Return to Transcripts main page
James Murdoch Of Fox Slams Trump's Response To Charlottesville; President Trump Blames Both Side For Charlottesville Violence; Evolution Of trump's Charlottesville Comments. Aired 11p - Midnight ET
Aired August 17, 2017 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[23:00:00] DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: We're going to start with breaking news, a major American business executive slamming President Trump for his response to the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. This is CNN tonight. I'm Don Lemon. James Murdock, the CEO of 21st Century Fox saying the events in Charlottesville and the President's reaction should concern all Americans and he is backing up his words with strong action. I want to go right away to Jonathan Greenblatt, a CEO and national director of the anti defamation league and Ambassador Nicolas Burns, a former undersecretary of State for political affairs. I'm so happy that you're here, both of you. Jonathan, I'm glad that you're here tonight because Rupert Murdock, who is the CEO -- James Murdock, I should say, is the CEO of Fox. The son of conservative Rupert Murdock lashing out on this president over his reaction in Charlottesville he is pledging to donate $1 million to your organization, the anti-defamation league. You spoke to him. What's your reaction?
JONATHAN GREENBLATT, CEO AND NATIONAL DIRECTOR OF THE ANTI DEFAMATION LEAGUE: I'm certainly humbled by James's generosity. It's an incredibly bold thing to do, especially in a moment like you said, when he has a particular set of corporate interests to play. He is an American and what we saw in Charlottesville and the reaction of the past week has been in contrast to our core American values.
LEMON: So when you get James Murdock on the phone, what did you think?
GREENBLATT: Well, I've gotten a lot of these calls over the past week, to be honest, Don. We got calls in advance of the March. We got calls literally over the weekend with people saying how is this happening in my country that there's a debate over Nazis marching in the streets?
LEMON: And it was somehow leaked, right?
GREENBLATT: James stepped forward and said we want to do something, he and his wife, Catherine. He not only extended to me he would be making a contribution, he made a personal private note to his friends that basically said how upset that they were and encouraging people to take action.
LEMON: And it's been reported and CNN obtained Murdock's email. It says we watched this last week -- "we watched this last week in Charlottesville and the reaction by the President of the United States concerns all of us as Americans and free people. I can't even believe I have to write this. Standing up to Nazis is essential, there are no good Nazis, and you hear that? Or Klansman or terrorists, Democrats, Republicans and others must all agree on this and it compromises nothing for them to do so. Ambassador, what do you make of this alignment of business and political leaders on this President's response? Coming from the CEO of 21st century Fox, which is a conservative leaning news organization and him writing that saying no good Nazis. I think that is in direct response to saying there were fine people in the crowd.
NICHOLAS BURNS, FORMER AMBASSADOR OF NATO: Well, I think this is an extraordinary moment in American politics. I can't remember a time -- my first job in government was the Jimmy Carter administration. I can't remember a time when a President in one week has lost the support of his own political party and been repudiated by that Party and now the most important business leaders of the country to have three of his business counsels disbanded and it's because he is lost his bearings and shown incredible moral weakness, on the central issue on American history that we built around this noble idea of human equality and he is rewriting the history of our country. He doesn't know the history of the civil war. He is confusing things and showing moral cowardice and paying the consequences for it.
LEMON: Explain to me when you say he is lost his bearings, what do you mean?
BURNS: Imagine an American President in the 21st century trying to drag us back into the conflict over the civil war of what it meant, of why the war was fought, of why we should not have memorials to confederate generals because they tried to disband the country, they rebelled against the union and obviously people thought the conflict ended in April 1865 and Donald Trump now brings us back to the central issues of that war and doesn't speak against neo-Nazis and white supremacy after everything Martin Luther King did and the civil rights act. He is dragging us back on the central issues of the country's history, of a bitter time.
LEMON: We fought the war and we won that one.
[23:05:03] BURNS: And we won that too.
LEMON: Jonathan I want both of you to listen to this. I don't think this is played enough. I know you see it but every time I'm struck like it's the first time. Here they are.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PROTESTERS: Jews will not replace us. Jews will not replace us. Jews will not replace us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: You know what -- 2017 I can't believe this is happening in the United States and talk to me about the kind of anti-Semitism we're seeing in this country. GREENBLATT: Today is the 122nd anniversary of the lynching of Leo
Frank, this hateful anti-Semitic murder that happened in Georgia after this man was falsely accused of killing a young girl. But here's the thing. We will replace those people. We will replace their inhumanity with humanity. We will replace their indecency with decency. Jews, African American, Latino, white folks, people across all races, all faiths, all sexual orientations. That kind of prejudice, not only has no place in our politics. It has no place in the public.
LEMON: As I was watching the coverage over the weekend and it was just disgusting to me and I threat be known people were reflectively making excuses for this President. And what I thought was sadly lacking in a lot of the coverage was the anti-Semitic stuff, there was no one standing up for my Jewish brothers and sisters because this was more than just black and white. The reason I am saying that is because people in this election and now a days don't tend to prioritize or put in a high enough priority, racism or bigotry of any kind. Money and economics seem to mean more than those issues. What's going on?
GREENBLATT: It's funny. As a Jewish community we've achieved in so many ways. We've exceeded the expectation of our parents and grandparents. But when see a rally like that, when you hear that kind of rhetoric which is lifted right out of the pages of Nazi Germany, it's a reminder that our position is precarious and we can't take it for granted.
LEMON: He mentioned the monuments and him not understanding the history of the country. We talked about how Germany has wrestled with this issue and doing a better job at it than us here in the United States.
GREENBLATT: It would appear that way. My friend has talked a great deal about how Germany has wrestled to the ground the ghosts of its Nazi past. We have failed to do that, particularly in the south with our confederate past. The time to do so is now.
LEMON: Because people are afraid to discuss it and if you talk about, you're a race baiter. Unless you teach people history -- it talks about how elementary school children have to go visit the holocaust, it is part of the curriculum, right? Should we do that in the United States where you have to go to a plantation, you have to visit slave cabins, you have to go to a cotton field to understand the history of this country?
GREENBLATT: He said those who don't understand history are doomed to repeat it. There's no doubt we have to have this.
BURNS: We've got to learn the history. We got to teach the kids the history, up here in England where I live, if you look at many of the graves of the soldiers who fought in the civil war and they say he fought in the war of the rebellion. It was a rebellion against our union. It's the central event in the history of the United States. Every child in this country has to learn that history to be a citizen and to understand the moral weakness, the depravity of what President Trump is trying to do in his idiotic statements this week.
LEMON: And pun intended. We cannot white wash history. We cannot teach people things about Robert E. Lee or about the confederacy or southern pride that aren't true, because then you continue to perpetuate a lie and then you have these racists marching in cities like they are now.
BURNS: And President Trump tweeted out this morning if we take down the statues of Lee and Stonewall Jackson, whose next, he said? Washington and Jefferson? Well the answer to that question is Washington and Jefferson, the first and third Presidents preserved the union. They didn't try to take the union down and divide it and end it. And that is exactly what the confederacy tried to do to the union over four years. It was the most horrible war we've ever fought in. More Americans died in that war than all the others fought together. If you look at the films of Ken Burns, Ken says for the great majority of all the films he is made, race is at the center of it. So for the President not to show moral leadership, he is abdicating the clear responsibility he has to all of us to lead us to a better place and he is leading us to a worse place this week.
[23:10:18] GREENBLATT: here is the good news, I think Ken is right. He is abdicated his moral leadership but he can't wait. I can tell you we are not going to wait. We're working with business executives. We're working now with mayors and have big news coming out on that front. Interfaith clergy, other nonprofits, the country can't wait for a President who just doesn't seem to get it.
LEMON: I want to play this. This is also from vice and this is specifically about the President's Jewish son in law, daughter and grandchildren. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm here to spread ideas, talk in the hopes that somebody more capable will come along and do that, somebody like Donald Trump who does not give his daughter to a Jew.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So Donald Trump but like more racist.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot more racist than Donald Trump. I don't think you could feel about race the way I do and watch that Kushner bastard walk around with that beautiful girl.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GREENBLATT: Look, it is inexplicable we're talking about this in the year 2017. I cannot believe Nazis have exceeded the table of national conversation. So to the question of Jews will not replace us, we will replace them.
LEMON: This is aimed specifically at the President's family. So his response is inexplicable. Except for one tweet, right, Jared and Ivanka have said nothing. I think the week before they may have been in Croatia and the week after I know for a fact they were in Vermont. They're senior advisors, what's going on with them?
GREENBLATT: I worked -- I've worked in the west wing. I don't really know how you get that -- I never had that leisure schedule myself.
LEMON: Silence speaks volumes. Thanks you, appreciate it.
When we come back, President Trump's remarks about Charlottesville are starkly similar to the rhetoric from different eras in American history like the Jim Crowe era. We are going to breakdown the statements with an expert. That is next.
[23:15:00] LEMON: Two key Republican Senators publicly calling out President Trump's response to the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia and calling him out by name, questioning his abilities to lead the nation, due the President's insistence that both sides, the white supremacists and counter protesters are to blame for the violence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN BOB CORKER, (R) TENNESSEE: The President has not yet -- has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability, confidence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we want to see from our President is clarity and moral authority and that moral authority is compromised when Tuesday happens. There's no question about that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Joining me now John McWhorter professor of linguistics in Columbia University and author of "Words on the move." a lot of words moving around, John. Especially lately, the President's comments on Charlottesville really evolved since it happened. Let's look and then we'll discuss it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides. 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. I think there's blame on both sides. You look at both sides, I think there's blame on both sides and I don't have any doubt about it and you don't have any doubt about it either.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: What do you think, John?
JOHN MCWHORTER, PROFESSOR OF LINGUISTICS, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: I think what we're dealing with is something we have talked about before. The way to understand the man is to understand him as a gum popping 12-year-old. Not even 14, but 12. That is how much context he has. He understands racism is bad. A 12-year-old understands that. But he also doesn't like this thing he is calling the alt-left because they don't like him and so when he thinks about the people that are really egregious, he thinks people who are racist and want to hurt people, of course that is not good, just like I shouldn't punch one of my friends but on the other hand he doesn't like the left, because they don't like him and he finds them shrill so it has to be both sides. I'm supposed to say that he is a racist to himself and he is dog whistling to a certain element of the electorate, etc. I don't think that analyst is necessary. I think it gives him more credit as a thinking being than is necessary. Steve Bannon has told him to watch out and he is probably got that in his ear and so he thinks well, my job is to not step on those people and he wouldn't want to anyway, because the people who want to do evil things such as take confederate statues down or combat racists, they're mean too, because they're mean to him.
LEMON: You don't think his world view has pushed us in that direction when you look at the birther thing and -- he was kind of prone to it anyway?
MCWHORTER: Sure, in a very ordinary way. I mean this is -- people of a certain age will recognize Archie Bunker, that racist uncle. He has certain unreconstructed primitive views and he doesn't even bother to hide them.
LEMON: yes, but it is different when this is the President of the United States.
LEMON: In language just yes or no, this is not a both sides issue?
MCWHORTER: No, it is not, not at all. And for the President to not understand that is an abomination.
LEMON: So let's talk about these monuments because he tweeted this morning "sad to see the history of our great culture being torn apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments. You can't change history, but you can learn from it. Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson. Who's next? Washington, Jefferson, so foolish and the beauty is being taken out of towns and parks will be greatly missed and never able be to comparably replaced. Why do you think he chose these words? Our history and saying you're changing the culture. Remember his response?
MCWHORTER: Yes. I think what this is all about is he doesn't like the idea that some people keep dwelling on the past. Once again that bar stool unsophisticated person or what a 12 year old would think. Let the past go. He doesn't understand how the past extends into the present. He doesn't understand what an unpleasant symbol might mean, because he is not a victim to one of them being of the ethnicity that he is.
[23:20:00] And so for him he sees that statues are pretty and I suppose in the aesthetic sense you could say that they are. He doesn't understand that those statue stand for people who fought to keep black people in chains. Now for him, of course, that just means let's not go back the past. But for most of us it means a great deal more and for him, he simply doesn't understand significance. Here's what it comes down to. Where's it going to go? Where's it going to stop? You could hear somebody saying this. This is such an ordinary thing? Where is it going to stop? George Washington and Thomas Jefferson did some pretty great things other than being slave holders in a time when no one was questioning it. Robert E. Lee, what did he get us? I hear he was nice. What he did was he fought to keep you and my ancestors in slavery and really that is it. I can't debate for the historians to come up with all of this trivia. And it would never occur to Donald Trump that is the difference between George Washington and Robert E. Lee.
LEMON: I am surprise that he likes him because Robert E. Lee's a loser.
MCWHORTER: Noble loser.
LEMON: Noble loser, but in his press conference, he keeps talking about the idea of removing confederate statues will lead to the removal of statues of some of America's most cherished founding fathers and that is a slippery slope that he seems to believe, because what he doesn't understand and what many Americans don't understand if you look at the history of Nazism in Germany, in Germany every elementary school kid has to visit a place where the holocaust took place, right? It's a culture of remembrance, rather than memorials of people who were the oppressor.
MCWHORTER: Yes, and let's say we're going to have a statue of Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee and the idea we're supposed to walk by these statues, let's face it, they are beautiful they were created to be beautiful and uplifting. The idea is small people in particular are supposed to think that is what we should have done. Those things were built not to make people feel bad. They were built to make people feel good. Of course Trump doesn't understand there is such thing as a moral trajectory that a nation makes and that this one, despite people who pretend it doesn't happen, has made quite a moral trajectory in many ways.
He doesn't know that and yet he is the most morally backwards President in that sense since Andrew Johnson in terms of who's in the White House and who understands where the country needs to go or at least knows to pretend. Linden Johnson was not Mr. Racial sensitivity, but when the chips came down he at least pretended and evolved. Trump's knuckles are dragging on the peanut shells of the floor of the tavern.
LEMON: I want to talk about the alt-right and the alt-left which the president invokes in his press conference. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: What about the alt-left that came charging at the, as you say,
the alt-right? Do they have any semblance of guilt? Let me ask you this, what about the fact they came charging with clubs in their hands, swinging clubs, do they have any problem? I think they do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: The alt-right and the -- what is the alt-left?
MCWHORTER: For one thing I learned alt-left is a term older than about 15 minutes ago but I doubt if he knew. He is just thinking there's an alt-right and alt means annoying. So alt-left is annoying left, because he doesn't like it? He is the sloppiest public speaker in the history of Homo sapiens. The idea that these alt-lefties trying to resist, even with their bodies, what these alt-right thugs were doing, the idea that he doesn't see the difference is really rather tragic. He simply doesn't think that the black thing or the Jewish thing is important at all. And that is fine. Neither does Archie Bunker, neither does the crazy uncle. But this is the President -- this is the sad thing, Don. I always said nobody was listening to me but I always said about a year ago the one thing Trump can't do is really screw up with black people. If he uses the "n" word or says something nakedly racist during the campaign that would take care of him in a way that even the grabbing the (BEEP) about the women didn't. But at this point he is done it but we can't get rid of him. Nobody's going to impeach this man because they don't have hearts either. It's a really nasty week.
[23:25:04] LEMON: Do you think the people who can keep him in check, do you think they're complicit in his believes as well, complicit in racism?
MCWHORTER: Yes, they are because they don't prioritize it. And as far as I'm often concerned, this is where I am controversial, I don't require all white people to prioritize black issues as much as we're often told but when someone's stepping over this particular line in such a vulgar, egregious way, I would think that we need to become one country and acknowledge there is something America has been about and learned. And any Republican who thinks a few mealy-mouthed tweets are doing their job on that is showing that Republican parody has become a non-party. But I think we've known that for a while.
LEMON: When you look at the terms they are using now, how do you think they compare to terms that we used during the civil rights era?
MCWHORTER: Which terms do you mean?
LEMON: Like the alt-right, alt-left, on both sides, extremism?
MCWHORTER: Civil rights era -- things were not as black and white, so to speak, as we seem to think. We tend to forget that ordinary middle class white people drinking their cocktails on the upper west side often thought of Martin Luther King as a rabble rouser. But in general, you said what you meant. We're at the point where we have to do this careful etiologist of the terms we use because things have gotten both more complicated and I think meaner. We're hiding behind the fact that a lot of us haven't changed as much as we'd like and can't make an articulate defense for it. It's a scary time. .
LEMON: If one of your students at Columbia came in and said some of things that he said about the lack of knowledge of historical, the history of this country and historical references and so on and so forth, what would you say to them?
MCWHORTER: They have books to read. I mean frankly the world book in encyclopedia in this case or the Wikipedia. And if you wanted to become an alt-rightist, I wouldn't enjoy you doing it, but if you are going to do that, I want you to be able to defend it with careful argumentation such that you would make the liberal quake in their boots for a minute. If you can't do that, then unfortunately you are a ring around the bath tub. I would tell them that straight to their face.
LEMON: John McWhorter, thank you.
MCWHORTER: Don Lemon, thank you.
LEMON: And when we come back, this picture going viral after the Charlottesville protest and being used as a political tool. I'm going to talk to the man at the center of the protest. Seen holding the burning spray can, he is going to tell his story.
[23:30:55] DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: Many images from the events in Charlottesville telling more about what happened. One photo shows, my next guest there on the right side with a make-shift flame thrower firing at the direction of the Unite the right protesters. And joining me, his name is Corey Long. He is a Charlottesville resident and a counter protester. Corey, thank you so much for joining us. I'm glad you got here tonight to tell your story. This picture of you is truly striking because it's all in the eye of the beholder here. Some see it and say there's proof there was violence on both sides. Others say that man is standing up to hate. What led to that moment?
COREY LONG, CHARLOTTESVILLE RESIDENT, COUNTER PROTESTER: With that moment being led, first thing the guy, there is white supremacist he actually pointed a gun at us while we were standing. And the elderly white guy who is standing there was actually scared and when he actually shot the gun, that is when I used the spray paint and a lighter to actually make the flames.
LEMON: So he shot the gun or he just brandished the gun?
LONG: He actually shot the gun. First he pointed it at my head.
LEMON: Go ahead.
LONG: First he pointed at my head. Then he shot it at the ground.
LEMON: And so there's a guy, there's an elderly gentleman there and he was afraid, right? Are you trying to protect that guy? What was happening? LONG: Yes, sir. He was just standing behind us and he was just
scared and so I just took the initiative to do the best that I could.
LEMON: What were they saying when you were doing this?
LONG: Just to get him out the way. They were like we're going to get y'all. They were pretty much talking to the white guy at first and that is when I intervened.
LEMON: I want to play part of what the president said this week and then I will get your response. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think there's blame on both sides and I have no doubt about it and you don't have any doubt about it either. And if you reported it accurately, you would say. I'm not putting anybody on a moral plain. I'm saying you had a group on one side and a group on the other and they came at each other with clubs and it was a horrible thing to watch but there is another side. There is a group on this side you can call them the left that came violently attacking the other group. So you can say what you want but that is the way it is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Corey, I know you have very strong feelings about this, about the President's response. What do you say?
LONG: Yes. Yes, sir. I believe that is just truly outrages the way he said that. I actually came down there to be a peaceful protester and the only reason I got the spray paint is because the white supremacists actually threw it at me and that is how I became, had the flames as well. But that is outrageous and the guy is taking shots again at me and they stood there and did nothing. They just were holding their own.
LEMON: The President has said -- talking about that rally and the night before said there were some fine people there-- talking about the white supremacist. Were there any fine people in the group that you could see?
LONG: What was that, sir?
LEMON: Was there any fine people? He said there were fine people among the white supremacist protesters. Did you see any fine people?
LONG: No, sir. All I seen was hate and that is all they shown was hate. There was no equality there. It was purely hate.
LEMON: You say what happened in Charlottesville wasn't about the removal of the confederate statues as they said it was. It was about hatred and terror?
[23:35:03] LONG: Yes, sir.
LEMON: Explain that.
LONG: They didn't even understand probably why the statue was there. They weren't even yelling about the statue or anything like that. All they wanted to do was attack, attack, attack. And they were just outrages the way that they were allowed to do that. It was like an untold story. I can't even explain. It was just terrifying.
LEMON: Yes. You were at the rally with friends and one of your friends is Deandre Harris who ended up being badly beaten with sticks and poles in a parking garage and just like your photo, this is video of what happened to Deandre. It captured the core of what went down in Charlottesville. Tell me about that. Did you see the footage?
LONG: Yes, sir, I seen the footage. It was just outrages about that footage. I'm not going to get too much into that but it was just outrages.
LEMON: How is Deandre doing?
LONG: He is doing pretty good.
LEMON: And how are you doing after all of this?
LONG: Just trying to heal. I'm healing but with everything going on, I've been receiving a whole lot of death threats and a whole bunch of hate as well.
LEMON: What would you like to hear from the President if anything?
LONG: If anything I would like to hear an apology for allowing them to come down here and allowing -- and for not allowing the cops to intervene on what was going on down there.
LEMON: Did you attend the memorial last night?
LONG: Yes, sir.
LEMON: For Heather Heyer?
LONG: I was only there for briefly, yes, sir. I had other things to do as well.
LEMON: Thank you so much, Corey. I appreciate it. I'm so happy you got to come on and give our regards to Deandre and anybody else who was injured you might know.
LONG: Thank you.
LEMON: When we come back here's a message for the President. Three important national magazines showing what they think of his response to Charlottesville. We are going to discuss these very striking images next.
[23:41:29] LEMON: Violence in Charlottesville prompting renewed debate over confederate statues and memorials throughout the nation. I want to discuss this now with CNN Political Commentator Keith Boykin and Alice Stewart and Syndicated Talk Radio host John Fredericks and Ben Shapiro editor and chief of the Daily Wire and former editor at large at Breitbart. I'm so glad to have all of you on tonight. John I am going to start with you, today the President tweeted about removing the confederate statues from the U.S. saying it sad to see the history and culture of our great country ripped apart. Are you with the President on this?
JOHN FREDERICKS, HOST, SYNDICATED TALK RADIO: Look, Don, the statues represent a history in America that you can't white wash? President Obama said he wanted to transform America. By changing its history you can't do that. But the real issue is not the statues, Don. It is not about the confederacy. The real issue with people that want the statues, because they see their jobs going away, they see that urban America has basically taken them for granted and they're taking away their jobs, they're taking away their culture, their sons and daughters staying. I just got back --
LEMON: Wait, wait, and hold on. What you're describing now is racism.
FREDERICKS: It's economics. It's got nothing to do --
LEMON: You said urban people are taking away their jobs.
FREDERICKS: Urban people are taking -- the elites in Washington do not represent rural America, people that has lost their jobs.
LEMON: What does that have to do with the statue, John?
FREDERICKS: Because the statues are a symbol of something they're clinging to because they're tired of the political correctness and the Washington elites. I just took Amtrak here from New York, Don. I passed in four blocks, Don, I passed 27 shuttered factories. These are the real statues of America that have gone away.
LEMON: I have no idea.
FREDERICKS: Change the debate to some kind of confederacy. People want their jobs back.
LEMON: So why isn't the President talking about that instead of statues?
FREDERICKS: The President understands that rural Americans have been sold out but --
LEMON: Oh, my gosh, part of rural America is in the north, the west, has nothing to do with the confederate statues.
FREDERICKS: You know what? Statues are a symbol for people that want economic justice back and they want their jobs back.
LEMON: That is a stretch. Was that a talking point? I'm trying to follow and I don't get it.
FREDERICKS: I talked to real Americans.
LEMON: That statue --
FREDERICKS: It's got nothing to do with Robert E. Lee.
LEMON: Those people don't know the history of the statue and why it's there. Maybe you, as a radio host, should teach them that, when they call rather than listening to a white wash history of what those statues represent.
FREDERICKS: But those statues represent right now to people --
LEMON: That doesn't make it right.
FREDERICKS: I'm not saying it does.
LEMON: Well, then educate and tell them. Let the other panel stand.
FREDERICKS: Why are so many people in New York and New Jersey concerned about these statues? They have nothing to do with the confederacy? It's not just New York and New Jersey. Ben, go ahead, please.
[23:45:06] BEN SHAPIRO, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF FROM A DAILY WIRE.COM: First of all, I'm confused at this moment.
I really don't understand what this has to do with economics, per se because it does cross economics line. There have been decent arguments expressed for not taking down the statue, people like Condoleezza Rice who have said it's an opportunity to teach people when you walk by about the darkness of some of our history. And I've heard the argument that is partially correct that if you remove some statues and there was a commentator on CNN that said we should pull down statues of Washington and Jefferson. People on the left are actually suggesting that. But I think there are great arguments for taking the statues down. I think a lot of these towns are looking into taking down these statues and a lot of people on all sides of the political aisle basically grabbing hold of this issue. So I think you have folks on the left who are suggesting everyone who purports retaining the confederate statues is a racist and everyone who says they should come down is a nut job and I think you have President Trump who's taking advantage of the situation in order to misdirect away from the press conferences that we saw earlier.
LEMON: Listen to Condoleezza Rice point. There is some truth to that but the problem is they revere and are taught a false history of the statues mean. The best way to do that is go to a museum, you can have instructor say this is Robert E. Lee. Here's his history. This is what has been said and written about him, rather than having a whole group of racist people revere a figure and a history of a figure that is not necessarily true. ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: A perfect point here is
this is a local issue. I grew up in the south. I view historical issues much differently than those in the north. Growing up in Atlanta, I'm very familiar with the racial issue and the slaves and that part of our history. But it is a part of our history and there needs to be a way we can preserve our history without hurting people or without people feeling uncomfortable. I saw you raise the confederate flag at the beginning of the show. Now we understand how that is harmful to people and hurtful to people and we need to take that into consideration. But at the same time this is not something for the President to do a full swoop across the board. This is a local issue that needs to be decided --
LEMON: Let me give you -- this is a stark example and pardons me for my clumsiness here. Imagine if someone wanted the erect - I have a school called Osama Bin Laden middle school for learning schooling for whatever.
But that is not a part of African-American. But that represents Robert E. Lee. That was our holocaust, right? This is what happened to us. We would rather not go to schools -- we're not saying people shouldn't learn about Robert E. Lee. We're not saying statues should not exist in some form some wear, but it should not be part of a public building, especially something that is paid for with federal tax dollars. If you want to have it in the privacy of your home, have as many statues as you want --
SHAPIRO: Is the implication here that everyone who opposes taking down the statues is a racist?
LEMON: I'm not saying that at all. I'm saying we should have a conversation just like we do now. I'm trying to get you and others to understand how people of color feel about those statues.
SHERMAN: I fully understand that. If I were a black taxpayer I wouldn't want to pay for the upkeep on these statues either. I get it.
KEITH BOYKIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The only person on the so- called left who hasn't spoken about this. With respect to Alice and John and everyone, this is not a local issue. This is an issue about America's history, national history that affected millions of Americans, 600,000 people died in the civil war. It was the bloodiest war in American history. 50,000 people died add Gettysburg. 20,000 in (inaudible) and 20,000 (inaudible) we can't celebrate the history of a man named Robert E. Lee or Jefferson Davis who took up arms against the United States of America. I don't know where anyone else draws the line. But I can draw a line there, you can distinguish, it is very possible to distinguish what Robert E. lee did, what Jefferson Davis and Samuel Jackson did from Thomas Jefferson and George Washington did. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, though they were slave owners, never took up arms against the United States of America and for a President -- it is treason. And for a President of the United States in 2017 to endorse treason traitors, murderess, and racist and to celebrate that is unacceptable and anyone who stands up in favor of that is, in my opinion is not respecting the true culture of what America is supposed to be.
[23:50:20] LEMON: All right, I got to get to the break. But, also, we're going to talk about this Missouri lawmaker is saying that she hopes Donald Trump is assassinated. That story when we come right back.
LEMON: Back now with our panel, and, yes, we talked all about this during the break, all of us here, but moving on now to talk about a Democratic Missouri state Senator from the University City posted this is in St. Louis, posted and quickly deleted this Facebook thing saying she hoped that President Trump would be assassinated. She came to prominence in the Ferguson and Michael Brown situation. Quickly took it down. The U.S. Secret service and St. Louis office investigating the chairman and Democratic Party called on her to resign. What do you say?
STEWART: There's no excuse for that. There is no reason for that. Clearly, an emotional issue, clearly, when this started over the weekend, we could see things bubbling over. Unfortunately, I think the President from the get-go didn't handle this correctly with regard to not coming out completely unequivocally denouncing hatred and bigotry and racism, and that was -- he dropped the ball, but what that has done, that is created a ripple effect of emotions and conversations and discussions and this is where we are today.
[23:55:03] LEMON: Yeah. Look, the President has to own his words, responsible for his words, and she said the way I responded this morning was wrong. She told the Star, I guess the newspaper. I am frustrated. Did I mean the statement, no, I'm frustrated. Absolutely, the President is causing damage and causing hate. She is responsible for her words like the President's responsible for his.
BOYKIN: At least -- I don't think what she said was right, but had the courage to say she was wrong. This President never says he was wrong. This is a President who got up there last year in the campaign --
LEMON: Making excuses for her?
BOYKIN: I'm not. He spoke about second amendment remedies in case Hillary Clinton was elected, which was a clear threat of assassination.
LEMON: I understand that, but this is, yea, yes, you're right, but, still --
BOYKIN: Right, it's wrong. You can't say anything. It's wrong, but the point is, Donald Trump is the President of the United States. He is supposed to be, not only the political leader, but moral leader of the country. He cannot do that condemn other people when he is creating culture of violence himself.
LEMON: What do you say, Ben? SHERMAN: I think when it comes to the culture of violence, we have to
be careful. We should agree on this. This is obvious stuff. You don't call for people's assassination. There are groups out there that are violent. Forget Charlottesville, but they are violent elsewhere like Sacramento, they are violent in Berkeley. The violence in our political discourse is not a thing that should be happening nor incited or forwarded. We have to be careful distinguishing between actual insightful languages like what we talk about here. Secret service is now investigating this, and just nasty language. I think President Trump said nasty terrible things to the point where he calls for violence. I condemn him and will again. I think that in this case, what we're talking about is something much more explicit than what Trump said so far obviously.
LEMON: I have to run, I am sorry, John but you talked a lot less.
FREDERICKS: I sure did.
LEMON: Thank you, all.
FREDERICKS: Got the job back.
LEMON: Ben, I love having you on, I love having a longer further discussion with you about free speech, it's an important topic and issue that I'd like to unpack with you a little bit longer.
SHERMAN: Looking forward to.
LEMON: Thank you, thanks everyone. That is it for us tonight. Thank you everyone for watching, we'll see you right back here tomorrow.