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tv   CNN Tonight With Don Lemon  CNN  January 16, 2017 7:00pm-8:01pm PST

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remembering him at all tonight. if captain cernan had his wish, he would not be famous for being the last person to whack on the moon 4 1/2 decades ago. by now, he'd be one of many. perhaps one day soon, he will. our thoughts are with him, his family and his friends, that does it for us. thanks for watching. "cnn tonight" with don lemon starts now. donald trump stands right behind me at the u.s. capitol. raises his right hand and becomes the 45th president of the united states. in the show of protest, more than two dozen house democrats skipping his inauguration. this is cnn tonight. i'm don lemon in washington. the boycott, partly in response to trump's harsh words against john lewis, the civil rights icon, who says trump is not a
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legitimate president. and on this day, honoring dr. martin luther king jr., trump meets with dr. king's son who is calling for unity. >> the goal is to bring america together and america, we are a great nation, we must become a greater nation. >> there's a lot to get to here tonight from washington. it is definitely a big panel and a lot to get to. i'm going to refer to my notes. this is it sort of a complicated story, david. it involves tom price, he's a congressman. we're learning that last year he purchased as much as $15,000 in stock of a medical device, just days before introducing legislation that would help that
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company. also, that company repeatedly donated to price's re-election, his spokesman says, and this is a quote, it's false to connect this builder campaign contribution. price did not know about the stock perfect before it was done through a broker. how big of a problem is this for trump's transition. >> it's a problem, and it's something he's going to have to answer for at the hearings. remember tom price is one of the people from president-elect trump, that the democrats had already circled as a potential target. largely to do with his record as it relates to obama care and health care, an issue that obviously democrats want to fight hard on as donald trump takes office and is promising to repeal it. he was already a target where they were going to put full force to try to make it a contentious hearing and see if they can rustle enough votes to derail. the republicans have the votes in the senate to get these nominees through. this story will give democrats a little bit of a boost, it's like
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blood in the water. they're going to be able to circle around it and try to make hey of it. i don't think right now, it's going to be something that's going to derail the nomination entirely. it means that tom price is going to have to become prepared to his confirmation hearing, as you said, he bought stock, he introduced the bill, and then his pac got a donation. >> more than one donation, right? >> we don't know enough about it, and didn't we contacts them all day, and finally they responded saying it was a brokered account? before there was no response to it? >> well, i think -- yes. tom price has an opportunity to explain himself, i think democrats are going to be raising these questions all week, i think this is also a test of democrats ability to execute a case against donald trump's nominees on his own terms. if they can connect this to the drain the swamp message, showing there's a pattern of using your
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influence in congress to either gain personal wealth or campaign contributions, this could be an open door, an opportunity for them to execute that kind of game plan, even if it doesn't result in tom price not being confirmed to that position. >> that's my question to kirstin. senate minority leader chuck schumer calling for the congressional ethics office to investigate. >> it's pretty swampy behavior if it happened, right? >> this is probably what most americans think of when they think of the swamp in washington, the defense has been that this was something that is brokered, you have to ask the question, well, do you not communicate with your broker, clearly he knows you are a member of congress. youville some influence, it seems like there would be a little more communication about steering clear of areas that he has responsibility over. >> go ahead, david. >> this takes place within a broader context. that is the wall street journal
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reported last week, that the same congressman, had $300,000 in trades over time. and various stocks, in which he was also pushing legislation, that might affect it. so i do think that the white house really ought to be general quarters to save this nomination, by trying to figure out what the facts are, before tom bryce gets there, they ought to get their defense out there quickly. >> this is, especially the person who would be in charge of, or at least one of the leading figures on obama care, repealing and replacing, this does not bode well for them? >> no, certainly not. >> just for the mere fact that you're talking about tom price having to go up to congress on wednesday. and have to start answering these questions at a time when paul ryan says he's going to repeal and replace obama care within the first 100 days. >> i want to move on now, i want to talk about this is donald trump. this is one of the biggest weeks of his -- donald trump's life.
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he's about to become the 45th president of the united states. >> not a big deal. >> it is martin luther king jr. weekend and day. he's fighting with him over not wanting to go to the inaugurati inauguration. >> what do you think is happening behind the scenes now at trump tower. are they trying to fix this, do you think? or it just gives them space between now and inauguration day. >> the way they handled mlkiii's appearance today, is a way of trying to fix it, don. they met with mlkiii, president-elect trump met with mlk iii, didn't come down and answer questions. hopefully giving a symbol, this is something we're doing to recognize king day. we want to show we're reaching out to an african-american leader. i think it solves the problem for today. >> do you think it's strategic he didn't come down afterwards with him.
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normally everyone who's a name who goes -- >> if he had come down and done the photo op, he would have had to answer questions about the tweet battle. >> let's listen to martin iii. >> were you offended by the tweet that representative lewis is all talk and no action. >> in the heat of the motion, a lot of things get said on both sides. i think at some point -- i am as john lewis and many others, a bridge built. the goal is to bring america together. we are a great nation, we must become a greater nation. what my father represented, my mother represented through her life. what i hope i'm trying to do is always bring people together. >> i'm sure to explain, i'm sure everyone knows. but congressman lewis in an interview called donald trump's
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election illegitimate. he said he's an illegitimate president. they're trying to bring the temperature down with that statement, but it wasn't. he didn't go out of his way to say anything negative about either men? >> no, i thought that was smart damage control today by the trump forces, they did what they could. it came awfully late with an awful lot of damage being done. >> we discussed this before, when david axelrod and i agreed, i think mark agrees. as much as we regard john lewis as one of our only heroes in this country today, i think he made a mistake in calling it -- calling donald trump illegitimate. having said that, it's inexplicable why trump -- he can't help himself. you have to ask yourself, does he not understand how much damage this does? and how insulting it is to the african-american community to say, to basically attack john
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lewis' life is being all talk and no action? >> yeah, i ran into john king on my way in, we both had the exact same thought about the way he could have responded. he could have said i'm disappointed you feel that way, i wish we could get together and talk, but you are one of my heroes, and that's why i'm doubly disappointed. everything -- >> it would have helped with his supporters, and with people who are criticizing. >> his response almost made you wonder if he was even aware of the history with john lewis. he didn't -- maybe he was, because i think that in some ways, there's a pattern with trump of taking the most controversial way into an engagement, and taking that path, i think that he did in fact do that, by saying all talk, no action. that was probably the most controversial way to get into it with john lewis, he also has proven this weekend and in the days since that tweet that he's
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not going to change in his inclination to always engage with his adversaries. there were two different ways of approaching his inauguration. one sean spicer says he's going to try to unite the country. another says he's going to be the donald trump you saw on the campaign. i think we're going to see the donald trump we saw on the campaign and in the oval office. >> i want to play john lewis, then i'll let you discuss. he was in florida today speaking. let's listen. >> i say to you as young men, the future leaders of this state, the future leaders of this nation. the future leaders of the world, you must never ever hate, the way of love is the better way. the way of peace is a better way. so never give up.
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never give in. stand up, speak up. when you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have a moral obligation to do something, to say something. and not be quiet. >> i didn't speak to the congressman today, but i spoke to someone who's close to him. the reason he did not mention donald trump specifically or he didn't do interviews about it, he didn't want to overshadow dr. king's day. and he didn't want to politicize this any further. >> the speech he gave right there is the speech you would expect to hear from john lewis, david said is one of the true heroes in the u.s. unfortunate use of words, saying donald trump is not a legitimate president. you wouldn't expect to hear that from john lewis. you wouldn't expect to hear the future leader of the free world. the person who was promoting democracy. to go out and show that he is absolutely thin skinned and he's going to take on anybody that he feels is impugning his personal
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character. that's troubling. impulse control is troubling. >> do you think the congressman laid a trap for him? >> he may have. i wanted to say one thing to mark's point. with congressman lewis, you know, my own view is that president-elect trump is a legitimate president. whether or not anyone agrees or disagrees with him. you're talking about the history. the last living speaker of the march on washington, the hero of the ed monday pettis bridge, he hazan sadding to say it, even if it was politically not helpful. >> if anyone could say it. >> even if what trump's said is true, so what? what more do you need to do? i don't -- it's just so -- it's insulting. >> as senator ben said. >> that is a very good -- >> john lewis in his talk has changed the world, the republican senator came out and the republican congressman said,
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dude, just stop. >> all right, stay with me, everyone. when we come back, donald trump's rattling america's partners in europe. calling nato obsolete. at godaddy, our goal is to make you look awesome online.
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beautiful shot of the capitol here in washington, d.c.. it will be here through
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inauguration day. in less than four days, donald trump becomes the 45th president of the united states. back with me now. also david gergen. we'll continue to talk about this john lewis controversy. you were bringing up a very. donald trump is upset. don't some democrats and african-americans feel that that's what donald trump did for four years, is try to delegitimize barack obama? >> there's no doubt about that, it's also as we talk about john lewis. the boundaries of what's in bounds and out of bounds. in the trump era as well. it's hard to live by those rules any more, i think that when you
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are the president-elect as this is to mark's point. the burden is on you to let some pitches go by. and not swing at everything. i think that is where things got off kilter in a big way. even if john lewis said something there's no evidence he's illegitimately elected. donald trump taking a swing at that. that is what causes a distraction for his own inaugural week to smoothly start his tenure. >> especially when you think of how president obama has treated him. raising all these legitimacy questions about him. after all the president welcomed him in, offered him advice about maybe he can take a page out of
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barack obama's book. >> he's giving interviews to foreign press attacking leaders of germany. >> nato is obsolete. >> he was ab sew heat during the campaign. they were focusing on cyber security. it goes to more of the confusion, what is his role or what is his fascination or connection to russia. >> does he understand the nato alliance? >> no. nato is one of the most important alliances in history. he's playing that on a big field he's been clear that this country is going to break with
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its tradition of supporting nato. he doesn't give a damn if the european union goes away. he's banning the meeting with these populous movements that are seeking to undermind merkel in germany. she's our closest friend in europe, the most important player in europe. they're actively out there courting and playing with people who are upset and destabilize europe. it's not surprising that europe is -- people are very upset. they're astannished, they understood it was campaign rhetoric at one point. they thought it was campaign rhetoric. it's becoming possible. for the transatlantic relationship, which is our single biggest relationship. i just can't tell you how upsetting this is to so many people. >> it is interesting, because when he makes these comments people feel he's cozying up to putin, and he puts putin and
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angela merkel in the same -- how is that possible in anyone's mind? >> i don't think it's practical. i don't think it will help him. nato is an easy target, the eu is an easy target. once you become president and you might need angela merkel to bail out a greece or portugal, to help you with an issue in the u.n. or to deal with sanctions against russia, you've already preinfuriated someone potential a fellow world leader. >> i want to turn to his cabinet nominees. that's been going on as well. >> over half of his nominees haven't submitted their ethics agreements to the office of government ethics, explain what's going on here. can you explain this? >> paperwork explaining their
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potential conflicts they have to resolve those conflicts. senators can evaluate and where these nominees stand with regard to the jobs they're about to take on. half of these nominees haven't done that, haven't completed that process yet, that's something that initially republicans on the hill were sort of saying, well, it doesn't really matter all that much, but we saw several of these nominations their hearings getting pushed back a couple days. republicans are wary of going into some of these senate hearings, dealing with the unknown, they want to know what's out there, they want some of these conflicts resolved. those things can become roadblocks to having a speedy confirmation, once donald trump is sworn in. >> are they ready in four days? >> i'm sorry? >> are they ready in four days? >> they're certainly ready in four days for the inauguration. >> just on this point. donald trump has more than his
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average share of multimillionaires in the cabinet. so the ethic s piece of this is even more complex for some of his nominees than we've seen on the previous nomination. >> the substructure of government. there are 690 positions to be filled. so far, he's only named people to 27 of them. the state department, the justice department? one person per department has been named so far. a total of 370 positions in those 4 departments, only four have been named. >> where is he in comparison to other administrations? >> he's behind. >> thank you. i appreciate it, all of you. i hope all of you got to speak. >> two house democrats telling us why they're skipping donald trump's inauguration on friday?
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welcome back to cnn tonight, tonight from -- live from the nation's capital, we'll be here
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through inauguration day actually, a couple days after we'll be broadcasting from here as well. welcome back to the program everyone. by cnn's latest count, at least 31 house democrats skipping donald trump's inauguration on friday. two of them joining me now, barbara lee and judy chu 37 thank you for joining us. how are you doing? >>. >> good, i'm glad to be with you? >> thank you. >> you first, you're on a growing list of democratic lawmakers, not attending this inauguration, you'll be preparing for resistance what does that mean? >> i did not make this decision lightly. actually, i decided last week that i was not going to participate in this celebration, that's exactly what it is. and the reasons that i'm not going to celebrate, i think i
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laid out. one is, i don't want to celebrate a president-elect coming in in who campaigned on a platform of bigotry and decisiveness. i decided i'm going to work on a variety of issues with many people, in terms of planning details of how we're going to resist many of the policies he has proposed. take away health care for millions of people. >> can you do that and still go to the inauguration do you think it may backfire on you? you're going to have to govern with this man and republicans in congress? >> i intend to govern, there's some of us who have to make sure
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that the gains we made on behalf of the poor, on behalf of people of color, on behalf of the lgbt community. on behalf of the most marginalized and more vulnerable in the our uncountry. one of really not unity, but decisiveness, and bigotry, i intend to go my job, i also intend to fight to protect the gains that have been made and represent the most vulnerable in our country. >> people should know that you decided not to intend the inauguration before the incident with congressman lewis. congresswoman chu. it was the incident with congressman lewis that was the decider for you? helped you make your decision, why is that? >> oh, yes. >> it wasn't until saturday that i made up my mind. i was trying to decide and going back and forth. when i heard that trump denigrated and disrespected the
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greatest icon and civil rights leader of our time i could not believe it. i could not believe that he would do that on martin luther king weekend. that added insult to injury. i immediately said i wasn't going to go. it was this on top of his insults to disabled, to women, to gold star parents. to me, this was just the last straw. >> the day after hillary clinton lost. she said americans owe trump an open mind and chance to lead. if she can attend the inauguration should you and your other colleagues reconsider? >> i am open minded to actually making some progress i actually issued a letter on behalf of our 50 members to have a meeting
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with trump. we sent this letter in december. but we have even yet to hear an acknowledgement of that letter. i do want to see if he can make some progress, but i think if we make progress, it has to start from him. i think he has to stop denigrating people gratuitously with his tweets on a continuous basis. if i were him being only a few days before his inauguration, i would attempt to unify the people who are coming from all kinds of different places, this very diverse country of ours, instead he deliberately picked on the leading civil rights icon of this nation on martin luther king weekend and chose to pick a fight with him. >> congresswoman lee. some people are -- many people see an irony in this, they say donald trump tried to delegitimize the current
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president. not only as the president, but as a person for years. is that a factor in why you think -- so many democrats are questioning his legitimacy. and are not going to attend this inauguration. >> we know there was foreign influence, russian influence in the election, that's a fact we have witnessed the decisiveness that is continuing. i had hoped this would not continue into his presidency. but this appears that he's going to govern in this way. one is the nominee for the attorney general. senator jeff sessions, you look at senator sessions history of
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being on the wrong side of equal justice that's an example of going back, and putting people in a cabinet that wants to turn back the clock and not be a representative of everyone in our can't. when you look at steve bannon. an adviser in the white house, whose a known and avowed white nationalist. how can i celebrate these type of nominees. >> he says he's not a white nationalist, he says that his platform, which was breitbart, was a platform for white nationalists. >> i understand that, but when you look at the platform, he was one of the founders, you have to make that connection and be -- unless you just totally are hypocritical and don't support your platform. >> what i think is interesting, people at home may think this is
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a coordinated effort on behalf of democratic congress people. this is not. you are not calling each other, it's not organized at all. >> yes, this is not organized at all. we did not text each other or e-mail each other. we each made our own personal decisions about what we were going to do. there are people attending the inauguration for their own reasons or roles. for instance, the leaders of the democratic quack us are tending, such as leader pelosi, and steny hoyer. and there are others that want to be there with their constituents, i think that each of us are left to our own conscience in terms of what we feel is going on in this country with donald trump, especially
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his actions of the past few days. >> i appreciate you taking time to come on. have a good evening. i appreciate it. coming up, it's donald trump's feud can john lewis going to hurt him before his presidency starts? we're going to talk about that next. sugar at all, smaller portion sizes, clear calorie labels, and signs reminding everyone to think balance before choosing their beverages. we know you care about reducing the sugar in your family's diet, and we're working to support your efforts. more beverage choices. smaller portions. less sugar. balanceus.org.
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it's life care. back to washington, everyone, donald trump becomes president in just four days. let's discuss now, paris denard. joshua dubois michael higginbothom. and the author of ghosts of jim crowe and mark anthony neil, eye professor of african-american studies. good evening to all of you. what do you think of what the congressman said. >> i think it's just -- one, i
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think he has some serious issues that he's raising in terms of the president's legitimacy. more broadly, there are three fundamental rules in politics. you don't wear funny hats, you don't mess with interns and you don't attack john lewis. what is he doing? this is just not what you're supposed to do, people take it personally. it's attacking someone who feels like a grandfather. >> one of the panelists described john lewis as a national treasure. what's your take on this? >>. >> i agree 100%, you don't attack john lewis. he is an icon. he is like dr. king. dr. king was the conscience of
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the american people, john lewis is the conscience today. >> john lewis has earned the right to say whatever he wants to say, right? he's earned the right to be the crazy grandfather, the grandfather that provides some sort of knowledge, and teaching for younger folks. he has his right to say his opinion. i think it's insensitive of mr. trump not to be cognizant of everything that was going on at this moment. this was a great opportunity to build a bridge with mr. lewis and the civil rights generation, to have better conversations about race in america, and mr. trump failed to take advantage of that. >> and now there's paris, paris, what's your take? >> you set me up like that? >> i know you have a different take. >> i will first say i have worked with congressman lewis. when i was at the white house we honored him. he is a national treasure.
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senator mansion was correct when he said his statements were uncalled nor. >> donald trump is the legitimate president of the united states based upon the way we do our elections systems in this country. >> what makes me most disappointed is the fact that both sides are not understanding the moment we're in we should follow the steps of martin luther king iii who came to the table and said, i want to be a bridge builder. steve harvey came to the table and still taking a lot of backlash. i hope when congressman lewis says things like, he wouldn't invite president trump to selma, he would rethink that. >> i'm glad you mentioned those points. i'm going to talk about what he said. there are many people who
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believe that martin, and listen, i have great respect for martin iii or steve harvey. they were used as photo ops. you invite someone into your home and you don't really mean it, and then you go out and say, see, i tried. what do you make of that? >> i don't buy it. >> i think for those who think that, you have a right to feel that way. let his actions speak louder than the foets toe op. we have to give him a chance. let him fail or prove himself to be worthy about we owe it to him just like we owed it to president obama. >> when you're 70 years old, don't you have more days behind you where you could look for evidence of that? >> when you're becoming the president of the united states, you have four years ahead of you, that's what we should look forward to. four years of what he wants to
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do for this country, specifically, the black community. >> the question for these gentlemen, what are they seeking to achieve -- i went back and looked at transcripts of when reverend dr. martin luther king jr. called lbj. he had some specific tangible objectives for those conversations. he was trying to pass the voting rights act. to me, i love martin iii. this meeting feels more like cover for donald trump than trying to achieve a specific objective. getting a better affordable care act or working on sessions problematic positions. >> congressman john lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district which is in horrible shape and falling apart, not to mention crime infested, rather than falsely
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complaining about the election results, all talk, talk, talk, no action or results. sad. go ahead, mark. >> if donald trump is concerned about those kinds of things, he should have called a meeting with representative lewis. he's a comedian i find him funny. kanye west is not a power broker for the black community. when martin luther king sits down with lbj, he's doing so as a power broker for the black community. someone who's trying to deliver important aspects to black civil life in the context of talking with the president of the united states. what we've seen is a man in terms of mr. trump who seems to be more concerned with finding black people who like him to critique what he's getting from other black folks. >> stand by, we'll come right
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back with paris dennard, michael higginbothom.
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donald trump questioned the legitimacy of president obama for years, is he being hypocritical? >> we shouldn't be saying -- we should be saying it's poetic justice and not irony. >> certainly he's being hypocritical. anyone in the country should not be surprised is donald trump. he was the leader of the birther movement. he wouldn't put it down, even after the birth certificate was published. sure, it's justice. >> do you believe in karma? >> i do. i believe in the original cnn reporting. >> he can shut the whole thing down, there's possibly some there there. even before we get to comparing president obama to president-elect trump. i want to know what's happening
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with russia. >> that is what john lewis said, he said it was russia. people are equating it with race and the whole birther thing, he's saying that it was russia that leads him to -- that gives him some question on whether -- >> we have a growing body of evidence interfeared with our election. that raises questions that we still need answers to. donald trump is not providing those answers. >> i've been hearing a lot of people on television, including the vice president and others that are saying, everyone should get on board, they should september and not be protesting. this is in 2012, the president-elect tweeted this, he wasn't the president-elect yet.
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we can't let this happen, we should march on washington and stop this travesty, our nation is it totally divided. >> well, i -- >> i think paris -- >> listen, i think we're going to see multiple examples of candidate trump coming into the reality of president trump, there may be contradictions, and there may be things he has to re-evaluate. this is a person who wasn't running for office his entire life. >> who's calling for a revolution? it's similar to what's happening with the democrats now. he was on board with it in 2012. >> and in 2016, going into 2016, there's a new revolution, it's this wave of republicanism that took over the house, the senate and the presidency, he asked to deal with that mantle he's been given, it's going to be difficult for him, i think he's going to find more and more opportunities to bring people together and this is a prime
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example, this is a test of leadership, how will he govern and how will he lead? >> i thought you brought up a great point. i thought your point was right on. you don't always meet with people you like or agree with. you're going to have to do a lot of that as president. meeting with people, bringing them together. even when they don't agree with you, even if you don't like them? >> absolutely. let's say this about mr. trump. no matter how ilinform ed, he's incredibly shrewd. when he's been able to do the debate back and forth from congressman lewis, is to divert away from the issues.
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there's some appointments in his cabinet that haven't been made yet. these are things he should be paying attention to, instead of tweeting at 2:00 in the morning. if he was serious about building bridges, he would sit down and have conversations with the opposition if you willp there are debates about how effective president obama was. at least he knew how to perform the gesture of reaching across the aisle. we haven't seen that gesture yet in terms of mr. trump or a connection to the black community. >> in terms of meeting with african-americans who like him or who he likes, michael. you have to -- steve harvey, jennifer holiday getting a lot of backlash for going to trump tower, meeting with the
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president considering performing at the inauguration. what do you say to african-americans that are concerned about that. >> well, i think that everyone has to make those decisions for themselves. i distinguish between the president-elect meeting with policy makers to discuss how to make things better for the black community. those who are attending the inaugural celebration. that's what it is, it's a celebration. people can pick and chose whether they accept this election or not. you go back to john carlos and tommy smith. muhammad ali, you can protest. one of the ways to protest is to stay away from the inauguration. it's fine for people to stay away. i would encourage all of those individuals who are concerned
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about president-elect trump to do that. >> i would say i'm proud that talladega is coming, representing -- they raise over $500,000 to get those students here. it's a positive thing for them to be here. >> i know we're short on time. do you think steve harvey should have met with the president? >> i mean, there's nothing wrong with him meeting, in terms of the president reaching out to people, he needs to reach out to john lewis, if he's serious about helping urban america. he's serious about making differences in this country. we have real issues. we have serious issues. he needs to reach out. >> he better reach out to john lewis. 57 years ago, john lewis started a sit-in in tennessee. if donald trump knows what's good for him -- >> we'll be right back.
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(bell chimes) ♪ nice work brother dominic. now we just need 500 more...
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