for somebody to put up a wall or chase somebody down the street because they don't have a good job. And that's not a partisan question. That's an American human question as well as party.
LEMON: Hey, so, Nina, let me get you in. Because let's talk about the people around the president. The president is a big boy, he's a grown man. House minority leader Nancy Pelosi and other democrats renewing calls to fire Steve Bannon, and you have calls for Gorka, Sebastian Gorka to go, for Stephen Miller to go. Is the company that president keeps in the White House a problem?
TURNER: It is. I mean, mean, the president has to make a choice. Either Steve Bannon or the American people. Steve Bannon or doing what's right. Steve Bannnon should never have been there in the first place.
You know, my grandmother always said that you can put truth in the river five days after lie but truth don't catch up and the truth has caught up with the president, the truth has caught up with America. And this is a day reckoning for -- this is a moment of reckoning for us.
We always have these moments that remind us generation after generation that we're not quite there yet. I would argue that we need some type of truth and reconciliation to go on in this country, in the same way that they did in South Africa. We have never really done that.
And, Don, that's why, again, I commend you for going back so that we can understand what is happening in the present. None of this stuff is disconnected from who we are, our DNA. And we always talk about this is not a country that stands for this. No it is a country that stands for this because it was founded on racism and sexism. This country was.
But the one thing that we can't say about the United States of America is that we are a nation of progress. And so in the 21st century, what rubs us this way, what causes us to shake is that now we're at a moment where, my God, that progress, that forming of a more perfect union is being attacked right now.
But we have the collective power to turn this thing around. It is bigger than the president, than this president. It is bigger than this president. This is about all of us. But he has an obligation as long as he's in that seat to defend this country from all of its enemies and we're dealing with a very vile domestic enemy right now.
LEMON: And we're all Americans right here sitting here and we want our country to be better. Thank you all. Appreciate it.
When we come back, two eyewitness, a politician and his chief of staff to Saturday's assault, they'll tell us what they saw and what they think should happen, next. Live pictures of Trump tower. Protests because the president is there tonight in New York City.
[22:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: You've seen at the rally and protests in Charlottesville turned into carnage that claim one life. And I want to show some video but I have to warn you that it is very graphic. It is the car that is plowing into the crowd killing one woman and injuring others. Unbelievable. Then it backs up down the street. And you can see it as people run away.
Let's take a look. There it is. I want to talk about that with two then who saw the violence unfold, Tom Perriello, he's a former democratic congressman from Virginia who represents at Charlottesville, and Brennan Gilmore, he's a former chief of staff for Congressman Perriello who shot the video.
Gentlemen, good evening. Thank you for joining us. Glad that you're doing OK. Tom, you were an eyewitness to the awful violence this weekend in Charlottesville. Tell me what it was like to be there. What did you see?
THOMAS PERRIELLO, (D) FORMER UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: Well, you know, Brennan was the one that shot the video and saw that particular piece. But it was preceded really by two and a half hours of violent skirmishes throughout the city. People came here with a white supremacist ideology that was hell bent on causing trouble.
It was part of a deliberate three-month strategy that started with a tiki torch rally a few months ago, then a KKK rally a month ago to be able to see people's tactics both on the police side and the non- violent protest side and then really have this as their coming out party which they were quite explicit about wanting to be seen, hoping to intimidate, but I know Charlottesville will be stronger and how we push back.
LEMON: Brennan, so, as he said, you captured that sickening moment, the driver slammed into the crowd of counter protesters on Saturday. I want to play it again. But should warn our viewers again that it's graphic. What was going through your mind when this happened?
BRENNAN GILMORE, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF FOR CONGRESSMAN PERRIELLO: I mean, it was a very chaotic scene as we've all seen. I was there actually filming a group of anti-racist marchers who were coming up the street in somewhat of a celebratory mood thinking that after the state of emergency had been applied here that these racist Nazis would be banished from Charlottesville.
And they were coming up the street and then all of a sudden I heard behind me the car which we've all seen just careening down an empty narrow street from almost two blocks away, just slow down slightly and then accelerate into the crowd, sending bodies flying everywhere and resulting of course, in the tragic loss of Heather Heyer.
LEMON: So, after the car hit the crowd and again, we have a shorter clip of -- that's a closer up than the other video, again very graphic. But after -- there it is right there. After the car hit the crowd of protesters, describe what you saw and heard, Brennan?
GILMORE: Well, in the immediate aftermath and even during while the car was still in the crowd, people started streaming towards the site of the attack.
[22:55:02] And then people started coming out from the scene. There were police on the scene nearly immediately. And empty shortly thereafter. People were, you know, falling, bleeding, collapsing left and right. I gave first aid to a woman who collapsed right in front of me and then, you know, realizing just how tense and vile the atmosphere in Charlottesville had become, I left the scene to go home.
LEMON: Yes. So before this all happened, how was the crowd behaving? What was this protest like, Brennan?
GILMORE: I only got to see the protest for a little bit as it came up the street. But they were like I said, in somewhat of a celebratory mood. You know, they were as far as I could tell a collection of anti- racist who's had come here to counter protest against this vile ideology that was on display in Charlottesville this weekend.
PERRIELLO: Yes, I'd been in this park for about two hours before that. And you saw groups of 30 to 40 of the white supremacists who would circle around and go through the crowd and provoke. I had relatives thrown to the ground, friends who were punched in the face. They were carrying water bottles that looked like they were throwing water on people, but in fact, it was laced with pepper spray and mace, so many of us including myself were hit multiple times with the pepper spray.
This was in conjunction with a set of militia that were dressed to look like National Guard operatives with full AR-15s open carry, earpieces in, doing military formations to make it look like they were in fact the state officials. Whether that was their intent or not.
All of that created a very intense scene that led to at least a dozen fistfights with thrown, punches thrown by the white supremacists as well as carrying wooden swords and wooden shields for some reason I'm not sure about. But it was really two hours of escalation at that point before the police stepped in and called the state of emergency.
LEMON: Tom, the president received a lot of criticism from people on both sides of the aisle for how he responded to this violence in Charlottesville. And you tweeted this today. You said, "Are we open to the possibility that the president is a white supremacist and authoritarian, not that he hailed -- not that he failed to get the statement right?" That's a very strong statement. Do you really believe the president could be a white supremacist?
PERRIELLO: Well, you know, it's Occam's razor. At some point you look at this pattern of behavior and say why is that he would be so hesitant. Certainly it could be hubris it could be arrogance. But it certainly seems to be one area where he's not willing to push back. And he essentially got pushed around by David Duke this weekend. He put out a neutral tweet. David Duke said, no, no, you're not going to sell out your white
tribalist base and Trump backed off and then gave the statement that he did. He still has not issued in my mind a real statement. He has issued words but a statement would be to be fire Steve Bannon, Gorka and Miller and say I'm so incensed about this rise of white supremacist and Nazis who claim to be my allies that I'm going to send a signal.
That would be a real statement. That would be more leadership. And I believe its incumbent on moral leaders like Mike Pence to say, hey, it's their jobs or mine on the line here. This is an absolute moment in our country that calls for that kind of moral leadership. That would be what a statement looks like.
LEMON: Tom Perriello, Brennan Gilmore, thank you.
When we come back, strong criticism coming from all sides towards the president. We're going to take a look at the long-term impact that could plague his presidency because of his long delay in addressing the racism and violence in Charlottesville.
[23:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)