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tv   CNN Tonight With Don Lemon  CNN  August 16, 2017 8:00pm-9:00pm PDT

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think they were leaving because they finally realized trump wasn't going to be useful for them. they want hard core business friendly policies driven out of the white house and they have someone in there who is not a great businessman during his own career. >> let's be honest. he started in third base. >> he was born comfortably wealthy. he did build a family business long before his family did. and the trump who's emerged from that debacle is a branding machine but he's not a fortune 500 executive. he's never eexsectively run a big organization. >> there are people who don't actually believe he's a bi billionai billionaire. >> he doesn't know what these businessman do or businesswoman. when he talks about shutting down these advisory groups, he doesn't understand how
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manufacturing enterprises work, he doesn't understand how global corporations work. he doesn't understand how jobs are created. this is a guy who is not a great businessman and he doesn't relate to great businessmen and women. >> thank you both. i appreciate it. at the top of the hour, president trump defiant in the face of national outrage. sources telling cnn that he has no regret saying they share the blame for the violence in charlottesville. that violence took the life of heather hire. we'll hear from her mother and i'm going to talk to her pastor in just a few moments right here on cnn tonight. it's easy to over look the fact that the charlottesville violence began after white nationalists began to march the protest the aremoouvl of a state of robert e. lee.
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president trump. >> this week it's robert e. lee. i notice stonewall jackson's coming down. i wonder is it george washington next week and thomas jefferson the week after? you have to ask yourself where does it stop? >> the debate about what to do with confederate memorials taking place overnight. gainesville taking down a statue that stood over 100 years. birmingham, alabama covering a monument until they figure out what to do with it. and the forever cemetery removing a monument early this morning and in some cases some toppling a confederate statue in north carolina and vandalized and defaced in wilmington, north carolina. if confederate symbols are going to come down or be removed,
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according to the southern poverty law center, there are more than 700 monuments. over 100 public schools named after prominent members of the confederacy and 10 major u.s. military bases named in honor of confederate leaders and they're questioning statues sitting inside the u.s. capitol building. there are 12 of them. and only four statues honoring african americans are there. for more we turn to cnn's ryan nobles with more. ryan. >> don, every state in the union is given the opportunity to honor two of its most famous residents with a statue here at the u.s. capitol. and at least nine of those states have chosen to honor someone with a tie to the confederacy. among them the former president of the confederate states of america, jefferson davis of a mississippi. and a statue honoring perhaps the most famous confederate
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general and the same in the center of the controversy in charlottesville. each state gets to pick who is rchted that capitocapitol. it's not without controversy. like this statue honoring the confederate war general, kirby smith. he's from florida. and congresswoman has called for its removal. and there are civil rights leaders honored as well, among them rosa parks who is positioned right across from the former vice president of the confederate stalts of america. alexander hamilton. >> no full size statues of black americans were placed until fredric douglas and rosa parks were added. they've been part of the
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monument collection for over 100 years. joining me is burtroom haze davis. a great grandson of jefferson davis, who was the president of the confederacy. i've been wanting to have this conversation with you all day. thank you very much. what do these confederate statues represent to you as a direct descendant as a president of the confederacy? >> i think the statues absolutely represent history and it's a very interesting position to say when we look at a statue it represents the history of the person from birth to death, not just a portion of their life. as we look at the monuments to the confederate soldier, they probably represent the soldiers that fought in the civil war for the south. so they are representative of history and it's important that we understand that history as we go forward. >> do you think that they belong on capitol hill? >> i think they that were place
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there had for a reason, not only honoring the person in washington d.c. specifically if you look at jefferson davis's accomplishments. secretary of defense, senator representative, west point graduate. i think you have to look at the entire individual before you making a decision whether they belong at the capitol of the united states or not. >> do you think they belong in public buildings paid for by taxpayer money? >> i will say this if there is a statue that's offensive to a large majority of the public, it should be placed in a museum or it should be appropriately mark would the accomplishments of the individual. such as the capitol, which is not only a public building but offers that opportunity to be a museum as we honor these museums in stat ware hall. >> a woman is dead because people felt so strongly about the statue of robert e. lee that
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they rallied a white supremacist rally around that. >> i believe exactly as i just said. you have to have the history of the entire individual before you so you understand what that statue means. however, it is offensive and people are taking issue with it, let's move it, let's put it somewhere where historically it fits with the area around it so you can have people come to see it who want to understand that history and that individual. >> i want to know what you think about what the president said about the statues yesterday. i'm going to play a bit of it again and then we'll discuss. here it is. >> george washington was a slave owner. was he a slave owner? so will george washington now lose his status? are we going to take down -- are we going to take down statues to george washington? how about thomas jefferson? you like him? he was a major slave owner. are we going to take down his
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statue? so it's fine. you're changing history, you're changing culture. >> you're changing history, changing culture. what do you think about that argument and how the president has handled this overall? >> i think again we have to realize the history is the important part of this discussion. if we have a complete understanding of the history, then we can have a very good discussion about that and put it in context of what is important in that individual's life and what little bit of it we may not like. >> do you think that we have a complete understanding? enough understanding of history in this country? because you know what happened with the holocaust. elementary school kids have to go to monuments and places of remembrance for the holocaust. you don't have that in this country. >> i believe exactly what you said. i don't think we have a great understanding of american history.
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i think if you ask the man on the street who jefferson davis is, a large percentage won't know and if so, they only know one sentence in a history book. so we eliminate a lot of people's history by teaching that one line. >> as a president was saying that and as i thought about it and what you're saying here. are you going to take down this and take down this? maybe it's a matter of moving it to a more appropriate place. >> i agree with that fully and to include the entire history of whatever individual you're talking about. soy you have a clear place to understand not only that person in that context but also the rest of his life. >> i want to play -- i want to read to you what the grade grandchildren of robert e. lee said. general lee's life was about duty, honor and country. at the end of the civil war, he implored the nation to come
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together and heal our wounds and move forward to become a more unified nation. he never would have tolerated the hateful words of kkk or neo-nazis. a lot of people take issue with that characterization given he fought to preserve a way of life that depended on slavery. do you agree with that comment? >> absolutely. matter of fact, davis made the same remarks over and over again in the 1880s as he travelled through the country. reunite, be part of this country and move forward. forget about the past. it is done. and i think we have to look at that and say we need also do the same thing. understand our history, have a conversation about it, find out how to reconcile our issues and move forward as americans. >> you understand why some people are so upset by that by the confederate flag and by neo-nazis and some of these
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statues that there there? >> i absolutely do. matter of fact the confederate battle flag in my estimation has been hijacked by that group of racist individuals and should be in a museum which indicates it's a military flag and not of the confederate states of america and i understand that feeling as it's always been approached by that group. >> one tofrp and that's a torch on the statue of liberty. thank you very much, sir. i appreciate it. >> thank you very much. when we come back the president has one account of what happened and an account by vice news shows a different account. that's next. but here's some of what he told her. >> what do you think this means for the next alt-right protest? >> it's going to be really tough to top but we're up to the challenge. >> why? i mean, someone died?
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to this thing today. cal tech pta 3. glock 19. also .09 millimeter and there's a knife. i ain't saying it was worth it. we knew we were going to meet a lot of resistance. the fact nobody on our side died, i'd call that points for us. the fact that none of our people killed anybody unjustly i think is a plus for us. and i think that we showed our rivals that we won't be cowed. >> so you think it was justify snd. >> i think it was more than justified. the amount of restraint that our people showed out there i think was astounding. >> what do you think this means for the next alt-right protest? >> i say it's going to be really tough to top but we're up to the
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challenge? >> why? tough to top? i mean someone died. >> i think a lot more people are going to die before we're done here frankly. >> what a coward. the producer at vice media who worked on that piece we just saw. so good to have you on. you were sitting in the room for the interview with this white supremacist. walk us through what was going through your mind. >> i was in there. i mean we wanted to do a follow-up interview with him to round out our piece and it's a story we were telling through him and when we got there, we weren't really sure what to expect and so we sat down to do an interview with this guy. he was highly emotional during the interview. afterwards is when he started taking out guns from different parts of his body. it was scary and telling, i think. >> these were the very nice
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people. very fine people the president described who were marching peacefully through the streets of charlottesville. i have to say you were the only person of colorer in that room. did you feel any sort of fear because you were african american? >> i think that we all felt fear. it wasn't lost on me that i was the own lee person of colorer in the room but anytime you are locked in a room with a person with a lot of guns, it's going to be scary. so the racist part of it it, but that's a scary experience for anyone. >> part of why this president is facing such back lash is because of the massive gap between what he sees in charlottesville and how things really played out. what has it been like being there? explain to us what you have been seeing out there. >> well, i think it's very clear that chris cantwell and the other people he's involved with
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have a clear agenda. they told us in the interview that they want a space that is just for them. they think other people are subhuman, not as good as them. and that's a real thought, a real agenda they have. and i think there's no hiding his intentions here. >> uh-huh. there wasn't much talk in what we saw about coming there to stand up for the statue to protest the taking down of the statue. what we heard was that they came there because basically saying they wanted to take their country back. they wanted to have a white country. >> yes. and i think that to chris cantwell that's very important. when we were talking to him at one point he started to tear up and tell us that he didn't want to be viewed as a racist. he didn't want to have this life but that he's fighting for his people and what they deserve and it's a responsibility he takes very seriously. he's very emotional about that
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and clear about the fact that's important to him and what he wants to do. . >> watch this video. >> i want to be peaceful, law abiding. that was the whole entire point of this. and i'm watching cnn talk about this as violent white nationalist protests. we have done everything in our power to keep this peaceful and they won't stop. we have done everything in our power. we have used every peaceful and lawful means by which to redress our grievances. and our enemies will not stop. we've been [ bleep] they're threatening us all over the place. >> what's your reaction to that, tracy? >> i think that chris is obviously a very emotional person. he gets very worked up. i a also think a lot of white nationalists and the alt-right
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enjoy being able to have people scared of them so they can paint themselves as victims and that reinforces their message that people are scared to let us spread our ideas because they're true and they'll spread like wild fire if we're able to have what they consider freedom of speech and spread what they believe. >> there's something else i want to play with you. because vice also spoke to a white nationalist about the death of heather hire who was killed when a car was rammed into a crowd of counter-protesters. >> he saw no way to get away from them except to hit the gas and sadly because our rivals are a bunch of stupid animals who don't pay attention, they couldn't just get out of the way of his car and some people got hurt and that's unfortunate. >> so you think it was justified? >> i think it was more than justified. >> that was actually chris cantwell as well.
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the president has said this is murder. do you think that is a message these white supremacists will hear? or he had had no other choice but to hit the gas and go? >> we were all really shocked to hear chris say that. i think we thought they would say there are extremists in every crowd, every situation. i think we were taken aback to hear him the say this was justified in an act of retaliation, rather than murder or anything else. >> great work. thank you. we appreciate it it. when we come back, crowds -- we're going to tell you about crowds out remembering heather hire tonight and the other people injured and the officers as well who were killed when they were monitoring the situation. we're going to bring you the stuching moments from her funeral and the pastor who spoke at the service. here's to the safety first...
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today at a memorial service for heather heyer. her mother spoke movingly. >> i think the reason that what happened to heather has struck a cord is because we know that what she did is achievable. we don't all have to die. we don't all have to sacrifice our lives. they tried to kill my child to shut her up. well, guess what? you just mag nified her. >> i want to bring in pastor harold bear, the pastor of covenant church who spoke at the services. sad moment but it was good to see her smile today and good to see you smile as well. speaker after speaker described her as a bold soul, known to stand up for what she thought was right. you say she had had a true passion for diversity. tell me about that.
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>> her mother shared that she had attended several times. our church is very blended. more than 20 nations on a sunday. in fact i was reading about you, don and i see you have a nigerian cong leze background. >> you've been doing your research and i like that you said you have a blended background. it's just sort of the opposite of what's been portrayed, how charlottesville has been portrayed when you look at these awful, awful white supremacists and the clashes that happened in your town. what do you say to the folks who are watching? >> i say to them they don't know the real charlottesville. this is a terrific place to live. i had in my heart as a young man to be a missionary and the lord set me here and i feel i'm a very fortunate pastor, don. >> i don't feel we can talk
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about heather enough and the tribune wrote a powerful piece and they say she joins a long list of martyrs who over the course of time have forfeited their lives while standing up to hatred. is heth arcivil rights martyr, do you think? >> i think 100 years from now this will be a red letter kind of event in charlottesville and for the nation. there are things that have happened in paris and london but this has happened here in america and i think there's something remarkable to be said. as you know i'm a socialiologist. and there's something remarb markable about people in america expecting to be safe and this has rattled us. i think heather calls tension to the issue of just common safety in our streets and in our malls and our cities. very significant event. >> her mother encouraged
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everyone, everyone watching her and sound of her voice to channel anger into righteous action. what was important to me, what struck me was that heather wasn't a hard core activist. she saw video of the protest and decided at the last minute to rally for what she believed in. so how do you think she's going to be remembered? >> i think she's going to be remembered as a very bright young lady. i leaned over to my wife in the course of the event today and i said she was remarkably bright young woman and i spoking with her employer later and she said oh, yes, yes, yes. big hearted compassion. i can see her saying what's going on. let's register our feelings, never expecting what happened to happen at the end of the day. but -- >> go on. >> i do think this will be
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something that will mark an event for decades to come. i do think it will be remembered and not forgotten. and as you're aware the fund has grown to 220,000 which will be a foundation fund after the expense. >> you saw one of the organizers of the event saying that someone had to die. he was glad it wasn't someone with his group and saying the driver had had no alternative. what do you think when you hear that as pastor? >> i think it's distressing. anyone who would impugn death to anyone else, i think that's unfortunate and misappropriated. it's not the way i think and not the way i've represented leadership in this community for 36 years as a pastor in this community. we're big hearted here and covenant church is big hearted. we're one of the first to be there for people of whatever
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backgrounds to get them food, clothes. i know what it's like to have a muslim man be outside my office with tears in his eyes and say can you get us coats my family don't have coats. and the next day we're taking them coats and groceries. this is a community with big hearts and we're part of that community. >> i've got to ask you since i have you here and time is limited. i hate to cut you off. but some of the biggest allies in the business community are backing away from him saying there's no place for the words that he spoke yesterday. i am had surprised that i have not heard more from the evangelical community. why aren't we hearing from people in the evangelical or christian communities about this? what's going on? >> i do not know and cannot answer for others but as for me and my house, i pastor a very
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diverse congregation, people from many nations and there are people who vote however they vote. but what i say to them is our mission is clear we're christians. we love everybody and we pray for everyone and we help anyone we can help. i leave the politics to the politicians until maybe one day when i'm no longer a pastor and then perhaps i'll speak more about politics. but for now i would only take away my ability to help people and i'm not willing to do that, don. my mission is clear and i've stood strong for 36 yooears as pastor. ib want to continue to help people. that's my passion. >> we're sorry that this happened to your community and give our regards the family. thank you very much. >> thank you, don, for letting me speak. >> when we come back, i'm going to talk to a retired navy
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as white supremacists and neo-nazi s marched in the strees of charlottesville, one stood in front of the synagogue one block from the protests. and joining me now is that brave man, retired captain of the u.s. navy medical core. thank you so much for joining us. you stood watch over the synagogue through services from friday evening to saturday just because you felt you should. walk us through what you saw. why did you do it? >> well, i felt that the jewish community here in charlottesville needed to know there were people here concerned for them and basically i wanted to show my support for them. but also i am in a position, retired and i do have medical skills and i was thinking that if anyone was injured, then i could perhaps be of immediate
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assistance to them. >> what did you see as you were keeping watch over the synagogue? >> what i saw were large numbers of fairly organized groups marching in front -- on their way to the park and they had to pass beside the synagogue and they had had streamers, flags of all sorts. swastikas, confederate flags, american flags. i suppose there were unit identification flags along with them and so i saw them streaming by and on their way to the activities at the park. >> one of the main criticisms, john, is -- that's been levelled at law enforcement is that protesters were not kept separately and that it didn't get involved quickly enough when things got violent. what were police doing when this was all happening?
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>> well, i honestly can't comment on the activities of the police because as i was standing in front of the synagogue i primarily saw the groups marching or moving towards the park and what actually happened at the park i was not there. i wanted to be with the people of the congregation and so that was where i remained. >> the president of the congregation, beth israel, allen zimmerman wrote a very powerful blog post about his experience this weekend. he said several times parades of nutsies passed by saying there's a gaug followed by chants of seig hiel. did you fear them? >> well, of course anyone would fear this type of activity.
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however, i was very appreciative or thankful that they didn't really direct attention to the synagogue in any major form. they were primarily marching past. >> you heard the president yesterday in a speech that has been roundly criticized. it's been in the news a lot. he believes this is a fight about confederate statues. they were fine people who wanted to take a stand against removal and equated removing confederate statues with taking down monuments to america's founding fathers. you were there, you saw the protesters first hand. what do you say to the president? >> well, like i said i was there primarily to assist and help people in any way i could and i
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honestly did not participate in the activity around the statue. so i really can't comment on what the police did, don. >> as you probably heard the chairman of the joint chiefs from each military branch have spoken out after the president's comments yesterday. they believe the military stands for equality and they're saying it publicly. do you agree with that in terms of your military experience? >> oh, absolutely. i joined the military to protect all of our citizens. and we did not discriminate in any way. they're all americanss a far as i'm concerned. that's why i joined to protect our country, constitution and all our citizens regardless of race, creed or national origin. >> we appreciate your time tonight. thank you so much. >> you're very welcome. thank you, don. >> now i want to bring in republican strategist and former senior economic advisor for the trump campaign. thank you for coming on this
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evening. so good to see you. it's pretty remarkable that ordinary citizens are having to guard places of worship from neo-nazis in america. and i know this has struck you really tough. what do you think of that? >> it's troubling what i've seen over the last few days, actually longer than that but especially from this last week and hearing some of the things president trump has said, especially with this press conference today, which when i saw it, i only saw the tail end of the initially and then i watched it again. i was sapd saddened, distraught. i felt hurt. i felt this president didn't understand race relations in a real way and i thing that's been proven out by some of the comments we heard earlier today where he said he was very comfortable with the press conference and didn't have any
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regrets. my grandfather who lived in arkansas in the south who lived through true racism and radical clansman who escaped to go to chicago is who i thought about earlier today when i went on the air to talk about president trump. it was a very emotional time for me. the president has a lot of work to do and the unfortunate part about the work that he has to do is it appears he does not want to listen, take advice or understand the true issues, especially around races that are impacting our country and that was really demonstrated yesterday. >> and you're a conservative. and you have defended this president on occasion. >> i have defended him where i believe appropriate absolutely. >> and this time you cannot. >> and i don't think anyone should come on this air or any other network and defend what the president said. i think it was a betrayal of the national conscience and if someone wants to do that and i understand folks are saying there were counterprotesters, violence. certainly that's true but this
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isn't about just the nazis or the clanman, it's about what does this president think about these issues? because he once put out a good statement, a statement i should say and i called the white house on monday and i said he has to do better than that. he has togo before the cameras. he needs to talk about this in a real way. similar to senator obama in 2008. i believe that's the way he needs speak in those very real terms people can feel and know he understands that because i think we need a national dialogue on race now more than any other time in our country's history. >> you wrote an opinion piece about why better for black america than obama ever was and various economic factors that have improved. how much does any of that matter, especially if someone takes your life. >> it's -- that's a fair point.
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let me make a couple points, don. i've been watching cnn all day and appeared a couple times on cnn. one of the impressions i think that has been left by the whole discussion all day long and yesterday is that trump is a racist but not only trump, people who are associated with trump are somehow racist. i've been part of the conservative movement about 35 years and front and center in many of the debates and in a lot of meetings over those years and i have never once, not once, been in a meeting with conservatives where people said things that were racist or bigoted and the reason i mention that, don, is these people who were protesting and marching in charlottesville, they do not represent the right. you can call them far right. these are wacko people, maybe .1% of conservatives. and i have to get that off my chest. just one last point.
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what we believe in as conservatives is equal opportunity, equal justice under the law and what martin luther king said which is a man should be judged by the content of his character, not the color of his skin. i don't personally believe having been around donald trump that he's a racist. i don't justify what he said yesterday and the only point i was making is when you look at his record in terms of black america, there's pretty good progress being made. >> i'm going to let you talk about how conservatives and race because it's not just that you don't say things publicly or in a meeting that makes one racist or not. it's the policies you aspouz. it's what you believe in. it's the legislation that you sponsor. it's the people you come in contact every day. it's what you believe. it's more than someone not saying something in a meeting and conservatives have not been
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on the right side, at least in recent history, of rights for all people. these people feel a kinship to this president. they said it as much and they are also affiliate would the republican party. that's what they say. >> let me say one quick thing because i think you're miss understanding what i'm saying. i'm saying conservatives aspouz policies over the years that have benefitted black americans. a good example is that donald trump has proposed about $10 billion out of the department of education budget that would go directly to low income families, 90% of that money would go to black american parents and their kids so they can choose better schools. that's something so directly tied to the economic advancement of black americans and liberals are opposed to that policy of giving money to black americans. there's an example of a policy
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conservatives espouz, liberals oppose. we're on the side of black families, they're opposed to it. >> one, i think the folks that were at this protest are not a representation of true conservatism in america. >> that's for sure. >> i can say i've been in meeting with both democrat and republican and have heard racist things. i can say that. absolutely without question. >> racism knows no party. >> absolutely no party. i can also say president trump had a very unique opportunity and he was the only republican that i had really seen talk about issues that impacted the black community. for example. i'm from chicago, from the south side. don, i know you lived there at one time as well. you could literally walk out your house and get shot. and i know this from personal experience with my own family being in those scenarios and if
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you're an african american male between 18 and 24 in chicago, 47% of you are unemployed or out of school and in illinois 15% of black folks are unemployed. president trump has talked about he wanted to provide jobs for african american community. i believed in that. but this is the problem, don. he can say says something ridiculous beyond the lee and nobody is talking about that. so right now what we're talking about is white supremacy, which has folks feel more comfortable due to what president trump 15id and we know this because they are saying thank you mr. president for what you had to say versus positive things he could be doing for the country and for black america if we want to take it in that direction.
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me -- >> right -- >> me being part of the republican party, i'm the change agent and representation of things changing in the party. >> steven, i'll get your response on the other side of the break. we'll be right back. >> sure. love you too, dad. ( ♪ ) ♪ i will love you in... dad, dad, your tie! ( ♪ ) ♪ when the dew...
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steven steps on his message. he hasn't come through. >> i agree. jack, one of the great republicans of the last 50 years used to say people don't care what you know until they know that you care. and i think that's a challenge for donald trump in terms of reaching out to black americans. the point i was making is when you look at the last eight months a decline in the black unemployment rate and increase in jobs for blacks and so on. blacks are not different from whites in the sense they want better jobs and a better economy and i hope and i think so far trump is delivering. >> and blacks saying they are offended by his words yesterday. you've been a supporter of president trump's. do you consider yourself one still? >> i am a supporter of whomever the president is. i may disagree with policy or rhetoric but definitely, whomever the president is, if it's barack obama or whomever
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else, i'm going to support the office of the president. at this point, president trump i think needs to have a real conversation. the fact he says i'm satisfied with that press conference, no, sir. i cannot support that or defend that and i think no one should be defending that and republicans as a whole have to come together and shame the president at this point because he shamed us, truly. >> gentlemen, thank you. appreciate both of your perspectives this evening here on cnn. that's it for us tonight. thanks for watching. i'll see you right back here tomorrow. like the perfect deal... ...on the perfect hotel. so wouldn't it be perfect if... ....there was a single site... ...where you could find the... ...right hotel for you at the best price? there is. because tripadvisor now compares... ...prices from over 200 booking... ...sites ...to save you up to 30%... ...on the hotel you want. trust this bird's words.
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good evening. tonight we're told president trump has no regrets, no regrets about what he said yesterday and putting neo-nazis and members of the kkk on the same moral plain as the same people that came to protest and acquitting george washington and thomas jefferson that helped find this country with robert e. lee. tonight we're told by sources donald trump has no regrets about saying this. >> not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch. those people were also there because they wanted to protest the taking down of a statue, robert e. lee. there were people in that rally, and i looked the night before, if you look, there were people protesting very quietly.

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