tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN August 12, 2019 11:00pm-12:00am PDT
governor, who favors the project, met with president trump at air force one. it may not come as a surprise tonight that the trump administration has announced significant changes in how the endangered species act is applied. changes that critics say will weaken the regulations. currently the endangered species act protects more than 1,600 species and is credited with saving grizzly bears, the bald eagle and other animals. the new rules would make it easier to remove a species from the list and weaken protections for threatened species. when leading environmentalist says the new rules are a gift to industry and they're legal, but interior secretary david bernhard, a former oil and gas lobbyist, says the new roles will actually help the rarest species. changes are expected to take effect next month. they'll also be challenged in the courts. the news continues. i want to turn things over now to don lemon and "cnn tonight." this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. and i just want to take some time to go big picture here for you because we should not lose sight of what's been going on in
this country and in the white house. we shouldn't lose sight of what is at stake, and it was exactly two years ago in charlottesville that heather heyer was murdered by a neo-nazi in the midst of white supremacist riots in an american city. it was just a little over a week ago that 22 people were shot to death at a walmart in another american city, el paso. police say the suspect is the author of a racist, anti-immigrant manifesto, and what is the president of the united states doing about any of this, about the threat of white supremacy? about the threat from an angry person with a gun? nothing. the president is doing nothing so far. well, actually it's worse than nothing. this is a president whose attacks on people of color have been so unrelenting, even a former member of his own white house is calling for the gop to
consider replacing him at the top of the ticket. this is what anthony scaramucci said to anderson cooper just a little while ago. >> the president is giving people a license to hate, anderson, and a license to be angry about things when he should be uniting people. hey, guys, we got to wake up now because we're in a dangerous situation. the yellow light is on. it's going to go red. if he wins the next presidential election, look out. >> scaramucci telling "new day" this. >> i mean at some point, i think the people in my party will have to look at all this stuff and stop being anesthetized to it. i think you have to consider a change at the top of the ticket when someone is acting like this. >> well, the president predictably fighting back on twitter, claiming that anthony scaramucci had his nose out of joint because trump wouldn't return his calls. scaramucci tweeting, the president is losing his fastball
and blasting what he calls bullying from the oval office. the mooch says he knows it took him a long time to get to this point. we've known this about the president for a long, long time. but the fact is the members of his own party aren't exactly falling over themselves condemning his tweets and his vile comments. even though we all remember that donald trump began his campaign with slurs against mexicans. >> when mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. they're bringing drugs. they're bringing crime. they're rapists. >> donald trump promoted the racist birther lie that barack obama was not born in this country. >> i want him to show his birth certificate. >> why? >> there's something on that birth certificate that he doesn't like. people have birth certificates. he doesn't have a birth certificate. he may have one, but there's
something on there, maybe religion. maybe it says he's a muslim. i don't know. and if he wasn't born in this country, which is a real possibility. i'm not saying it happened. i'm saying it's a real possibility. then he has pulls one of the great cons in the history of politics. >> he refused to condemn former kkk leader david duke. >> just so you understand, i don't know anything about david duke, okay? i don't know anything about what you're even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists. so i don't know. i mean i don't know. did he endorse me or what's going on because, you know, i know nothing about david duke. i know nothing about white supremacists, and so you're asking me a question that i'm supposed to be talking about people that i know nothing about. >> well, he said this about black athletes who dare to protest police brutality and racial injustice. >> wouldn't you love to see one of these nfl owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out.
he's fired. he's fired! >> he called african countries, quote, shit-hole countries, and on and on. and then in just the past few weeks, this president was l lobbing the insult that's a hallmark of racists everywhere against four congresswomen of color, why don't you go back to where you came from, then standing by why a crowd at one of his rallies chanted send her back. >> omar has a history of launching vicious, anti-semitic screeds. >> send her back! send her back! send her back! send her back! >> remember those 13 seconds before he even said a word? this is a president who went on a twitter tirade against another member of congress, elijah
cummings, and his majority black district, which includes much of baltimore, calling it, quote, a disgusting rat and rodent-infested mess, going on to tweet, quote, no human being would want to live there. and those are just the most recent slurs from the man who told me this. >> are you racist? >> i am the least racist person that you have ever met. i am the least racist person. >> are you bigoted in any way? >> i don't think so, no. i don't think so. >> islamaphobic? >> i'm a person -- no, not at all. >> "the washington post" reporting that the president is infuriated over being called a racist. maybe he's just not listening to his own words. maybe he's just forgetting his own policies. this is a president whose new immigration policy is so restrictive against even legal immigrants that his own grandfather, who emigrated from germany, unable to speak english, with few skills and little money, would probably not have gotten in. we've quoted the atlantic's adam
serwer before. the cruelty is the point. he'll be here a little later on in the show. but how else could you describe an immigration policy that seems designed to target people who need government assistance like medicaid and food stamps, making it so difficult for them to get legal status that they may be afraid to take government aid for themselves and even for their american-born children? this is a president whose own racist language about an immigration -- or an immigrant invasion echos in white supremacist manifestos here and around the world. >> this is an invasion. when you see these caravans starting out with 20,000 people, that's an invasion. i was badly criticized for using the word "invasion." it's an invasion, and it's also an invasion of drugs coming in from mexico, okay? it's an invasion of drugs. yes, sir, we have barbed wire going up because you know what?
we're not letting these people invade our country. >> a president refusing to admit what his own fbi has said. white supremacy is on the rise and increasingly dangerous. >> through the third quarter of this fiscal year had about, give or take, 100 arrests in the international terrorism side. but we've also had just about the same number -- again, don't quote me to the exact digit -- on the domestic terrorism side. a majority of the domestic terrorism cases that we've investigated are motivated by some version of what you might call white supremacist violence. >> and this president and his party are so far failing, utterly failing to take action to protect us from the gun violence that is taking the lives of more and more innocent people -- mothers, fathers,
parents, children, grandparents, our neighbors, our friends cut down in an instant in stores, in bars, offices, schools, churches, nightclubs. the shameful list goes on and on. shameful because nothing ever seems to happen to stop this, no matter how many people die. and let's not forget all of this comes on the second anniversary of the deadly white supremacist riots in charlottesville. you remember what the president said about that. >> you also had people that were very fine people on both sides. you had people in that group -- excuse me. excuse me. i saw the same pictures as you did. >> people in charlottesville, very fine people. remembering heather heyer, who was murdered two years ago. two years, and nothing that has happened since -- or since then
has changed the truth about this president. you heard anthony scaramucci say the president needs to be replaced at the top of the republican ticket. we all know that's not going to happen. so why is he saying that? i'm going to discuss with van jones, kirsten powers, patrick healy, max boot, next. hey, who are you? oh, hey jeff, i'm a car thief... what?! i'm here to steal your car because, well, that's my job. what? what?? what?! (laughing) what?? what?! what?! [crash] what?! haha, it happens. and if you've got cut-rate car insurance, paying for this could feel like getting robbed twice. so get allstate... and be better protected from mayhem... like me. ♪ billions of problems. morning breath? garlic breath? stinky breath? there's a therabreath for you. therabreath fresh breath oral rinse instantly fights all types of bad breath
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aide anthony scaramucci. scaramucci says the president needs to be replaced at the top of the gop ticket with a leader who will bring people together. let's discuss now. van jones is here, kirsten powers, patrick healy, and max boot. max boot is the author of "the corrosion of conservatism, why i left the right." good evening one and all. patrick, anthony scaramucci continued to rebuke president trump with anderson just moments ago. watch this. >> we've got to wake up now because we're in a dangerous situation. the yellow light is on. it's going to go red. if he wins the next presidential election, look out. he hasn't listened to anybody in the first four years. what do you think is going to happen in the next four years? to me, i know they're with me. i just would like a few more phone calls. i got a tremendous number of phone calls today from people in washington, outside of washington. there's tons of business cards in my hand here. let's go. let's break the fever that's
going on in the republican party. >> okay. so he says that there are people calling him and saying that they are with him. have you seen that? >> yeah. there's a pretty small number right now of never-trumpers, and anthony scaramucci until very recently was a big supporter and even an apologist of this president. so this is what happens, you know, when someone says something that isn't even that controversial like scaramucci that crosses the president, especially nothing bothers this president more than when a former supporter or former aide, you know, turns tail on him. then the president, you know, drops a bomb and scaramucci, like others, now suddenly sounds like, you know, like a liberal. i mean like he's had these critiques and criticisms of president trump for years, but only now is deciding to come out. but the question is more all of the republicans on capitol hill who, time after time, hear the things that you went through,
don, in your segment, and choose to stay silent. >> yeah. >> choose not to say anything because they know the damage that president trump can do to them politically. it's only when frankly the worm totally turns that you have s e someone like a scaramucci can say what he actually feels. >> max, anthony scaramucci is saying the things out loud that some people who appeared on this program and other programs and in green rooms wroould say when the cameras aren't rolling. he's saying it now when the camera is rolling finally. >> i applaud scaramucci for saying what he's saying, but i don't think it's going to make any real difference. it's certainly not going to turn a wide number of republicans against trump because trump has 80% or 90% support among republicans and the reality is most republicans are either willing to overlook his blatant racism or even applaud it. this was really striking to me today, don, where last week i wrote an article in "the washington post" calling out his racism, and the cult of victimhood among his followers.
and today national review, which is a mainstream publication, the quote, unquote bible of conservatives, runs an article accusing me of being a self-hating white who is stoking the flames of racial hatred. this is the language of white supremacists which is appearing in a mainstream conservative publication. so there's a lot of sentiment that donald trump is tapping into, and unfortunately he's finding a lot of support on the right even as he's venturing into horrible xenophobic and racist territory. >> kirsten, what was that audible exasperating moment you just had? >> it's so insane to describe max that way. you know, and national review, yes, which was once a mainstream conservative publication, to be writing something like that, i think "the new york times" has an exhautive write-up today about all the connections between the types of language, the dehumanizing and racist language that showed up in, you know, the manifesto of somebody who murdered, you know,
countless people that, you know, really seemed to be coming from conservative media outlets. and what was interesting about the analysis is how this is a new phenomenon. you know, this actually is something when they went back and looked, they weren't seeing this kind of language. and now with donald trump, you have media personalities basically repeating his, you know, his claim that we're being invaded and so on, and all this dehumanizing language. and now, you know, to have somebody like max, who has absolutely impeccable conservative credentials be described this way is just -- it's like the world has gone crazy. >> that sums it up. >> boy, yes, i has. van, listen, scaramucci says the president gives people a license to hate and that his language is racially charged and divisive. almost no republicans have been willing to turn on him. will they knnow, you think? >> well, not because of scaramucci. i think i'd take a step back here. this is a much bigger problem
happening in the country. we now have a metastasizing, exponentially growing terrorist threat in the u.s. these white nationalists, terrorists, are growing online exponentially. the fbi has pointed this out. we're now seeing the carnage in america, and yet there's no coordinated response. there's no coherent response. there's been no call to the american people to say we've got to do something. let's get law enforcement together. let's get the governors in here. in fact, we just have weird tweets that echo the language from the white house of the people who are pushing forward this terrorist threat. that's a major deal. that's not a partisan thing. that's not a racial thing. that's not a left versus right thing. that is a dangerous thing. when you have an exponentially growing terrorist threat in the united states with no response, you've got a major, major problem. and that goes alongside there's an external threat. the mueller report, whatever it says about trump, says very clearly we are at war with russia.
russia has declared war on our democracy, and they are pulling out all stops to hurt us. you've got an external threat from russia with no coordinated response, and an internal threat from a growing network of racist terrorists with no coordinated response. the american people are in real danger. if the playbook continues to roll out with no real response, other kinds of extremists can also begin to play the same types of games. so, you know, as frustrating as it is for the president to be doing this stuff, as helpful as it might be for people like scaramucci to say something, we need governors and other people to step up and begin to deal with these real threats that we're facing because it's quite clear that we're not going to get the leadership that we need on these particular issues from the white house at this point. >> yeah. you heard -- patrick, you heard kirsten mention -- she talked about "the new york times" extensive look at how the el paso shooter's manifesto echoed language coming from the conservative media. you editied that story. what did you and your colleagues find? >> after the manifesto came out,
we wanted to go back and track where this language was coming from, particularly these ideas about a hispanic invasion coming across the border, which we'd certainly heard president trump talk about regarding the caravan in 2018. and also this idea of a great replacement theory. the great replacement, which is this white supremacist idea that migrants of color are come in to essentially commit a genocide against white culture. so we looked at five years' worth of show transcripts from fox, msnbc and cnn, and we also looked at transcripts from rush limbaugh, and what we found was just over the last year alone, more than 300 fox news broadcasts used the word "invasion," referring to an immigration invasion in this country. repeated uses of the great replacement theory. and, don, it wasn't just to sort of think about or contextualize
or use nuance about what these ideas were. it was the most alarmist kind of rhetoric that suggested an america under siege in which migrants of color, outsiders, were coming in to destroy what these fox news hosts and guests saw as american culture, which to them is white culture essentially. you know, you saw also an uptick in the use of "invasion" on cnn and msnbc, but they were all contextualized in talking about the president's language because he was driving so much focus on it. so what it really found, basically the main takeaway, was just how much this language has gone from particularly fox news, from rush limbaugh, pushed by breitbart, pushed by corners of the internet, words over and over and over again that we hear this president often frankly weaponize against, you know, human beings who are either trying to come to this country, in some cases illegally, but
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we're back. president trump is infuriated " reports it's because he's been labeled a racist. back with me, the panel. so trump is infuriated over being called a racist, kirsten. and for him, i mean, it's a political issue. why do you think he would get worked up over being branded as a racist? >> i don't know. i mean really i can't really can't get in his head. look, i think he doesn't like to be criticized is the honest answer, and maybe he really believes that he's not racist or that he doesn't traffic in racial demagoguery. but, you know, we give you his record, and this is somebody -- i mean even we're talking about anthony scaramucci earlier. it's like i don't understand
what people suddenly realize about donald trump. this is somebody who, you know, trafficked the birther conspiracy theory, you know, nonstop until president obama was forced to release his birth certificate to prove he was, in fact, born in this country, which was never really in contention except for donald trump. and so, you know, i think that the writing is kind of on the wall. but i suppose in his head, maybe he doesn't think he's a racist. i don't know. i leave it to the rest of the panel to figure this out for you because i'm really at a loss. >> max, let's talk about that because "the washington post" is reporting that trump feels that the charges of racism, just another attempt to discredit him. but the post kwiegs also correctly points out that trump has a history filled with racist and racially charged comments and actions. the latest quinnipiac poll found that just over half of americans believe he is racist. >> you know, i think kirsten is
certainly right that the racism accusations don't hurt him with his base. in fact, they may well help him. the problem i think from trump's standpoint is it does hurt him with potential customers for his hotels and casinos, and so that is a business problem going forward. but i think the other issue, don, is that donald trump is the least self-aware person in the universe. i mean this is a guy who probably actually thinks that he is a stable genius, okay? so he also thinks he's not a racist, and he plays -- you know, he's capable of this or wellian double think where he engages in the most blatant rhetoric and acts very indignant when anybody accuses him of racism. he kind of gets his cake and eats it too because he gets to engage in racist rhetoric, he gets to pander to racist and xenophobic sentiment and at the same time bash the media that it's all fake news. so it's like a two for one deal. >> kellyanne conway told "the
washington post" the racism charges will help trump politically because his supporters may think that democratic candidates are unfairly branding them as racist too. why is that unifying? >> that's the republican hope, the sense of, for instance, hillary clinton referring to some trump supporters as deplorables, sort of the idea that, well, now they're calling us racist. they once called us deplorable. now they're calling us racist. and to some extent, kind of a circle the wagons approach. but the reality is that, you know, in 2018, we saw in the midterm elections, red republican seats in key suburbs in states that donald trump needs to carry in 2020, those were flipping, and they were flipping not because the economy was tanking. these republicans were being beaten by democrats in part because the president's language, the divisive language, the racist language was pulling down a lot of those republican candidates. so this idea that, you know,
racists can be a rallying cry for president trump with his own voters just hasn't been proven to be true in the areas the republicans really need to win in 2020. >> van jones, last week the president said that it doesn't help him to be called a white supremacist by democrats. watch this. >> i don't think it helps. first of all, i don't like it when they do it because i am not any of those things. i think it's a disgrace, and i think it shows how desperate the democrats are. >> van, you famously called trump's 2016 victory a whitelash. do you think that same energy is going to keep trump in the white house in 2020? >> we just don't know. but part of the thing again, trying to look at this a little more systemically is that identity politics, whether it's white identity politics, whatever, a part of that piece is "i am the righteous victim. i'm being persecuted, but i'm
standing up anyway." so this weird thing happens with a particularly kind of white identity politics where i might do something or say something that's racially offensive. i know it's offensive, but i say i'm challenging the p.c. stuff. then i get attacked. then i say i'm being victimized, persecuted but i'm standing up anyway. that particular thing just described earlier, that particular kind of play where you get a chance to go on offense and then use the fact that people are offended to then make that a point about your own victimhood, that's a sick kind of aspect of identity politics that we're seeing now, i think, on full display. why does it work? i think it works because you do have millions and millions of white people, certainly older, who they don't know where they fit anymore. and we have to, i think, on the left remind them that they actually should be on the side of the good people, the people who are acting the way they were raised, the way they raised their kids, their grandkids, the values they were raised with, the way they were taught to
treat people are the american values that are now being threatened, and they should be on the side of decency and on the side of humanity. i think sometimes we forget to call people up, to call people back to those values. we call them out for going along with some of this nonsense, but i think people also need to be called back up because most of the people who are getting tricked into this have more things going on for them than just that. everybody is a complicated coalition of different tendencies and urges and fears and hopes. i think we need to call out this nonsense but also call people back up to their better selves. most people are much better than what they're getting tricked into right now. >> kirsten, the trump supporters, you know, kellyanne conway say they feel like calling them racist because they called the president racist. can someone support the president but not be a racist themselves? >> yeah, i guess. you know, i mean i think this is a conversation we've had before, and i think it's a hard conversation. i think that, you know, people have their reasons for supporting the president despite
his behavior. some of the people frankly i don't think know a lot of the things that he says. i don't think it gets the same amount of coverage or the same kind of coverage on the news outlets that they're watching. and some people do, and they say, well, you know, i care more about the economy or some other thing, and that's their choice to make, i suppose. you know, i do want to stay away from trying to denigrate all people. you know, i think van is right. i think you need to be, you know -- people are better than this, and trying to move them more in that direction. but we can't get away from the fact that, you know, the things that the president says, they are racist. and that's not really even a matter of opinion. i mean it's a fact. the things he's trafficking in are just the oldest racist tropes in existence, and so i think that, you know, we should be able to say that and just factually state it, you know, versus it's not name-calling if that makes any sense, you know. i think it's more just
acknowledging reality, that this demagoguery is dangerous, and we see the danger in the white supremacy that's growing in this country. >> yeah. boy, do i know. that's got to be the last word. thank you. disturbing new information about the jail where jeffrey epstein was being held when he apparently killed himself. we've got that next. discover card. hi, do you have a travel card? we do! the discover it® miles card. earn unlimited 1.5 miles on every purchase, plus we'll match your miles at the end of your first year. you'll match my miles? yeah! mile for mile! and no blackout dates or annual fee. nice! i was thinking about taking a scuba diving trip! i love that. or maybe go surfing... or not. ok. maybe somewhere else. maybe a petting zoo. can't go wrong. can't get eaten. earn miles. we'll match 'em at the end of your first year. plus no annual fee or blackouts. the discover it® miles card. "burger! i want a sugar cookie! i want a bucket of chicken! i want....."
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attorney general william barr vowing a thorough investigation into the apparent suicide of jeffrey epstein at the federal jail in new york city on saturday. epstein was accused of running a sex trafficking ring involving underage girls. i want to bring in now joey jackson and evan perez. gentlemen, good evening. thank you so much for joining. you know, evan, we're hearing that the jail where epstein was being held had some real problems. what do you know? what can you tell us?
>> that's right, don. you know, at this point the attorney general is doing an investigation, but a few things have already become known. it appears that there have been systemic problems at the metropolitan correctional center in manhattan. one of the guards who was working that night, the night that epstein apparently killed himself, wasn't even a regular guard. this person was part of this program that the bureau of prisons uses to train people who are brought in as cooks and teachers at prisons and who get trained to work at posts that are normally manned by correctional officers. so that's at least one of the officers. we know that according to the union that represents the employees at the mcc that it's not uncommon for employees to bork 17 and 18-hour days. one of the guards was doing just that, multiple days of overtime. so it appears that at least part of the issue, according to the employees, is an overstressed and overworked employee group at
this prison. but let me just make sure we point out one thing. these guards were supposed to check on epstein every 30 minutes. they did not do that, at least for several hours before he was found dead. >> evan -- >> and we should also note, don, one last thing real quick, that when he was moved out of suicide watch, he was supposed to have a cellmate. that cellmate he did have was moved out a day before he was found dead, and they didn't replace it. >> so you said it's overstressed or overtaxed, but he is one of the most high-flprofile prisone there. >> right. >> why would someone like that be guarding him? are they really that overstressed? >> it appears that there's a bigger, broader problem. i think the attorney general today called it serious irregularities, which i think go back several years. but it looks like some of the employees are saying, look, part of issue here is the trump administration put budget cuts,
hiring freezes, and the employees were simply cutting corners because they were working so hard. >> yeah. joey, i want you to listen to what the attorney general bill barr said this morning. here it is. >> i was appalled and indeed the whole department was, and frankly angry to learn of the mcc's failure to adequately secure this prisoner. we are now learning of serious irregularities at this facility that are deeply concerning and demand a thorough investigation. >> joey, isn't it ultimately his responsibility? >> should we just stop and can we just stop? don't tell me about the irregularities. don't tell me about i'm deeply disturbs, i'm concerned, oh, my goodness, this one's working too much overtime. this one 'not really a corrections officer. this one has such stress they couldn't do their job. this guy tried to hang himself, if you believe that, on the 23rd
of july. six days later he's off of suicide watch. why? because a psychological evaluation that he was able, for whatever reason to manipulate, suggested he should be off of it? really? i don't care about your overtime problem, your staffing problem, your irregularity problem. he's a high-profile inmate. people want justice. victims want to see him in a courtroom testifying. how about you put eyes on him? how about you ensure that he's safeguarded and he's okay? he's supposed to have in shu, special housing unit, an inmate who is housed with him in the same room. that person's not there mysteriously. then of course he dies after all of this information is dropped about information that he has. please, can we stop talking about irregularities and correction officers not doing checks and talk about how brass failed miserably and how he should have been on suicide watch, how people should have eyeballed him to ensure that he didn't hurt himself or someone else did not hurt him? all of it is a crock. you can investigate all you want. the fact is he's not here, and it's the responsibility of the
supervisors and management of that jail that he's not here, period. >> what do you think happened? >> i think that, look, here's what i'm going to do. i'm going to reserve judgment until i see the autopsy report. why? because the autopsy report will be telling. is there some ligature damage around his neck or is his skull fractured, right? i'll be guided by the physical evidence, but something smells rotten to me, and the fact of the matter is that this is on management. it's on the attorney general. it's on the deputy attorney general. it's not on a correction officer who really wasn't a correction officer, and this one worked five hours overtime one day and five times worked over -- come on, stop. you had a responsibility. you failed in that responsibility, own up to it, period. >> what about the other people prosecutors are looking at, the co-conspirators. could they be facing charges? >> absolutely. the fbi was down in the virgin islands today, and we know they are pursuing whether they can bring charges against other people. keep in mind the fact that epstein is gone is a devastating blow to this case. i'm not sure whether it means it's all over, but it certainly
means that he's not there to provide any statements that they could possibly use to point to other people. >> here's why i'm not worried about that, because i don't think his statements would be credible anyway. i think this guy would save himself and say anything. the fact of the matter is it's about the victims. i'm hoping that stuff they seize from him goes to the victims, and the others who aided and abetted him, get them too because they deserve to be brought to justice even though, don, he's dead. >> thank you both. i appreciate it. we'll be right back. it's tough to quit smoking cold turkey.
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i'm tom steyer and i approve this message. i'm running for president because unlike other candidates, i can go head to head with donald trump on the economy, and expose him fo what he is: a fraud and a failure. i used to book my hotel room on those traalways a catch.here was like somehow you wind up getting less. but now that i book at hilton.com, and i get all these great perks. i got to select my room from the floor plan... very nice... i know, i'm good at picking stuff. free wi-fi... laptop by the pool is a bold choice... and the price match guarantee. how do you know all of this? are you like some magical hilton fairy? it's just here on the hilton app. just available to the public, so... book at hilton.com and get the hilton price match guarantee. if you find a lower rate, we match it and give you 25% off that stay. electability is a watch word in the crowded field of democrats vying for the chance to run against president trump
former vice president joe biden is the front-runner but can the admitted gaffe machine keep that front-runner status with some of his rivals surging? let's discuss now with former democratic senator from wisconsin, russ feingold. senator, i'm so happy to have you on. thank you so much. >> it's a pleasure to be on. thanks for asking me. >> the 2020 democratic field is a battleground right now. how do you see the state of play now? >> it's strange. i watched those debates last week, and i had a good feeling afterward. you know, i felt like there were 20 people who in very different ways, in very different backgrounds and experiences were putting an excellent face on the democratic party. >> mm-hmm. >> people who are serious about trying to solve problems, people who are basically civil to each other, who have an attention span unlike the president of the united states, and i think the overall picture was, these people are ready to, you know, sort of make sure our country runs right. so i came away feeling sort of
good. there's a long time to go, and who the nominee should be is another question. but i think that the stage is well set for the critical months coming, and i'm feeling -- at the moment i'm feeling very good about it. >> let's talk a little more. i introduced you as the former senator from wisconsin, a key 2020 state by the way. president trump beat hillary clinton in wisconsin by just under 23,000 votes. democrats desperately want to flip it back. what are you hearing from voters? >> well, i think people are getting sick and tired of having to deal with donald trump every day. i think there is a trump fatigue that is sickening to people. they don't want to spend four more years putting up with this childish behavior. and internationally, people are beginning to realize that we've been made a laughingstock by a president who does things merely for effect, these meetings with kim jong-un, the insulting of
all the nations of africa. all of the things that he's done that make us look like much less than the great country we are. i think people have had enough of it and, you know, it will be a while before we know exactly what the matchup is and all the issues, but i think in wisconsin they're going to say four years of this is more than enough. >> senator, joe biden has had a series of gaffes or misstatements, whatever you want to call it, while campaigning in iowa. among them he said that he met with the parkland victims as vice president even though he was already out of office. let's listen to this. >> i watched what happened when the kids from parkland marched up, and i met with them, and then they went off to up often the hill when i was vice president. we have this notion somehow if you're poor, you cannot do t. poor kids are just as bright and just as tal eptded as white kids, wealthy kids, black kids, asian kids. you had people like margaret thatch -- excuse me. you had people like the former chairman and leader of the party
in germany. you had angela merkel stand up and say how terrible it was. >> senator, will these slipups hurt joe biden, you think? >> you know, joe biden is a very earnest person, and he's the first that will tell you that sometimes he doesn't say things exactly the way he wants, and neither do i. that's not going to decide this election. people know joe's history. they know that he's a man that's had a lot of challenges in his life both professional and personal, and he's risen to them. i'm not saying he necessarily should be the nominee, but i'll tell you, these little things are not going to be what determines the real matchup. and if the matchup is biden versus trump, people will take a few misstatements and a few words garbled over somebody who is purposely flaming white nationalism in this country. that will be an easy choice. >> senator feingold, a monmouth university poll of likely iowa caucus voters has biden at the top, 28%. but warren is surging at 19%
compared to 7% in april. she is putting significant resources in the state. what would a loss in iowa mean for the biden campaign? >> well, if elizabeth warren wins iowa, that would be an enormous accomplishment for her, and she has been doing very well. i am a good friend of hers, and i'm very impressed with her. if she could do that and then win in new hampshire, that would set up a very interesting situation. as you get to the bigger states, where i think a lot of people think biden would have more of an advantage, so that could create a very interesting dynamic. you know, it's going to be healthy for the party to have a civil but very competitive primary, and i think that's probably what's going to happen. >> yeah. you work for the campaign for nature, which is trying to protect the natural environment. i have to get your reaction to the changes announced today by the administration that would significantly weaken the endangered species act. what would the impact be? >> well, this is such an important issue. i mean the issue of the loss of biodiversity on this planet that the campaign for nature is
working on is one of the biggest crises we face along with climate change. a recent report indicated that up to a million species may go extinct if we don't do something about it. so there has to be an international effort that i'm working on with many other people to try to make sure that the countries of this world commit to having 30% of the natural lands of the world preserved by 2030. so what's the trump administration doing today instead of working on that? they're doing the opposite. they're weakening the endangered species act, which is a terrible thing to do. 46 years ago, that became a law, and a lot of the scientists and experts believe one of the main reasons we still have polar bears and grizzly bears and hum humpback whales and florida manatees is the endangered species act. instead the administration is trying to set up a situation where big business and powerful interests can overcome the clear science that says we need to preserve these species and that many of them are endangered. >> senator feingold, thank you
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